Tuesday 18 February 2020

My Life in Books with Author Caroline England / Caro Land @CazEngland #Convictions #MyLifeInBooks

An occasional feature on Random Things
Talking to people from the book world about 'My Life in Books'

I am delighted to welcome author Caroline England, also know as Caro Land to Random Things today.

She's talking about the books that are special to her in My Life in Books .

Convictions by Caro Land was published in January 2020

There are two sides to every crime…
Returning home to care for her ill mother, and approaching her fortieth birthday, Natalie Bach is devastated when she’s dumped without explanation by her long-term boyfriend. 
Struggling to pick herself up, she’s offered her old job at Goldman Law. Jack Goldman’s estranged son Julian has been arrested for attempted murder and he wants Natalie to find out why. 
With the help of fellow solicitor Gavin Savage, Natalie sets out to investigate, but with a series of red herrings ahead, will she ever discover the truth? 
And can Natalie avoid her personal problems interfering with the case? 
Convictions is the first book in a gripping new legal, crime suspense series written by bestselling author Caroline England, writing as Caro Land. It will appeal to fans of authors like Diane Jeffrey, Samantha Hayes and K.L. Slater.

My Life in Books - Caroline England / Caro Land

The Stud by Jackie Collins.  This might seem a surprising choice but it did have an impact at school. I lent my copy to a friend who had it confiscated when she was skiving the dreaded freezing swimming lesson. Reading about sex was akin to possessing Class A drugs. A SWAT team descended and lockers throughout the whole school were searched for similar shameful reading matter. Because I loved books so much, I always capitalised my name on the first page. Little did I know it would be officially printed one day! In this instance, however, it was a bad move. To ingratiate myself with the English teacher, Mrs Onac, I made more of an effort in the classroom and I discovered ‘the more one puts in, the more one gets out’ was actually very true. In addition to that, who doesn’t like a bit of romantic scandal? Though classed as ‘crime’, all my books have some, especially MY HUSBAND’S LIES…

Switch Bitch by Roald Dahl. See above. My copy was confiscated at the same time as The Stud. Oh no; sex again! But these dark tales with their delicious spiteful twists were just perfect, and they have undoubtedly influenced my writing, particularly my own short story collections WATCHING HORSEPATS FEED THE ROSES and HANGED BY THE NECK

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. This is the book we were studying when I tried to become teacher’s pet. I still find it astonishing that a book published in 1874 had such a feminist heroine. Bathsheba is ambitious, independent, headstrong, determined, and free-spirited. From the very beginning, she makes it known that she could never become any man’s property. I know things go somewhat awry, but go Bathsheba! My latest novel, CONVICTIONS, written under my pen name Caro Land, has feisty feminist but vulnerable solicitor protagonist too.

The Hawk in the Rain by Ted Hughes. One of my favourite poets, not lessened by the fact that I saw him perform ‘live’ when I was at school. I can clearly remembering him explaining the background to The Thought-Fox and then reading it in that deep, yet soft timbre. I was mesmerised and he was my first Yorkshireman crush. I don’t think I would have written short stories, then novels, had I not begun by writing poetry. As it happens, another handsome Yorkshireman is the love interest in BETRAY HER!

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I studied this for A Level, as did my three daughters. My teacher, John Billington, was just brilliant. Not only was he a great tutor, he was a buddhist with charismatic mystique. We all wanted to listen to his peals of wisdom and learn. I was so honoured that he read my debut BENEATH THE SKIN and wrote: “I admired the sheer confidence of your style and the assurance of your dialogue -- very impressive -- as well as the dexterity of your complex
plotting. And your insight into character is both astute and alarming! It is decades since I heard my mother say to my father "I can read you like a book!" when she discovered some minor hidden and innocuous secret (smuggling in a second-hand book usually), and I remember how as a child the possibility that women might have some X-ray capacity to read the minds of mere two-dimensional males haunted me. What on earth was Caroline thinking as she sat in my A level class! Dread to think.”

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I found the novel both enthralling and terrifying on so many levels. My latest psychological thriller BETRAY HER is partially set in a boarding school. Whilst my protagonist Jo didn’t have to go through even a fraction of what Offred suffered, there are most definitely some parallels between a totalitarian state and the boarding school I went to. Not to mention the real life Aunt Lydias!

The Camomile Lawn by Mary Wesley. I love the fact Mary Wesley wasn’t published until she was seventy. This makes me feel very young after all! I devoured all these books when they were published. I loved the quirky characters and surprisingly risqué storylines and though my novels are classed as crime, I hope some of her influences have rubbed off in my CONVICTIONS cast.

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson. It’s wonderful that a lauded literary writer like Kate Atkinson was happy to turn to crime! I aspire to her blend of contemporary literary and crime fiction in these Jackson Brodie novels. One of the reviews of Case Histories said it was a ‘wonderfully tricky book’. I like that! The television adaptations were great and the casting of Jason Isaacs as the world weary but attractive Jackson was inspired.

Wolf Comes to Town by Denis Manton. This children’s picture book is about a wolf who dresses in human clothing to hoodwink his gullible victims. He steals guitars, saucepans, lamb chops, ice-cream and valuable art. Pet cats began to disappear, then dogs and ducks and finally an obnoxious little boy called Bernard. I must have read this book a million times to my daughters. They were thrilled that the wolf got away! I think it appeals to my dark humour which is always threatening to escape. You’ll definitely find some of it in my new legal drama CONVICTIONS…

Caroline England / Caro Land - February 2020 

Born in Sheffield, Caroline studied Law at the University of Manchester and stayed over the border. Caroline was a divorce and professional indemnity lawyer. She turned to writing when she deserted the law to bring up her three lovely daughters. Caroline has had short stories and poems published in a variety of literary publications and anthologies. 

Caroline writes domestic psychological thrillers. Her debut novel, BENEATH THE SKIN, known also as THE WIFE'S SECRET in eBook, was published by Avon HarperCollins in October 2017. Her second novel, MY HUSBAND'S LIES, followed in May 2018 and became a Kindle top ten bestseller. Her latest novel, BETRAY HER, published by Piatkus of Little, Brown Book Group, is now available as an eBook, audiobook and trade size paperback. The standard UK paperback will be published on the 9th July 2020.

Caroline has two dark, twisty short story collections available on Amazon, both in eBook and paperback, WATCHING HORSEPATS FEED THE ROSES and HANGED BY THE NECK.

Caroline also writes under the pen name Caro Land. Her first Natalie Bach legal suspense, CONVICTIONS, was published by Bloodhound Books in January 2020. The follow up, CONFESSIONS, will publish in June 2020

Twitter @CazEngland

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