Hi and welcome to my stop on Colette McCormick’s Ribbons In Her Hair blog tour 🙂
Interview with Colette McCormick…..
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
I was born and raised in Yorkshire but have lived in Co Durham for nearly 40 years. I have always enjoyed writing and ‘dabbled’ with a book for many years without really getting anywhere. In 2013, a life-threatening illness changed my perspective and made me focus on doing the things that I wanted to while there was still time. My first book ‘Things I Should Have Said and Done,’ was published by Accent Press in 2015. My second book ‘Ribbons in Her Hair’ is out now and a third, ‘Not My Brother’s Keeper,’ will follow in May 2019.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
I get my ideas from every-day life. Something will happen and the cogs will start turning. ‘Ribbons in Her Hair,’ came about after I noticed a little girl with her hair tied up in ribbons and I commented to the person that I was with that I used to have my hair tied up just like that. That was when I learned that, despite how it might have looked, not everyone was blessed with the childhood that I had.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
Not really, though my mother was obsessively tidy just like Jean from ‘Ribbons in Her Hair’. She also made the best mashed potatoes in the world but that’s as far as the similarity goes. I always knew that my mother loved me.
How do you pick your characters names?
They’re usually the first names that come into my head. I wish that I could say something more exciting but it’s the truth.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
I’m not much of a planner so I tend to have my main character and a vague idea of where I want them to go, then I let them lead me. I sometimes wish that I could plan more but that wouldn’t be me. I like to have the first draft complete 3 – 4 months before it’s due to be delivered to the publisher and that gives me time for a ‘proper’ edit and then a final polish before I send it on its way.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
I once bought someone’s collection of Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct novels in a charity shop on the back of reading just one because I thought that he wrote great dialogue. I think that puts him in my top five. Jane Austen would be in there too because I could read any of her books over and over. I’ll admit to having a bit of a soft spot for the character Jack Reacher, so Lee Child would make my top five authors. Sue Grafton would be in there too, I’m working my way through the Kinsey Millhone books. Last but not least I’d have to put Alison Weir in my top five because I am quite partial to the Tudor period.
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
If I could meet Dennis Lehane I’d ask him to explain what on earth was happening in ‘Shutter Island.’
Were you a big reader as a child?
Yes. When I was very young I enjoyed Enid Blyton but when I got a little older, the world was my oyster. I remember the librarian in the Park Library in Sheffield recommending Anya Seton to me. She’d asked my age and when I said I was twelve she told me she had enjoyed Seton’s books when she was my age. I have very fond memories of going to the library with my mum and choosing books. Thank you for asking that question because it has triggered a very happy memory and I’m sitting here with a smile on my face.
When did you start to write?
When I was in Junior One (aged 7 or 8) during our ‘composition class’ (showing my age now) I asked my teacher if I could carry on my story into the next lesson. I always think that was my first attempt at a novel.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
If I could re-write the end of ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles,’ Tess and Angel would go off somewhere and live happily ever after. I don’t think it would make the book better but it would have made me happy.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
‘To Kill a mocking Bird,’ it’s an incredible book.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
Chocolate Cake for Breakfast.
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
I’d love to meet Sherlock Holmes and we would go to The Pantry in Tow Law for coffee. It’s close to where I work so it’s nice and handy. I’d love to spend a couple of hours people watching with him.
Tell us a random fact about yourself.
Occasionally I like to eat chocolate cake for breakfast.
What are you working on right now?
A romance that starts in the summer of 1976. It’s very early stages and doesn’t even have a working title yet. It does however have an ending.
Tell us about your last release?
Ribbons in Her Hair is about the mother/daughter relationship. In similar situations they react very differently, but at the end of the day they are both trying to achieve the same thing. It’s about how you can live with someone but not know them. Susan doesn’t know what makes her mother behave the way she does and Jean can’t be the mother that Susan needs.
Do you have a new release due?
23rd August 2018 – which by happy coincidence is today.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
When my first book ‘Things I Should Have Said and Done’ was published in 2016 I went to work and it was just a normal day. Afterwards I wished that I’d done something special. This time I intend to have the day off and persuade Mr Mc to take me out to lunch.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
That I will be eternally grateful to each and every person who has ever bought /read one of my books. Thank you for making dreams come true.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Colette 🙂
Jean seems the perfect wife and mother but she struggles to love her daughters whose material comforts mask emotional neglect. When the youngest daughter, Susan, brings ‘shame’ on the family, Jean can think of only one response. She has to make the problem disappear. Finding the strength to stand up to her mother for the first time in her life, Susan does the only thing that she can to save her baby. What Susan doesn’t realise is that her mother’s emotional distance hides a dark secret of her own. Examining the divide between generations, between mothers and daughters, this emotionally charged novel asks whether we can ever truly understand another, however close our ties.
Happy reading 🙂