I’ve been at several book signings with the very lovely Carrie Elks, but it wasn’t until we spent time at Paris Livres in Autumn 2018 that I spent any real time with her. Lucky me, because this lady is a hoot! Which is probably why I look like I’m braying like a donkey in this photograph with her.
What else can I tell you about her? She’s originally from Essex in the UK and has lived in several different countries around the world, she’s a best-selling author of contemporary romance with her trademark sense of humour. There’s lots lot to like about this gal – come and say hi!
When did you start to feel like a writer? When was the moment for you when you thought, Yes! I’m a writer!
Ooh, good question. I’m not sure there’s ever been a moment when I’ve suddenly thought I’m a writer. It’s been more of a growing process. Like a good wine, I’m slowly maturing into the title. Not just by publishing books, but also attending author events and meeting readers, chatting to people on social media who’ve enjoyed what I’ve written.
But even then I still suffer from Imposter Syndrome – the feeling that at some point everybody’s going to find out that I’m not a real writer at all! I think the only way to feel like a real writer is to grow a big skin and own it – something I’m still working on!
What is the most rewarding part of being a writer?
Apart from the yacht and the island in the Bahamas? Just kidding! I don’t think the reward comes from anything with monetary value at all. It comes from writing something from the heart and hearing from a reader that it touched them too. That’s worth more than a six-figure advance (though that would be nice) or a hundred designer bags. I still have my eye on a couple though…
As a writer, what is the piece of work of which you’re most proud?
Probably Fix You, just because it was my first book. It changed everything for me, and allowed me to see that a future as a writer was a possibility. It’s been translated into eight languages, and five years on from the original publication I still get messages from readers all over the world saying how much it touched them.
What do you want to achieve next?
Nothing major. Just world domination. Or maybe finish writing my current book!
You’ve lived in several different countries, do you think that’s affected the way you write or what you write? Or if not, why not?
Living in three different countries has made me braver and more willing to try new things, because I’ve learned that even when everything goes wrong (and you arrive in a foreign city with a ten-month-old baby and nowhere to live) in the end it will all be okay. So when I come up against something that is outside my comfort zone, I remind myself that at least I know where I’m sleeping tonight.
Being vulnerable can be scary, but it can also help you reap wonderful rewards. Using this newfound bravery, I began to first publish my stories as fanfiction (and open myself up to reviews) and then step into traditional and self-publishing. Every experience, negative or positive, can either push us forward or hold us back. I try to choose the former!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received: about life / about writing?
I really like Jodi Picoult’s advice: ‘You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.’ I think about this a lot when I sit in front of my laptop and hate everything I’ve written. When I first became a writer I used to fear the editing process, but now I see it as my friend. It enables me to just write whatever comes out in the first draft without worrying about it, because I know I will be able to edit it, and make it a heck of a lot better later.
What is your favourite reader experience, either in messages or at an event?
My favorite one is the story of how I met my agent, Meire. Back in 2012 I was writing fanfiction, and she was one of my readers. We started chatting over messenger, and then one day she sent me a message telling me she was starting a literary agency, and asking if I would be willing for her to represent me.
Of course, I thought it was some kind of scam, but decided to say ‘yes’ anyway. As I said to my husband, ‘if she asks for money I’ll say no.’ Luckily, she turned out to be the real deal. She’s sold my books all over the world and has become one of my dearest friends. You can’t ask for a better experience than that!
Do you think writers are different to other people? Are we observers? Creators?
A lot of writers I’ve met share similar traits. We’re mostly introverts, we like people watching, and often we were day-dreamers as children. But although we’re all creative, that can come out in different ways. I know some writers who are also brilliant artists, whereas I can barely draw a stick figure. Others can seamlessly jump genres, or even medium, writing screenplays and radio plays whereas I tend to stick to one area.
I think the one thing we all share is a love of books and the written word. That’s why we do what we do – and why it’s impossible not to write once you’ve started.
Is there a topic or genre that you wouldn’t write about? Why is that?
I haven’t found one yet!
Have you ever written with a friend? What was the experience like? How did it differ from writing by yourself? What were the pros and cons?
I’ve never written a book with a friend, but back when I was writing fan fiction there were a couple of writers I collaborated with. It was the best fun. I can remember getting so excited when my fellow writer had finished a chapter and emailed it over to me. One time I was at work and couldn’t wait to read it, so ran to the bathroom and locked myself in a stall. When I finally came out, there were two people waiting, wanting to know what had made me laugh so hard in there!
I guess the cons of co-writing are that the muse doesn’t always hit both writers at the same time, or one writer can’t keep up with the other. Plus there are always creative differences. It’s like being in a marriage – you don’t have to always agree, but you have to find a way to compromise, otherwise that poor book baby will never see the light of day.
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
Hopefully still writing! And if it happens to be on a tropical island somewhere, complete with cocktail bar, then all the better!
What is your philosophy in life?
Be kind. Always.
Describe yourself in three words.
How would your best friend describe you?
She thinks I’m lovely, which is lucky since we’re best friends and all. That’s probably because she doesn’t have to live with me, but I’ll take it anyway!
If you were an animal, what would you be?
A dog. My little pug has an amazing life. He sleeps, has cuddles and gets fed without ever having to lift a finger (or paw). He pretty much has it made.
Most likely to say…
Don’t worry about me, I’m fine.
Least likely to say…
No, I don’t need another glass of wine.
What is your favourite colour and why?
Grey. Nearly every room in my house is covered in it. It’s the new brown, which was the new black. It’s so versatile!
When you’re having a bad day, what cheers you up?
My family, chocolate and wine. Not necessarily in that order.
What would be your ideal day? Where would you be? Who would you be with?
It would involve a long walk in the sunshine, preferably with my husband and our dog. Then a pub lunch with a big glass of red wine, followed by a nap and some reading. Then in the evening we’d curl up on the sofa and watch a movie with some popcorn. And I’d probably fall asleep again…
Mountains and snow, or beaches and sunshine?
The beach. Always!
What message would you like to give to the people who read your books?
Thank you! There are so many books out there, I’m always grateful and excited when people choose to read mine.
If you’re in the UK, you can meet Carrie at RARE in London on 21st September
Summer’s Lease (Shakespeare Sisters Book 1)
Cesca Shakespeare has hit rock bottom. She has no job, no cash and no possible way of paying next month’s rent. So when a friend offers her the free use of an Italian villa she jumps at the chance. That’s before she finds out the house belongs to her arch-enemy, movie star Sam Carlton.
Having just hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons – again – Sam needs a place to hide out. Where better than his family’s gorgeous empty villa on Lake Como? Except when he arrives, it isn’t as empty as he’d hoped.
One thing’s for sure – this is going to be a red-hot, scorching summer . . .
A gorgeous book from the bestselling author of Fix You and the Love in London series. Look out for more in The Shakespeare Sisters with A Winter’s Tale, Absent in the Spring and By Virtue Fall now available from Carrie Elks.
One thing’s for sure – this is going to be a red-hot, scorching summer . . .
A brand new series from the bestselling author of Fix You and the Love in London series. Look out for more in The Shakespeare Sisters with A Winter’s Tale coming soon from Carrie Elks.
Let Me Burn (Angel Sands Book 1)
When a handsome firefighter returns to his small home town, the last thing he expects to find is love…
Lucas Russell lives for his job. Forced to take extended leave following an accident, he returns to his small home town to stay at the beach cottage his grandparents left him. The problem is, he’s not used to having so much time on his hands.
After a broken engagement, Ember isn’t ready for love right now. Though her heart might be mended, she prefers to keep herself busy with her family and work; that way she won’t get hurt again. But she didn’t count on meeting a handsome firefighter with a dimpled smile. After Lucas saves her from one awkward situation too many, she can’t stop thinking about him.
Ember finds Lucas impossible to resist, and he’s determined not to let her. As long summer days melt into sultry, passionate nights what begins as a fling develops into something much deeper. Until the day Ember’s ex-fiancé returns to town and threatens to destroy the fragile connection that’s building between them.
*This stand-alone romance is low on angst and big on feels. If you enjoy a heartwarming read that’s sweet with heat, Let Me Burn is for you*
FREE in KU