RACHEL MARIE’S INTERVIEW: Carina Axelsson

RACHEL MARIE’S INTERVIEW
July 5, 2017

 

1. So I’m 3/4 my way through book 1 so no spoilers please! What inspired you to write the book? 

My fashion experiences! (I worked as a fashion model for many years before I became an author.) And my love of mysteries! Frankly, the thought did often cross my mind, on those days when I was modelling in a studio all day, that the enclosed space of a fashion photography studio, coupled with the outsized personalities of the usual fashion shoot crew, could lead to the perfect crime. Not that I was wishing someone would keel over and die whilst on set! But I’d read so many Agatha Christie mysteries as a teen that I couldn’t help but think that a fashion shoot was the perfect setting for a crime.

2. Is their any part of axelle in you?

I wish! I always say Axelle is the clever, focused, fast-thinking, risk-taking me I’d like to be. 

3. What was it like working in the fashion industry? 

Fun, interesting, draining, colourful, relentless, and inspiring. The downside: I’m a homebody so all the travelling didn’t particularly suit me. The upside: I had oodles of downtime during which I could read!

4. When did you decide to write a book?

As soon as I could write. I must have been about seven, I think. As a child I kept starting books, but never managed to get past about page five. I still struggle with that today, actually! 

5) how do you do your research?

I LOVE doing research! *glances at moodboard and looks at pictures of current research subjects* And my favourite way of doing it is to experience it. So, if, for example, Axelle is chasing someone through an abandoned building, I’ll find an abandoned building in the city the scene takes place in and spend some time exploring it. In book 4 Axelle goes to Milan and climbs onto the roof of the Duomo cathedral, and she eats lots of pizza. Needless to say, I had to do both! I also do mega amounts of reading when I’m researching a person, place or subject. As far as I’m concerned, research is the perfect excuse to buy more books or book a trip.

6) Do you like to use pen and paper or keyboard,

Pencil and paper for notes, computer for writing.

7) are you a night writer or early bird?

Early bird by nature, but morning, afternoon, and night writer when a deadline is looming. *gets panicky just thinking about deadline and reaches for cup of tea*

8) Do you ever use playlist to get you in the mood to write certain scenes?

No. At times I might have a particular song in mind to inspire a certain scene or mood, but I’ll only let it play silently in my mind when I’m actually writing. And if I hear a song I think fits a scene or character I might play it more than usual when I’m away from my desk (like when I’m cooking), but, honestly, I need silence to write. I find music too distracting (because I like it too much!).

9) Does your Pinterest inspire you?

YES!!! I love Pinterest and always tell young writers that if they don’t have enough space in their bedroom to hang a moodboard, then they should use Pinterest. Whenever I start thinking about a new book I immediately create a secret Pinterest board for it and start pinning any relevant images that catch my eye. It helps me focus.

10) What was your favourite subject at school.

English, art, and history. That’s three but it was a tie!

11) Axelle is like an updated Nancy Drew – was that your aim?

Yes. As a young reader I was very inspired by Nancy and her adventures, but nevertheless I also very much wanted to read about a young girl detective in the here and now, someone I could more easily relate to. So Axelle is definitely my answer to that yearning.

12) Have you travelled to where all your books are set?

You bet! *leans back in writing chair and gets distracted thinking about all of the beautiful cities in the series* I worked as a model in all of them for many years and lived in two of them – Paris (book 1) and New York City (book 2) – for a long time.

13) Aunt Venita is a bit like Devil wears prada – was that intentional?

Good question…but no! Aunt Venetia is inspired by real editors I’ve worked with – not that any of them were half as devilish as she is. But editors do often seem to be of a certain type…a type that’s easy to play up and have fun with – as I did writing about Aunt Venetia.

14) Who was your favourite author growing up?

*Eyes widen because there were so many* Any list of mine would have to include, but not be limited to, the following fabulous authors: Beatrix Potter, Jean de Brunhoff, Astrid Lindgren, Marguerite Henry, Walter Farley, Richard Scarry, C.W. Anderson, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Daphne du Maurier…the list goes on and on, so I’ll stop here.

15) Who do you read now?

All of the above plus too many others to list them comprehensively here. I love 19th and 20th century European literature, especially all the usual English and French suspects: Wilkie Collins, Jane Austen, George Elliot (Middlemarch is one of my all time faves!), Proust, Flaubert, Colette, Anthony Trollope, Thackeray, Eudora Welty, Alice Munro, Anita Brookner, Dodie Smith, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, F.H. Burnett, Virginia Woolf, Vita Sackville West. There are so many to choose from and, fortunately, the list of inspiring literature is a very, very rich and long one.

16) Why do I sense Sebastian is A’s love interest?

You said no spoilers!

17) Are you an armchair detective?

Absolutely. But I kind of have the sneaking suspicion that at heart we all are…

18) Do you ever get ideas for characters from top model?

I’ve never watched it. I lived the real thing for too long to want to watch a television substitute! 

19) If you could be invisible for a day what would you do?

It would be a great way to write because no one could find me and disturb me!

20) Idea of a perfect rainy Sunday?

Reading or writing with a cup of tea at hand, by the fireplace, after a walk with my dogs. Baking something like a cake or tart could add the finishing touch.

21) Winter or summer gal?

Winter! I enjoy watching the forest sleep and it’s easier to write in cool weather.

22) Is A’s mum based on yours?

How’d you guess???

23) Three things you could not live without?

Books, dogs, tea. *looks under desk and sees four dogs*

24) Tea or Coffee person? With cake? Mug or tea cup?

Tea always. Cake or biscuits are indispensible. Mug or cup depends on mood and choice of tea. 

25) Any more Adventures for A on the cards/what are you working on?

The fourth book in the series, Dressed To Kill, has been published, and for the moment I’m working on a new series that is still a TOP SECRET project. 

26) Describe your typical day?

I write in the mornings and do book stuff (finish writing whatever I meant to do in the morning, answer fan mail, do interviews, organize book tours or school visits, update my blog, etc.) in the afternoons. I take my dogs for long walks into the forest twice a day, regardless of the weather. I live in a large, old house so there is always a ton of house stuff to do, but if I don’t do it, who will? I fit it in as I can. I read. And I try to cook as often as I can because I find it relaxing! 

27) Audrey Hepburn or Marylin Monroe?

Audrey!

28) Any hobbies?

Reading and drawing.

29) what’s the best thing about being a writer?

Having my characters come to life in published form and meeting my lovely readers!

30) Seen any Divas in the industry?

No. I’ve never met anyone working in the children’s books publishing world – be they fellow authors, or publishers, editors, whatever – who isn’t an unfailingly nice, funny, and friendly bookworm. I met plenty of divas in the fashion business though!

 

 

 

Mass Book Review

I know I haven’t done a book review in a while and that is the second job of this blog… So on the 25th June after my exams I will be doing several book reviews featuring these authors: 

  • Lindsey Kelk 
  • Lucy Diamond 
  • Margaret Thornton
  • Margaret Dickinson

So If you love Comedy/Chicklit/Sagas this post will be for you.

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I’ve just heard about the evacuation in Manchester and Trump pulling out of the climate deal. It seems we need to be resilient against terrorisim AND Global Warming.

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Today I’m flaring but I still managed to have a physio session working on upper body strength with motorised pedals and do a 45 mark past paper question. Just get on with it! This is in spirit of my poem ‘Just get on with it’ which is being published in the young writers Super Mum’s Anthology in August,

Book Review: The Escape Artist by Diane Chamberlaine 

Genre: Drama

Rating: 5/5

Blurb: When Susanna Miller loses custody of her eleven-month-old son, she changes her name and escapes from Boulder, Colorado, leaving behind everyone she knows, including the man who has been her best friend since childhood. She lands in Annapolis, Maryland, alone, frightened, and always looking over her shoulder for someone who might recognize her or her child. Just as she’s beginning to feel safe in her new surroundings, she stumbles across information that could save the lives of many people . . . if she’s willing to go to the police. But going to the authorities means revealing her identity, admitting her guilt, and worst of all, losing her son.
Equal parts family drama, love story, and thriller, The Escape Artist is the poignant story of a mother’s unbreakable bond with her child and the resiliency of a love that transcends distance and time.
“Chamberlain tells a moving tale of parental love and desperation while throwing in plot twists and intrigue.”

—Library journal

My Verdict: This maybe a bit biased opinion because as my readers know I am an avid fan. This book has more twists and turns than roundabout city. A story of fierce love and how the thought of the losing the ones you love can make you step up and losing the ones you love makes you see life’s treasures. The narrative is so heart wrenching and infuriating I wanted to put it down and have nothing more to do with it. But it was like I was addicted, like when you’ve bet on a greyhound and its nail bitingly close to the finishline. The characters are so  well developed they felt like friends and enemies. It was a rollercoaster of emotions, a well tread tapestry.


Books On My Bedside


As you lovely readers know I am ALWAYS reading and I always have the next book on the go!

  1. My Not so Perfect life by Sophie Kinsella
  2. The Summer we Danced by Fiona Harper
  3. The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald 
  4. Curtain by Agatha Christie

I love something light before bed, may you have blissful dreams… Make sure you check back at the beginning of April for ‘March’s Books Reviewed’.

Book Review: A step closer to Falling

This novel is told from the viewpoint of Emily about her and Scott’s community service, helping a group of adults with learning difficulties in a relationship class.

The reason for this? They didn’t come to Belinda’s rescue.

Belinda, a teen at Emily and Scott’s school also has learning difficulties and because of an infatuation she heads to the school football game where the incident happens.

Through Belinda we see the contributions leading up to this: an obsession with Pride and Prejudice and being too easily trusting. Tired of being over ruled by her protective Nan and Mother. Just because the incident happened doesn’t mean her life should stop.

As Emily and Scott complete their course, things begin to spark between them. Can admitting what happened to Belinda and the courage they see in class admit what they’ve been feeling?

Is tough guy Scott all he seems?

Will Belinda find happiness?

Will Emily see beyond the surface?

My Verdict: I expected nothing less from McGovern n, the subject of disability is handled delicately as well as relationships and sexual harassment. Beautifully written. With a beautiful message of equality without coming across as patronising

Genre: Young Adult/Relationships

Rating: 5/5

Book Review: Dorothy Must Die


DMD is a dark take on Frank L Baum’s Wizard of Oz. Amy Gumm is ‘trailer trash’ and her life his crap. However, like the naive farm girl we know and love, her trailer is transported to Oz and is the only person that can save the country from evil dictator Dorothy.

My Verdict: This story breathes new life into a classic. For younger readers the story is pure adventure but older readers will notice influences of Orwell’s 1984. This makes me feel 11 again and Amy Gumm is my new Katniss Everdean. Paige’s writing is exciting and intriguing. Brilliant debut.. love you Danielle! 

Rating: 5/5

Genre: Adventure