Friday, 22 August 2014

Author Interview: Caroline Batten

When Caroline emailed me to see if I'd like to read her book I jumped at the chance! The synopsis sounded exciting and original with not only one story but two entwined. I completely fell in love with her writing and the characters she created in #Forfeit - you can read my review here. I urge you all to at least go and check the book out on Goodreads, it's honestly fantastic and very British.

So, without further ado, here's the interview. Enjoy:)
1. Where did you get your inspiration for #Forfeit?

I had a dream... Seriously, as cheesy as it sounds, I woke up one day feeling utterly bereft. I’d dreamt about this couple and the boy left the girl, saying he couldn’t live with her anymore. And even though her heart was breaking, she just let him go. I had to write about that couple, that feeling.  I wanted to understand why she’d let him go when she clearly felt so strongly. (#Forfeit readers might recognise the scene) But I had no plot for the book, and books that are only about a relationship don’t cut it for me.

The next day, with the scene still playing on a loop in my head, I sat down to watch the Antique Roadshow. (What? The AR’s cool as.) Someone brought this antique dice along and the antiques expert explained it was a Victorian Forfeit ball. Ta-da! I had a plot.

2. Xander is definitely my new book boyfriend. Who is yours?

Ooooh, currently it’s West from Robin York’s Deeper. He’s a bit of a stereotype – the drug-dealing bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks, but he bakes. That’s kinda hot.

3. Who was your favourite character to write about in #Forfeit?

Making James unspeakably horrid to Daisy is always never a chore, but I think I’ll go for Finn. I’ve rewritten Forfeit NINE times, but the last one, the one I published, is the first to feature Finn. In previous versions, Daisy’s husband was Tonio, and he was dead. In Draft Ten, when I brought him back to life, I really got to know him. God, he’s so much fun to paint. Hot, irresistibly sexy, downright naughty, but he also allowed me to show a different side to Daisy.  

4. Are any of the characters inspired by real people?

No. Well, bits maybe. At uni, there were people I knew who were educated at private schools, people who seemed so effortlessly confident – like they always knew what they’d do when they graduated, they always knew what to eat and how to pronounce the name of wines I couldn’t afford. The Dowson-Jones’ are a heightened version of those people. I was more like Daisy – clueless and skint.

5. Did you have to do a lot of research in preparation for writing this book or did you just see where the story went?

The story didn’t really require any prep, but I like detail to be correct. I spent a lot (= too much?) time researching things like Cumbrian place names, high-end wines and everything on Net-a-Porter. But the best bit of research went into something that got cut. In the original version, Xander goes off to Lech – a totes swanky ski resort in Austria, but how could I write about a place I’d never visited?:) Cue one insanely awesome ski trip. Sadly, to cut the word count, I sacrificed the two chapters in Lech, but the memories will live on. Forever.   

6. Who would be your dream cast for Xander and Daisy? Do you have an actor/actress in mind for any of the other characters?

Without doubt, Juno Temple is Daisy. It took a long time to find someone worthy to play Xander, but I’m pleased to say that Max Irons is invited to audition. Tabitha could be played by Lindsay Lohan (in her pre-surgery days), but the others... I’ll let the casting director put some names forward.

7. Why did you choose Daisy Fitzgerald as the female protagonist's name? A Great Gatsby fan?

It’s not so well thought out, I’m afraid. I’ve barely skipped through the book. Once I’d had my plot epiphany, I was so desperate to get it written down and out of my head, I didn’t waste time picking the perfect names for my characters. I’d always loved the name Daisy and when I needed a surname for her, I just plucked a name from my bookshelf. I’d not long left university and I still had the novels I’d studied for my Eng Lit degree. F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Golding provided Daisy and Xander’s surnames. I wish it was cleverer than that. But it’s not. 

8. Would you want to play Forfeit?

No. Well, sober I wouldn’t to, but after a few glasses of Prosecco... 

9. Are you working on anything new that your fans can look forward to?

Of course. Although it’s not a sequel, Distraction’s set in the same village as #Forfeit and does follow on chronologically. Expect to see familiar faces, most notably Patrick (the best man from Clara’s wedding). He’ll be flanked by his best-friends, Scott and Robbie, and the whole thing opens with a murder...  

About The Author

Caroline lives in the Lake District with her husband, small child and two Kune Kune pigs.
She daydreams of one day owning a pair of Louboutin’s and having somewhere fabulous to wear them. Until then, she’ll be found plodding up a mountain in her trusty hiking boots.
#forfeit is Caroline’s debut novel. Her second novel, Distraction, is due for publication in February 2015.
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