Today I’m delighted to welcome the fabulous Carla Burgess to my blog!
Hi Carla thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
Hello, Darcie, thank you so much for having me on your blog. My name is Carla Burgess and I write romantic comedies for HQDigital. I live in Chester with my husband and three children and I like animals, the countryside and the sea. I’m originally from Solihull, but moved to Chester for university and ended up staying when I met my husband. It’s a lovely place and I’ve used it as the setting for both of my books.
Why did you want to become a writer?
I’ve always had an urge to write. I remember being quite small when I realized that people actually wrote the books I was reading and thinking that was an amazing thing to do. As a bit of daydreamer, it’s the ideal job really. I was always reading as a child and often I’d carry the story on in my head after the book had finished. Plus I’ve always loved working with words. I studied English Literature at uni and I worked as an magazine editor for twelve years.
Tell us a bit about your recent release.
Stuck With You is about a girl that gets stuck in a lift with the guy she used to have a crush on in college. She’s horrified at first in case he spoils her perfect memories of him by being horrible, but it soon becomes clear that he’s still the boy of her dreams and a much better bet than the horrible boyfriend she’s already got. Hopefully it will make readers feel happy.
What genre are your books?
My books are romantic comedies.
What draws you to this genre?
I love an uplifting read and a happy ending.
Where do the your ideas come from? / What was the inspiration to write your most recent book?
I’ve never been stuck in a lift myself, thank goodness, but I heard someone screaming from inside a lift in a shop once and I just thought, how awful it must be. Also, the crush part of the story is a bit embarrassing because as a teenage girl, I used to have really intense crushes on boys where I’d be rendered speechless by their presence and just a glimpse of them in the hallway would make my day. Very sad, I know. I still have a leaf stuck into a diary from a walk I took past some poor unsuspecting boys house. I don’t keep it as a memento of him though; it’s more a reminder of how scathing and sarcastic my friend was during the walk. I still belly laugh every time I think of that evening. I dedicated Stuck With You to her because I feel like I owe her. She really needed the loo and I made her walk for miles.
How much research do you do? / How do you research?
Daniel in Stuck With You is a tree surgeon so I did a bit of research on his job, which mostly consisted of looking at pictures of manly tree surgeons on pinterest. My next door neighbours were quite helpful too because they had some guys round to do their trees while I was writing it. The curtains did a lot of twitching that day! For Marry Me Tomorrow I researched homelessness, and there has been lots of media coverage about this growing problem so there is lots of information about. The statistics are shocking and there are so many heart-breaking stories out there.
Plotter or pantser? – Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I’m more of a pantser really. I make an initial outline but once I have that I just want to get stuck in and write.
Describe what a typical writing day involves for you. / Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
I get the kids to school, do some chores, walk the dog and then I sit and down and write as much as possible. Social media is a big distraction, but it’s also incredibly valuable so I try to balance it out. I try to write a thousand words a day, but if a deadline is looming then I just write and write and write. I stop when the kids come home and make tea, and then I go back to writing in the evening.
What’s the toughest part of the writing process for you?
I suppose I find the end the trickiest. It has to do justice to rest of the story, plus it’s hard saying goodbye to your characters.
What’s the most enjoyable part of writing?
I like surprising myself with how the story evolves. I like being completely immersed in the lives of my characters and the feeling that anything could happen. And I like making those ideas boards on twitter where you get to look at lots of handsome men and wonder who would play the hero in the movie (I can dream!!).
Out of all the wonderful books out there, which book do you wish you had written and why?
It’s a bit random but I wish I’d written Richard Adams’ Watership Down because I adore it so much. A colony of rabbits leaving their home on the advice of a psychic bunny and his charismatic brother – it’s just amazing. I love how they have their own folklore, and Frith is their god, and the Black Rabbit of Inle comes to get them when they die. And they all have wonderful names like Hazel and Fiver and Bigwig and Blackavar. And General Woundwort is just terrifying.
If you could spend the day with your favourite literary character, who would you spend it with and what would you do?
I’d spend the day with Lucy Honeychurch from A Room with A View by E.M. Forster. We’d wander around Florence and I’d try to get her to talk about George Emmerson.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading You Don’t Know Me by Mandy Lee.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
I’d like to be able to teleport. How great would that be? No more walking or driving anywhere. I’d just click my fingers and *POP* I’d be there.
What secret talents do you have?
I can wiggle my ears.
Are you a morning or night person?
I’m a night person. I love the peace of knowing everyone’s asleep in bed and I’m not required to be washing/ironing/cleaning/making food. I like writing at night too. Unfortunately, I have two teenagers who seem to think they’re night people too, so that peace is increasingly hard to find.
What fear would you like to overcome?
If I wasn’t afraid I would learn to ride a horse.
What is your favourite film and why?
I saw Beauty and the Beast the other day and I think it might be that now because it made me feel so happy and joyful. It was just lovely.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Book Links –
One lift. Two strangers. Anything could happen!
Elena thinks today will be just like any other day… until the supermarket lift gets stuck! And she’s not alone. Also stuck is none other than Daniel Moore, her teenage crush, who seems to be just as gorgeous as she remembered… But Elena already has a boyfriend – though not a very good one!
So, when Elena makes some big changes in her life, she’s reluctant to give ladies’ man Daniel a real chance. Elena has had enough of players – she’s going to stick to being single, and resist Daniel’s brooding charms. But Daniel has other ideas.
He’s determined to show Elena how much of a perfect pair they could really make… if they stick together!