I’m delighted to be welcoming Karen Aldous on a return visit as part of her tour for Five Ladies Go Skiing organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
Karen Aldous is chatting to us today about her inspiration, characters and much more. Plus there’s an awesome tourwide giveaway that you really don’t want to miss!
- File Size: 2019 KB
- Print Length: 315 pages
- Publisher: HQ Digital (5 Nov. 2018)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07D45PN6D
Escape to gorgeous Switzerland this winter with the brand new, uplifting read from Karen Aldous.
When Ginny Watts’ husband passes away, she is left grief-stricken, not only over her husband’s death but the secrets he has left behind…
Luckily for Ginny, she has four wonderful friends – Lou, Cathy, Angie and Kim – poised to whisk her away on a ladies’ skiing holiday to beautiful La Tzoumaz, Switzerland.
While all of them appear to have their lives together from the outside, little do the ladies know that every single one of them is fighting a secret battle.
As the trip unfolds, they realise that fears of tumbling down the slopes after too much après-ski fun is the least of their worries and all is not what it seems…
A novel of love, loss and friendship, perfect for fans of Jules Wake, Erica James and Cathy Kelly.
Available to purchase from:
Welcome back to Jera’s Jamboree.
I’m delighted to be back on Jera’s Jamboree, Shaz. Thank you so much for hosting.
My new novel, Five Ladies Go Skiing is about a group of friends off on a skiing adventure, discovering more about their life-long friendships, as well as new possibilities for later life.
What was the inspiration for your novel?
It was that magical spirit that my friends evoke in me which provided much inspiration for this story. Not that any of my characters in the novel resemble my friends’ lives, but I wanted to capture the essence of what those bonds bring to our lives and how necessary they are throughout life. Naturally there is a romance in the story. I remember enjoying reading books about older characters especially when they find love second time around like, Thursdays in the Park by Hilary Boyd, but I thought it would be interesting to also explore other issues women endure and consequence of decisions they’ve made along the way. I hope I’ve portrayed the love, fun and strength friendship brings.
How do your characters come into existence Karen? Do they have a bio?
When I start out on any new story, my key task is to ask questions. I will ask the main character what her problem is and where she is so that I can imagine her in her setting. I then begin asking the what, why, how, when and where so that I get a clearer idea of what needs to happen and where she needs to be to resolve it. It is here I will discover who will help her and why, and the characters bios begin to develop. It helps me decide how I can contrast characters and build on their strengths and weaknesses to create conflicts, why and where they are needed so that I can explore ways of building tension for the reader. The bio’s will contain physical details but will also list the character’s goals, traits, the history behind them and how they intend to move forward as well what aspects are standing in their way. The rest of the characterisation and personalities are built around these.
Please can you tell us about the characters in Five Ladies Go Skiing?
All five ladies are, or are heading for their third trimester, around sixty. A time when women are much more comfortable in their skin, but a period which can present other challenges that can be both demanding but also exciting.
Ginny, the main character is usually the level-headed pragmatic one who will run to her friends’ aide on a sniff of trouble, but since losing her husband Mike, and a job she loved, she has spun herself into a cocoon of isolation and grief that none of her friends can break.
Health and fitness queen Angie initiated the skiing holiday for that reason. As well as the physical preparation the holiday is a distraction for Ginny and her friends, but once on the slopes, Angie finds herself distracted by a devilishly handsome ski instructor which she finds hard to resist.
Two other friends, Cathy and Lou, Ginny grew up with. Cathy is the bookworm and since retiring from teaching, has thrown herself into writing short-stories and novels, neglecting hubby Anthony whilst the wild glamour princess Lou, spends too much time with husband Terry in their property business and can’t wait to spend her retirement shopping and chilling out on exotic beaches with the girls.
Then finally, you’ll meet Kim, the second main character who lives in Oz and is central to Ginny’s plight. Kim is a nurse and has always felt indebted to Ginny for befriending her as a troubled young girl and when she discovers that Ginny has been betrayed by two very close people, she finds it difficult to deal with and threatening to their close relationship.
If your book was optioned for a movie Karen, who would you cast?
Ginny – Kim Cattrall
Angie – Tina Turner
Cathy – Helen Mirren with a bob
Lou – Annette Benning
Kim – Bette Midler
Which authors have influenced your writing?
So so many! Jilly Cooper was the first, but reading is a great passion of mine, and any author will bring something to my writing. However, I think there are two books in particular which I feel anchored the direction for my writing. Pete Mayle’s A Year in Provence sparked my love of the stunning hills of Provence and the south of France, but it wasn’t until I read Victoria Hislop’s The Island that I realised that it was the exotic settings combined with historical characters that were really firing my writing. So, those authors who write in a similar genre Santa Montefiore, Erica James and Leah Fleming continue to inspire and influence the writer I want to be.
Are there any tips you could share with new writers?
The main tip I could offer any first-time novelist is to finish your novel. I know this sounds obvious, but in my experience, I believe you will only take yourself seriously as an author by making it happen and writing The End. Completing the first draft is the hardest part, but if you keep going to the end, at least you can edit later and start planning your next. I was fortunate to have my first completed novel published in ebook, but I know lots of writers who have completed several before being published. It doesn’t matter what route your writing path takes however because every completed novel is an apprenticeship to becoming a professional novelist. Having a critique by a professional writer or editor is my next tip. For reasons I will outline below.
Have you joined any writing groups?
Larger than any writing group, The Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme is a wonderful organisation to be part of. Most of us have romance in our novels. Once I began my first novel, it was the first organisation I joined. Their associate membership fee is relatively inexpensive and includes a helpful critique from a professional novelist who is perfectly placed to read and guide first-time novelists through their first drafts with a detailed report. Plus, with the associate membership you have access to a variety of writer events such as professional workshops, conferences, local chapter meetings, writers talks, as well as award evenings and parties. These events are also opportunities to speak to industry professionals such as publishers and agents who are only too happy to help.
Finally, have you done any creative writing courses that you would recommend to others?
The day after I joined the RNA NWS, I saw an article in the Writing Magazine. I rang the phone number and enrolled on a local creative writing novel class called The Write Place in Dartford. Joining this local group and discovering that two others had also enrolled on the RNA NWS was a huge bonus for me. I felt, our tutor, Elaine Everest had virtually tailored the course for me because I was on the early chapters of my first novel and her lessons fitted perfectly with my goals. As well as completing as much as the first draft as possible for the NWS, she also encouraged her students to send their first chapters to publishers, agents and competitions. I would never have had the confidence to do this alone, but many students have gone from strength to strength and among her students, herself included, many of us now have several novels and short stories published. I’m not suggesting it will be as easy. I consider myself lucky that I found both these organisations, but I recommend new writers search for a local group because the guidance and support that’s available is gold-dust.
Thank you for being my guest today Karen.
Wishing you continued success with all your writing projects.
Karen Aldous enjoys village life on the edge of the north-downs in Kent with easy access to the buzz of London. Not only does she love the passive pleasures of reading and writing, she also craves the more active pursuits with her family and friends such as walking, cycling and skiing especially when they involve food and wine!
Much of Karen’s inspiration comes from her travels and meeting people. The UK, France, Greece, Switzerland, Italy and parts of the USA and Asia are just some you will experience in her books to date. However, wherever she goes, new characters emerge in ‘Karen’s World’ screaming at her to tell their stories; past or present. She loves to write about strong independent women who can direct their own lives – but struggle to control them! And, of course there’s always a gorgeous hunk or two!
See more… http://www.karenaldous.co.uk/about-me/
Connect with Karen Aldous
Don’t forget to check out the other hosts on tour.
Snuggle up with a Parkview Creative throw.
Win 5 x Paperback copies of Five Ladies Go Skiing (UK Only)
*Terms and Conditions –Please note prize will be distributed once the paperback is available (published 13th December). UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Please note, Jera’s Jamboree/Shaz Goodwin is not responsible for this giveaway.
Read all posts in the women’s fiction genre on Jera’s Jamboree.