Monday, March 19, 2012

Carole Sutton Author of: Ferryman, And the Devil Laughed, Blood Opal – and the latest book, Flash Harry

Hi Carole, where were you born and where do you call home?
 I was born in London in 1938 and evacuated to the Devon countryside during WWII. I well remember huddling in the wine cellar with Auntie May and her family, while the bombs dropped around us during the Exeter Blitz in 1942. After the war I remained with my Auntie and had a great start in life. Years later, I married an Exeter man and we brought up three children in Cornwall (SW corner of UK) where we built our own boats and sailed the English Cannel. Twenty years later we migrated to Western Australia and started a family business until my husband retired ten years later. We bought a 2.5 acre block of land and erected a large workshop in which we lived for the 3 months it took to build our house. Now, 20 years further down the track, we are well and truly settled in the place we call Home.

What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 30 or less words, what would you say?
My fourth book titled Flash Harry is another stand-alone crime fiction. This one is set in Bangkok amongst the sexy bars and clubs of Patpong. Briefly the story goes…

‘Harry Tremaine is missing, his wife murdered. But, when his daughter Liz discovers what he does for a living in Bangkok, his ruthless associates need to shut her up – fast.’

Do you have plans for a new book?  
Not at this moment, I’m still out of breath from this one!

What or who inspired you to write?  And how long have you been writing?
Since the early 1960s when my children were toddlers and I wrote bedtime stories for them. I started writing seriously in 1995 by joining a creative writing workshop. My first book was called Gus – Sore Feet, No Collar, about a dog abandoned in the Australian bush. Beginners luck saw it published by a local, traditional publisher that same year.

How did you come up with the title and cover design?
Harry is an enigma. He is perceived as warm and generous by some, a fun loving rogue by others, and a pimp and purveyor of female flesh by the law. Although the central character, he remains elusive for most of the story. The book cover design came about through trial and error and discussions with my writing group. The illustration portrays an incident in the story.

Tell us more about your writing group. Is it a face to face meeting?
Yes, and that started back in 1995. There were eighteen of us then. It consisted of reading our work out loud, for the group to discuss and critique. When our official course ended, some of us asked our mentor if she would continue to help the novel writers amongst us.
She agreed, and we met on a weekly basis in the local pub where we were able to utilise a quiet corner and sit with our drinks and MSS to hand. Over the years our numbers dwindled, and finally even our mentor moved away. That left three of us. We three decided to continue meeting. Today all three of us are published. We still meet on a fortnightly basis to read our chapters out and provide help and encouragement to each other.

Who designed the cover of your book?
Patricia L. O’Neill, author of The Hatshepsut Trilogy. She was a founding member of the writing group mentioned above and has an artistic gift.

Have you based any of your characters on someone you know, or real events in your own life?
No, I think I would find writing characters I know a bit restricting. As for real life … although my books are stand-alones, they do have something in common with their author – the love of boats, sea and sailing comes out strongly in the first three books. It’s also touched upon in Flash Harry. As for reality, the dramatic events at the end of Ferryman come straight from an Elizabethan Pageant I attended in the middle of England many years ago.

What books have most influenced your writing most and why?
Crime fiction is my preferred genre for both reading and writing and Lynda La Plante, Colin Dexter, PD James, Reginald Hill, Ian Rankin are only some of the authors that grace my shelves.

Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?
Ebooks are too flimsy, and I don’t have a Kindle. Hard covers are too heavy to hold up in bed, but paperbacks suit me just fine.

Where do you prefer to buy your books?
I used to buy them in my local bookseller, but he has closed down now. I buy most of them from the on-line publishers like Amazon, B&N, Book Depository – in other words, I buy other people’s books from those who sell mine.

Are you a self published (Indie) Author?
Yes, I am.

Have you ever read a book more than once?
Yes, but it has to be pretty special. Something like Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, for example.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?
The Lighthouse Keeper’s Wife by Karen Viggers (paperback) and I’m enjoying it thoroughly. The characters are beautifully drawn. I like the way the author has used one unlikely character in the first person, and three in third and it is working very well.

Are there any new Authors that have grasped your interest and why?
I read recently Allan Mayer’s book Taste the Wind, Wally Rabini, Peter Bernardt, Jackie MacKenzie, Dee Marie and her Sons of Avalon series, and so on. I am not inclined towards fairies, dragons, vampires and fantasy – which is a pity as there appear to be a lot of quality stories out there. But we can’t all like everything, can we? Please note: I didn’t say ‘angels’ so they are in with a chance. J

Is there anything you would change in your last book and why?
Oh, have a heart … I only sent it to the publisher this week!

Do you have a book trailer?
Yes, thanks to Victoria Twead of the ‘Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools,’ fame. Victoria made a terrific book trailer of Ferryman for me. If you have a moment, do pop in and see it, and listen to the sounds of Cornwall.

What are your thoughts on book trailers?
I get put off by the volume some people use that drowns out their trailers. By the time I’ve found the volume control, I’ve lost the message.

Do you have any advice for other writers? What is the best advice that you have ever been given when it comes to writing?

To grow a thick skin – learn to take criticism and persevere with your writing. Join writing workshops. The two on-line sites that helped me through the early stages were :  and,

Do you write under a pen name?

Do you ever write in your PJ’s?
No – don’t even wear PJ’s J

What are your pet peeves?
When the computer crashes – I am not a computer friendly person and when something goes wrong, I inevitably make it worse trying to make it better.
When kids come and stand beside me, wearing smug grins for nearby parents, as they discover they are taller than me.  (I’m 4ft. 10ins – and the kids love beating that figure!) Five out of the six grandkids have been through that stage. Only one more to go.

Cats or dogs?
Dogs – I have a German shepherd called Tamar, and a Jack Russell, Jacky. (Very original, I hear you say.)

White wine or red?
Red wine or white J I enjoy them both.

Coffee or tea?

Vanilla or chocolate icecream?
Vanilla, or better still, chocolate covered vanilla ice cream on-a-stick.

What do you normally eat for breakfast?
‘Be Natural’ cereal.

What are 4 things you never leave home without?
The bikkie-bag, dog whistle, extension leads, and dogs!

Laptop or desktop for writing?

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
In our spare bedroom, which is kitted out as an office, where I work just about every morning, and try to put time in between dog walks in the afternoon, and the early part of the evening. Untidy it may be, but no one is allowed to touch a thing. I know where everything is.

Patti Says: sound a lot like my desk :)  Look but do not touch!

Do you participate in writing competitions?
I entered Ferryman and And the Devil Laughed in three major novel competitions in 2007 and was short listed in each one.

Where can your readers stalk you?

My Goodreads author page:

Independent Author Network:

Is your book in Print, ebook or both?
All printed in paperback.
And the Devil Laughed and Blood Opal are also available as ebooks.

Some of Carole's personal pics:

A visit from an Emu in Carol's back yard.

Carole's German shepherd, Tamar.

And Carole's Books on Amazon

Thank you for taking the time to share you thoughts Carole, it has been most enjoyable.  Patti


  1. Hi Patti, Thank you for asking me - I enjoyed our little session.

  2. Lovely interview, Patti and Carole,
    I can recommend Carole's book s to everyone. Carole is a great storyteller and her work is suspenseful and beautifully crafted.

  3. Thank you Wendy, that is a superb comment. It was lovely to chat with Patti, and I simply love her book covers - so dramatic. It makes me wonder how she would have shown the full faced mask as described in Ferryman for the Elizabethan pageant.


    1. Thank you Carole. After writing, making book covers are my next most favorite thing :) and they certainly don't have to cost as much as most people might think! People really do judge a book by the cover


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