I’m delighted to welcome the lovely Carol Thomas today to talk about her contemporary romance, Crazy Over You.
CRAZY OVER YOU
Love can drive you crazy… in more ways than one!
When Abby met Simon, it was the start of something special, a love Abby believed would last a lifetime.
A wedding, two daughters and fifteen years later Abby’s world is falling apart. Having discovered Simon has had an affair her normally ordered mind is spiralling out of control. Crushed by the betrayal and shocked by her own reaction, she knows she needs to get herself together. She’s just not sure where to start.
With Simon on a mission to win her back and a close friend hiding a secret that could push her further over the edge, Abby finds strength and support where she least expects it. But as she attempts to gain control of her life and make decisions about her future, it may be more than the limits of Abby’s mind that are put to the test!
Excerpt from Crazy Over You:
Abby sipped her martini and searched the room for a distraction. As she looked at the bookcase she wondered if Simon would notice that their wedding picture was missing. Before he could follow her eyes she looked away and noticed that the answerphone was flashing. Good, something to break the silence. Leaning across, she pressed play. There was a message from her mum asking if she would see her before she went away, and one from her sister, Kennedy:
“Hey, what have you been up to? Sounds exciting. I need details!”
It was a response to a text Abby sent on the way home, hinting at her day. Simon raised an eyebrow and Abby smiled. But as the third message began to play, her smile faded and she froze.
“Hi, it’s me, just wanted you to know I meant what I said earlier, and I’m happy to oblige any time.” Bradley’s voice, too teasing, too jolly, too friendly, spilt into the already laden atmosphere of the room.
Simon sat completely still, staring at Abby. She didn’t look at him but she was well aware he was looking straight at her. A hot flush blazed across her neck and cheeks. Wanting to be free from his gaze she went to stand, but Bramble tumbled to the floor and stretched at her feet, preventing her escape.
“Abby, wait! Who was that? What… What is it? What did you do?” Simon scrambled for words, trying to fathom the messages and Abby’s response.
Abby couldn’t believe the implied accusation. Instantly cross that she was suddenly erroneously feeling like the one with a guilty secret to hide, she turned. Anger burning in her eyes, she seethed, “Really Simon? Really? You want to question me? Question my behaviour? Because let me tell you, I am not the one in the wrong here. I have so many questions firing round my head all the bloody time I can barely think straight. My mind is a mess, most of the time I think I am going crazy, and where are my answers? Where the hell is the explanation you owe me?” Aware that she was hitting him repeatedly with a cushion as she spoke, Abby forced herself to stop. She sat, fighting back angry tears and staring wildly at him.
Simon looked on, stunned, taking in Abby’s anger – the hurt branded in her eyes, the fury on her face and the ferocity with which she spat every word.
“Abby, I’m sorry! I am so, so sorry.” Tears welled in his eyes. “If I could take it all back I would. I hate what I did. I hate myself, but most of all I hate how much I’ve hurt you. I know it’s all just words…”
Like wedding vows, she seethed inwardly.
“But I mean it, please Abby, I love you. Let me prove to you that you can trust me. I know I don’t deserve it but please… Abby, give me – give us – a chance.” He spoke each word fired with determination to make her listen; she had to know how much he regretted what happened.
Abby didn’t respond. She couldn’t trust herself; who knew what would come out of her mouth if she spoke – something fuelled by anger, words she couldn’t take back, or worse, she might say something to make him feel better and she had sworn to herself she wouldn’t do that. He didn’t deserve it. He should feel bad, he should be sorry. Only the sound of her breathing was audible in the room as what felt like several minutes passed before Simon spoke again, quieter this time, less desperate.
“What do you want to know? Abby… You could ask me. I’ll answer what I can.”
“Don’t be stupid. The things in my head… I need too many details… it’d be too weird. You wouldn’t answer.”
“Abby, I want us to get over this. I want you to love me again. If it will help I will answer what I can.”
For the first time in weeks Abby’s mind went completely blank. She tried desperately to think of all the things she wanted to know as nothing instantly sprung to mind; instead the saying be careful what you wish for, one of her mum’s favourites, spun over and over in her head. Abby sat, momentarily unsure that she actually wanted to know anything. Then it struck her: her mind was crippled with not knowing the details – would knowing really make it worse? Perhaps it would make it better? She stopped holding back. She took a deep breath and before she could think on it any more she released the spectre of morbid curiosity that had yearned for this moment.
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Carol Thomas lives on the south coast of England with her husband, four children and lively young Labrador. She has been a playgroup supervisor and taught in the primary sector for over fifteen years, before dedicating more of her time to writing. Carol is a regular volunteer at her local Cancer Research UK shop. She has a passion for reading, writing and people watching and can often be found loitering in local cafes working on her next book.
Carol writes for both adults and children: Her contemporary romance novels, have relatable heroines whose stories are layered with emotion, sprinkled with laughter and topped with irresistible male leads; while her children’s books have irresistibly cute, generally furry characters young children can relate to.
Website and Social Media Links:
Interview with Carol:
What inspired you to write this novel? Where did the idea come from?
I wrote the novel I wanted to read. I had read other novels that covered the subject of infidelity, but all used the situation as a catalyst to a new beginning, starting over. In Crazy Over You, I wanted to consider how it would play out if you were torn between moving on or moving forwards as a couple.
Do you have a dream cast for your characters? If so, who?
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, I watched a programme called Thirtysomething. I loved it and still do. My dream cast would be the lead couple from that series, Mel Harris and Ken Olin – as they were then, playing Abby and Simon, my lead characters. (Mad fan moment… I recently got replies to tweets from both stars; I actually did a happy dance!)
If you could be best friends with one of your characters who would it be and why?
I should say Melissa, as she is a very good friend to Abby in the book. She encourages her to try new things and offers her support, without judging her actions. But I can’t help but want to be friends with the very cheeky and lovely Bradley Hunter. He offers Abby support of a different kind. I felt I bonded well with him while writing.
If you were stranded on a desert island, which of your characters would you want with you?
Definitely Abby’s husband, Simon, he would be practical and know what to do. He is a stay calm in crisis type of person.
What’s your favourite colour?
Brown. I associate the colour with my chocolate Labrador, who I adored and sadly passed away in 2016. He was the inspiration for Bramble in Crazy Over You.
What’s your favourite food?
I love my mum’s roast dinners. I cook them for her now that she is almost eighty, but hers are the best!
What is your typical day like?
I get the children up and sorted for school; I have three at home and one who is married with children of her own. After taking my crazy Labrador puppy for a game of ball, my husband and I eat breakfast out. My husband works from home too, so we tend to use local cafés as offices. I try to use as much time as possible to write or promote my books during the day until it is time to collect the children again. It doesn’t always work out to be as focused as it sounds (I spend one day a week with my mum, I have a French lesson, I volunteer in a charity shop – you can see how the time disappears). Once the children are home, it is a whirlwind of clubs, food and bedtime, with the late evening spent with my husband and dog, catching up on Neighbours – my guilty pleasure – and things like Bake Off.
If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I am always happy in the Alps in France, but it has been too long since I have visited Canada. We have lovely friends there who we haven’t seen for a while, and it is autumn, the perfect time to go!
Who or what inspired you to be a writer?
I always liked the idea of writing a book. When somebody I worked with published a book, it made it seem possible. I guess that inspired me to get on with it, rather than let it be something I wished I had done.
When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?
I enjoy reading, and I regularly go to the cinema. I tend to read within the romance genre, but I watch all types of films. I have an unlimited card, so I am happy to give most films a go.
What are you writing now?
My second novel is in the final stages of being prepared for publication in the new-year, and I am currently working on my third contemporary romance novel. It is in the early stages where I am still getting to know the characters and excitedly playing with plot ideas.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Keep notebooks of the random things you observe; you never know when they might come in handy. Don’t feel there is a right way to do it. Write, and establish what works for you.
What’s the hardest part about being an author? And the easiest?
The hardest, I find, is balancing promoting my work and allowing adequate time to write. Social media is essential to promotion but can also be a complete time waster too.
The easiest part is writing when the ideas are coming quickly and everything is flowing in a scene. I love the feeling that gives. It can be a small and yet very satisfying part of the process.
How do you handle writers’ block?
I keep writing. If not on what I was working on when I got stuck then something else, perhaps another aspect of the same WIP or something different, in an attempt to refocus. Usually, I return to find that I had simply written myself into a corner and need to take a turn to continue.
Have you learned anything from your readers? Or had a response that especially touched you?
I have received lots of lovely comments about Crazy Over You, which have boosted my confidence as a writer. I have heard from people who have experienced infidelity, the main theme of Crazy Over You, who said that Abby’s story resonated with them. When you are dealing with what can be a sensitive subject, it is good to know you have reflected it accurately in a way that others can connect with. One of my favourite comments, though, has to be from the person that told me Abby made her laugh out loud on a train. That makes me smile whenever I think about it.