Wednesday 21 April 2010

Author Interview: Carmen Reid

I love the chic-lit. I do! Who writes some of the best romantic comedies?? Carmen Reid!! That's who, and she stopped by so we could get to know her a little better. How sweet! Let me introduce you to Carmen Reid (she lives near me **squeel**)!!


Carmen was born and brought up in a chilly and windy corner of Scotland in the depths of the countryside. Her hobbies are cooking, cleaning, arguing about whose turn it is to walk the dog, clean the fish tank, take out the rubbish, do the laundry... and so on.


You have 10 published works! How do you come up with all your ideas?

When I started writing my first book, I worried a lot about this. Now I worry about how will I ever write down all the ideas I have! I think if writers write, painters paint, musicians make music, the ideas will come. It’s all about opening the creative floodgates, tapping into that part of your mind. You will find it limitless!

Tell us about your road to publication.

Compared to the many other stories I’ve heard, it was pretty smooth. I wrote three chapters and a full synopsis of ‘Three In A Bed’ and sent it to six agents. Five said no, one phoned back immediately to say: write this book now! (I do think it helped that I was a national newspaper journalist at the time) I took about 18 months to write the book and it took another five months to sell. I think it went to five publishers who said no and then the sixth loved it. Luckily for me I’ve been with the same agent (Darley Anderson) and the same publisher ever since.

Your novels center a lot on shopping. Are you a shopaholic?

From book five onwards, shopping is the backdrop as the main character, Annie Valentine, is a personal shopper. I’m really interested in the psychology of shopping, all our body issues and very personal states of mind come to the fore when we shop (especially for clothes). Plus that whole idea of re-inventing yourself, dressing for who you’d like to be, dressing in anticipation of an occasion... that’s all very fertile ground for a writer. I love fashion as an art form: Vogue magazine and catwalk shows, the stories behind big designers like Coco Chanel. I find that all fascinating. I’m really tall (6ft plus) and I used to find clothes shopping traumatic, I know what works now but I’m far, far from a shopaholic. My wardrobe is tres minimal and I like it like that.

What is the BEST thing about being a published author?

There are two best things: being paid to do the thing I love and getting fan mail from readers who have loved the books. Sometimes when I do signings, readers bring along a cherished, dog-eared copy which they’ve read over and over. That always makes me feel very emotional.

You write romantic comedies for women and teens. Are there any other genre's you are eager to write?

The strange thing is I never thought I’d write rom com. I thought I was terribly, terribly serious and earnest and literary. But when I write, the romance and the comedy just pour out. Nothing I can do about it! Maybe one day I’ll write that terribly serious and worthy literary work. But no other genre appeals, I’m far too squeamish for horror or crime.

Any advice for new writers?

Read, read, read and write, write, write. We all get better with practise, we all learn from the writers we love. Try and have a fixed time in the day when you write. Get into a regular habit, even an hour every day. Expect loads of criticism and loads of rejections. Don’t send off to literary agents until you’ve created a really credible manuscript. They get HUNDREDS of manuscripts every week. Think of a big character and a big story.

Describe a typical writing day.

As soon as my children are at school, I’m at my desk and getting on with it. I try and put everything else on hold that needs to be done, or else suddenly my writing time will have disappeared. I plan the books out very thoroughly in advance and although some scenes may not work in the writing, I know exactly where the story is going to go. This is hard to do – but very, very worthwhile. If you can’t sort out the plot problems in the plan, you will not sort them in the writing.

Are you working on anything new? If so, what can you tell us about it?

Yes, Annie Valentine Five (we’re working on the title!) She goes to New York with her daughter Lana to help with Svetlana and Elena’s new dress label. Annie lurrrves New York and does not want to leave.

I’ve just finished book four in the teen series, Secrets at St Jude’s – Rebel Girl. It comes out in June.

Do you have a favorite vacation spot?

I love the French countryside and also, in total contrast, New York City!

Anything you would like to say to The Sweet Bookshelf readers?

Very happy reading! There are so many books that have changed and shaped my life in so many different ways. Books rock!

Books by Carmen:

The Personal Shopper
Up All Night
How Was it For You?
Did The Earth Move?
Three in a Bed
Late Night Shopping

The Secrets at St. Jude's: New Girl
St. Jude's: Jealous Girl
St: Jude's: Drama Girl
St. Jude's: Rebel Girl

Don't forget to check out Carmen's website!

Thank you for taking time for an interview Carmen! I can't wait to read Annie Valentine 5 and I hope to see you at a future signing!!


  1. Great interview.

    Ahhhh the French countryside.
    *dreaming glaze*
    I must go there.

    I'm off to check out her site.

    Thanks for introducing me to a new author.

  2. Great interview. I have never heard of Carman before, but reading that she is from Scotland (MY ABSOLUTE FAV PLACE IN THE WHOLE WORLD) def makes me interested and from the sounds of her books, I am REALLY interested now. There is an amazing Used/Trade book store that I haunt, so Ill have to see if they have her. Thanks for following and my blog isnt NEAR as cute as YOURS! Love it!

  3. Oh, I love Carmen! I freaked out when I heard she was from Scotland! She is only 30 in from me! HELLO!! I can't wait to go to a signing!

    And I didn't know she was SO tall. Very cool fact.

  4. Hello! I loved reading this great interview. :)


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