Today we chat to “Friend” author and Writer Of The Week Cara Cooper.
Her two-part pocket novel, “Highland Rescue”, comes out on July 9.
Hi Cara! Tell us about your writing career.
I had my first short story in “Loving” magazine decades ago. I remember bursting into tears at the thought that someone other than my mother felt I could actually produce something worth reading. I’ve had short stories and serials published in “The People’s Friend” and “My Weekly” and in anthologies.
Where did the inspiration come from for “Highland Rescue”?
I often get my inspiration from holidays in hot and exotic places such as Cuba and Italy, but it was lovely to set something closer to home. Having had a wonderful break at a writing retreat in Inverness, going down on the sleeper train it reminded me how much I love Scotland.
That, combined with watching reality programmes about a highland helicopter rescue service gave me research material as well as inspiration.
You also write serials as well as pocket novels. How does the writing differ?
The key to a serial for me is the cliffhanger at the end of each episode. It doesn’t have to be over-dramatic but it has to leave something unanswered to make the reader want to come back next week.
A pocket novel acquires slightly more of an even flow, but characters still have to be believable and interesting and you have to make sure there isn’t any sagging in the middle.
Who are your favourite authors?
I have a dark side when it comes to reading in that I love a bit of crime, murder and mayhem.
My favourite author is Ruth Rendell. Her books are more “whydunnits” than “whodunnits” and they appeal to my interest in people and their motivations.
For something to make me laugh I would always choose P.G. Wodehouse’s “Jeeves and Wooster” stories. I also love Marian Keyes who manages to have a deceptively light touch and fun characters even when the subject is serious.
Any tips for an aspiring Writer Of The Week?
Yes. Don’t let that little voice on your shoulder tell you you can’t do it. Sit down, have a go and above all finish what you’ve begun.
It’s often easy to start something but not so easy to finish. Then, get it sent off and see what happens. Also, keep on trying. Very few people are accepted straight away.
Notebook and pen or laptop? Blank wall or inspiring view?
My trusty iPad which I can slip in my handbag is my preferred choice.
I never write in longhand, I can type faster and my handwriting can’t keep up with my brain. I can write anywhere, in bed, on the sofa, in a coffee shop, on a train. I often start stories while I’m on holiday so a hotel room with a blank wall is as good a place as a wonderful view of a beach to get my writing brain working.
For more from our Writer Of The Week series, click here.