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A very warm welcome to Caroline Rebisz, author of
Caroline Rebisz spent her career in financial services for a high street bank. Her lifetime ambition was to write and the opportunity came her way after taking early retirement.
First of all, please tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you located? Is writing your full-time occupation?
I am currently in Norfolk but soon to move to Wiltshire to be nearer my two daughters. We have missed them being close-by this last year or so. I am retired so, when I’m not moving house, I have the luxury of time to pursue my passion. I spent over 35 years in banking but always knew I wanted to write. When I had the chance to leave the rat race, I found filling my spare time in stories was the most rewarding experience.
Please give a brief description of your books and what inspired you to write them.
My first book, A Mother’s Loss was inspired by our house in Norfolk. It’s an old inn which was converted to a house after WW2. I am fascinated by the idea of the families which may have lived here over the years and those that died in my home. The story simply came to me. I love books which are set in two time frames and the idea to weave the two families into a storyline intrigued me.
My second novel is quite different. I started to shape out A Costly Affair when I was working, after an incident I watched on a train. The long journey had me imagining a story of the people I was observing, which then grew legs, when I probably should have been catching up on emails. Work life got in the way of me writing the story then and I knew I would revisit when I could. It ended up as the second book as Sarah’s story grabbed me and took me off into the history of our house.
Did you find it difficult to write the opening scene in a Mother’s Loss?
It was a tough write but I knew I wanted to grab the readers attention and set the scene. The opening chapter can be interpreted as an event affecting both the main characters. I will let the reader decide.
I pretty much wrote it in one go and have avoided tinkering with it. I believe that if you are writing something which encapsulates your emotions, you really must go with how it makes you feel and try not to fine tune. I have been known to sob when writing!
How long did it take you to write your books?
It seems to take me about 9 months to write and edit a book. I don’t write every day so could be more productive.
Do you have a writing ritual or a preferred time of day to write?
The afternoons seem to work better for me. I’m normally a morning person but over years of working I got into the habit of doing tasks I didn’t like as much first then saving what you love for later. Mornings are my time for chores and afternoons are for my stories. I also have a very understanding husband who leaves me alone when I’m in the mood.
Do you think you will write more books set in Norfolk as you are moving to another county or will you wait to see if inspiration strikes in your new location?
Currently I am working on a prequel of A Mother’s Loss which is set in the 1850s and also in my current home. Once we move, I have a couple of ideas bubbling away. I love Roman history and Wiltshire maybe a setting for something from that era.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
How much fun it is!
I love the whole experience of writing a story. The surprising thing was that it started as a bit of a hobby to keep me occupied after retiring. It’s amazing how quickly it becomes something more.
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started writing your book?
That writing the book is the easy part. Publishing, marketing and growing your audience is another job entirely.
Have you learnt anything from feedback from your readers and would you do anything differently in future because of it?
My youngest daughter read my first novel before anyone else and she gave me some really thought provoking feedback. One thing she focused on was how “nice” my characters are. I needed to toughen them up a bit. My second novel’s MC is not the nicest of characters and I really enjoyed making her self-centered and someone I didn’t really like.
Feedback from my readers is a gift I cherish. I do suffer from imposter syndrome. I was so scared that when I published A Mother’s Loss that people would laugh at me or simply not give me feedback. I have been humbled by how my story has touched others and it makes me want to continue writing.
If you could choose a famous person to read your book and leave a review, who would it be and why?
Eric Cantona, just because he is the god of the football pitch. I bet his review would be interesting and imaginative. Along the lines of “seagulls following trawlers”. You have to know the man to understand that one. He was a French Footballer who played for Man Utd.
If you could choose a special place to write, where would it be?
On the rockery in the garden of my childhood home. With my Dad watching on. As a child, I played Famous Five in that garden, creating ideas and situations with my Action Man (bit of a tomboy as I have three brothers). Those books were the start of my passion for reading and story making.
What do you use to write: a laptop, pc, notebook? Do you leave a notebook by your bed just in case an idea occurs to you in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning?
I use a laptop but I do have a trusted notebook which I use to shape out the main storyline and each chapter. I try not to keep a notebook beside the bed; I don’t think I would sleep if I did.
Are you enjoying being an Indie Author? Which aspects do you like/dislike?
I love being an Indie Author. The ability to be in control of your product is the main benefit. The downside is doing everything yourself because of costs. I am not techie at all so struggle with uploading the manuscript etc. I am learning loads though which is always good.
I also love the fact that my Twitter feed is now filled with authors. Interacting with other authors both independent and traditionally published has helped me grow as a writer.
Would you ever consider being traditionally published if the opportunity arose?
I did try the traditional route for both books without success. Obviously if a publisher picked up my work and could push it out to a wider audience, I would probably give it a go. There are so many independent authors so it is very difficult to get wider exposure.
Writing has never been about making money for me. But I would love more people to be able to read my books which is what a traditional publisher can offer you. Handing over control would be hard especially as I am renowned for being a control freak.
Are you enjoying marketing your book? Have you any tips for authors who find this part of the process a chore?
KDP University has been great in offering webinars to support marketing plans. I have enjoyed picking the brains of others for ideas. Most independent authors are really supportive and will help with suggestions. If I find any free training or material I grab it. My advice to other authors is to reach out to the writing community especially on Twitter. People are so kind and helpful.
What is your favourite social media platform for promoting your book and why?
Twitter and Facebook are my go to’s. My Twitter feed is mainly writing related. I have a large friendship group on Facebook from my banking days so I set up an Author page and use this for marketing. Friends are brilliant in helping to share posts with their friends. Growing my exposure organically.
Is there an author or a book you read that particularly inspired you to write?
I was brought up on The Famous Five books by Enid Blyton and I wrote my first book (as a child of about 10) based on her novels. I remember tying random bits of paper together to form my book.
A laptop is so much easier.
I read every day and have a wide range of authors who inspire me, Jean Plaidy, Philippa Gregory, Jean Auel, Jodi Picoult to name a few. Recently I have started sourcing Indie authors on my Kindle. You can pick up some fantastic nuggets of work.
Are you a fan of any particular genre outside of the one you currently write in?
Historical novels, rom-coms, thrillers. Anything with a great storyline. I have never really been a fan of sci-fi but if a book appeals I will try anything.
Is there an author (modern day or in history) you’d like to meet and if you did, who is he/she and what is the one question you would ask them?
Geoffrey Chaucer – I think I would ask him why he had to write in Olde English and torment me during my English A Level haha
Do you have a work in progress?
I am currently writing a prequel to A Mother’s Loss which is focusing on Mary, the mother of Sarah (our ghost in book 1). I’m about 75% through my first draft and I seriously cannot wait to get back to it once we are settled in Wiltshire.
A Mother’s Loss – available via Amazon
Two mothers united by loss.Present day Liz Stamford uproots her family to the Norfolk countryside to escape a traumatic loss. Their new house, a renovated pub holds a ghostly secret from the past. Liz tunes into those memories; uncovering a loss which tethers a young girl into the fabric of her new home. Grief drives Liz to solve the mystery of the girl in her dreams who cannot rest in peace.1860Sarah Whiting lives with her mother and siblings in the Crown and Hare pub. One night she is attacked by her stepfather. The consequences of his actions lead to heartbreak and scandal for the family.Can Liz discover what dreadful events haunt her new home? Can she solve the mystery and bring peace to Sarah?
A Costly Affair – available via Amazon
A Chance Meeting.
A Journey Which Would Change Her Life.
My life was good, safe, privileged. Husband, kids, big house, great job.
All that changed when I met Dave Roberts.
It started as a bit of fun. A bit of excitement from my sensible life.
It ended with disaster.
I paid dearly for my deceit. How was I to know he would take things further?
His desire for revenge would be a tsunami through my perfect family life.
What price was she willing to pay to keep her secret? To protect those she loved.
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