This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Carole Matthews is the bestselling author of hugely successful romantic comedy novels. With a new short story in the Mills & Boon anthology, Truly, Madly Deeply, published last month in association with the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and her latest rom-com A Place to Call Home about to hit the shelves, we sat down to talk all things lurve with Carole.
I adored The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and wished that I’d written that book. I like the idea that love can abide across time and all ages. It’s beautifully written and also very sad. An excellent book. Actually, it’s about time that I read it again.
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And your favourite romantic film? The kind you can curl up with on a rainy day with a tub of ice cream and a duvet.
I’m so predictable for a chicklit author, but I do love all the British rom-com films and always have my stash of Notting Hill, Love, Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones’ Diary close to hand. I’d be hard pushed to pick a favourite and could watch them all time and time again. It was a golden period for British films and it’s a shame that they’re not really making them like that anymore. A lot of the American comedies leave me cold.
What makes a great romantic hero?
I don’t go for the dominating, alpha male type of romantic hero, I like an ordinary guy – generally someone who’s flawed, but is trying to do their best. All of the heroes in my own books are like that. I like my men to be kind, caring and have a great sense of humour. If they happen to be classically handsome then that doesn’t hurt, but I’ve had a few unusual heroes in my books too. Dominic the Masaai warrior is the first one that springs to mind – not your usual hero, but one of my most popular men with readers. Someone like Christian Grey would make me run away screaming. I hate ‘damaged’, controlling men. My story in Truly, Madly, Deeply – The Corporate Wife – is a bit different from my usual style and reflects what I believe is the true side of that kind of relationship.
What is your top tip for writing romance?
Have a very colourful love life! I’ve been much married and have dated some good ‘uns and plenty bad ‘uns. I’ve had my heart broken many, many times and have possibly broken a couple myself. After a lot of searching, I eventually – thankfully – did find my soulmate. I think it all gives you an excellent wealth of emotions on which to draw! I think I’ve done my job well when my readers email or message me and say that they’ve been through the same things. I like to use realistic situations and always try to be optimistic. My heroines always strong, feisty women who sort out their lives for themselves. A man is never the answer to their problems, but sometimes is the icing on the cake!
What’s the most romantic experience you’ve ever had? Something that really captured your heart?
When my partner, Lovely Kev, and I first got together, I was a very impoverished new writer, he paid for us to go on holiday to the Maldives. We went to a teeny, tiny island called Veligandu and it, literally, was paradise. Long lazy days and warm, sultry nights. Heaven. One night we sat on the beach and watched the sunset on one side complete with a pod of dolphins leaping across the horizon while behind us the moon and the stars were rising. It brought me to tears and, at that moment, I couldn’t have been happier. It was so good that it made it into my book A Minor Indiscretion!