Back in July, a book landed on my doormat, which I had been invited to review on a blog tour. I had no idea what to expect but the blurb interested me so I started reading with a completely open mind. After a few chapters, I felt compelled to look up the author D.B. Carter. I was so surprised to find out the book was actually a debut novel. The writing was so accomplished, vivid and original I knew there was a very talented author behind the pages of The Cherries.
I don’t often post author interviews but the book had such a strong theme of kindness that I wanted to know more about D.B. Carter. In fact, The Cherries has stayed with me long after I closed the book and the characters and writing style made me want to know more.
Firstly, here is a little bit more about The Cherries and the link to my review, which is right here.
When they have broken you, when you have been humiliated, bullied, deserted and destitute, can you find a place where you may dare to be happy?
Susan travels with her mother, escaping a life of heartbreak and poverty in the city, to live with their one remaining friend in a small rural village.
At twenty Susan is still bound by the trauma of her youth, but starts to blossom into womanhood, thanks to the tender encouragement of Luke, the eccentric occupant of ‘The Cherries’, who lives surrounded by books and art. It is a journey of tears and laughter, helping to heal mind and spirit.
But can the past ever be truly behind you?
Feeling safe and secure at last, mother and daughter nurture artistic talents that they had long since thought worthless, and their lives take directions they could never have imagined.
Yet, amongst the kindness and love in their new community, there lies hidden grief and a long-suppressed secret that must come to light. Something that might force Susan to another life beyond the confines of the village.
D.B. Carter Author Spotlight
This is my number one burning question. I just have to know if there will be a sequel to “The Cherries”?
That’s the plan. I have two sequels outlined, and another book focused on one of the minor characters from The Cherries.
The sequel will pick up a few years after the first book and will introduce some new characters alongside the ones we know. Some of the people we know will find painful memories resurface, but there will be happiness too.
I loved all the characters in your book but my favourite was Luke. If “The Cherries” was made into a film, who would you choose to play Luke?
That’s a tricky one. After a good deal of thought, I opted for Dan Stevens (but he would need dark hair).
(Ahhhh, Matthew Crawley from Downton Abbey, I love him! Interestingly, when I read the book I imagined Luke as Jude Law, and they do have a slight resemblance!)
Are your characters from imagination or inspired by people you have met?
They are all imaginary, but there are traits and manners of speech that I have seen in real people. I guess some of them are maybe composites of various friends and relatives, but I doubt anyone would recognise themselves.
I have to say, Luke is very much who I would like to be, and he has some things in common with me – we both collect books and have an appreciation of art. My parents were artists and I grew up in that world, among “exotic” terms like Prussian Blue and Yellow Ochre. I learned to paint under their tutelage.
What advice would you give to a new author and do you have any marketing tips which may be helpful?
Write what you want and don’t be embarrassed to show it to people. Take feedback and constructive criticism on board.
Marketing is a difficult one to answer. I think the best thing is to join Twitter and Facebook, follow other authors who write in a similar genre. I’ve found most people are supportive of fellow writers.
You have an amazing following on Twitter, what do you love most about the writing community and who has helped most with your writing?
Thank you. I love the creativity of Writing Community, and the mutual understanding of what it is to be a writer – things like how hard it is to take the plunge and share your work, and the butterflies in your stomach when someone tells you they are reading your book.
Who has helped with my writing? That’s so hard to answer, mainly because I joined twitter after I had written my book, so a direct influence on writing is hard to point to. There are so many people who have supported me in one way or another.
Finally some quick-fire questions:-
Describe your writing style in three words
Classical, descriptive, real
What is on your writing desk today?
A mug of chamomile tea, a bust of Shakespeare, my laptop, paper and pens/pencils and a tiny glass chicken.
Do you have a favourite book from childhood?
I have so many, picking one is hard. Probably Wind in the Willows.
Who is your favourite literary character?
Sherlock Holmes (among many). I have such happy memories of buying the Penguin Complete Works. I was 13 and having saved up for several weeks to buy it, I cycled the seven miles into our local town and its wonderful old bookshop. On the ride back, there was torrential rain, soaking everything except the book, which was safely wrapped up in a plastic carrier bag. When I got home, I dried off, snuggled up by the fire with a mug of tea and some buttered toast, and lost myself in the world of 221b Baker Street while the wind and rain rattled against the windows. For me, that is reading bliss.
(This certainly conjures up a blissful image. I’m so glad it was worth the saving up and torrential rain. I’m sure you still have that book to this day)
Here on Waggy Tales Blog, we love animals, have you ever owned a pet?
When I was a small boy, our next-door neighbours had a dachshund – he and I were great friends and would play for hours in their garden. But I’ve never had a pet of my own.
Many years later, when our children were still children, my wife and I bought three beautiful guinea pigs (Honeysuckle, Pansy and Poppy) who all lived to a ripe old piggy age.
Dachshunds are my absolute favourite!! I love their noses and they are so inquisitive and intelligent.
Oscar (the name of the dog in the book) doesn’t turn up until about halfway through, seems to steal the show a little bit a couple of times.
What’s coming up next from D.B. Carter?
My new book, The Wild Roses is with the publishers. It is a coming-of-age drama about three late teens in the 1980s. It’s about betrayal, obsession, compulsion, coercion, and redemption… and there is also a dachshund.
I would like to say a huge thank you to D.B. Carter for giving us a little insight into his life as an author. It’s lovely to hear about the little chicken on the writing desk, the childhood trip to the bookstore, the guinea pigs and love of dachshunds (because I have one myself!)
The book is one of my favourites this year. In fact, I’m itching to read it again. As I said in my review it has a classical feel and deals with some serious issues as well as old fashioned romance.
I’m sure that The Wild Roses will be just as successful…I can’t wait to read it!
You can find D.B. Carter on Twitter (@DBCarterAuthor).