We caught up with the enchanting Carol Marinelli to chat about her latest book Unlocking the Doctor’s Secrets. As well as writing tips for aspiring authors and what’s in her TBR pile at home.
Can you tell us a bit about how you came to write for Mills & Boon?
I always liked writing stories and poems. I loved reading Mills and Boon and as a young nurse started to try and write my own romance. Writing was my hobby and escape. When I was having a difficult pregnancy and had to rest there was time to take it more seriously and I loved escaping into my story.
What do you enjoy the most about writing for Mills & Boon Medical?
Medicals were my first love, romance reading and writing wise. I love the variety that comes with the stories and the settings. I think the readers (and I am an avid one) enjoy the unique variances in the Medical line. From sexy to sweet and also the medical side of things can be upfront or take a back seat at times. It’s a very special line to write for.
What was the inspiration behind your new book, Unlocking the Doctor’s Secrets?
My imagination generally gives me a scene. One scene. Then I have to write my way around that. If you read/have read Unlocking the Doctor’s Secrets, I am certain you can work out which one (I shan’t give any spoilers here). So, the basis of the book came to me with that one scene, though it told me very little about the hero and heroine. Truth be told on my first couple of attempts I selected the wrong heroine for the story and actually tried to use that scene in a way that didn’t work well for the story I was trying to tell. So I had to go back in a few times haha. The heroine I scrapped is actually perfect for my next Medical though!
If you could/wanted to turn the book into a movie, who would you cast as Lina and Garth?
Ben Barnes and Karen Gillan please J
How do you handle writer’s block?
Dreadfully! I hide, I cry, I eat, I panic, I finally resolve to sorting out the boxes in my garage, but they scare me more so I scuttle back to the book.
What does your writing routine typically look like?
It really varies and it changes all the time – mid-book even. I have bursts of productivity and then lots of lulls. I feel better when I have written – the same way you feel better after exercise or running – even if you initially don’t want to get out there and do it.
You write for both the Modern AND Medical series which is quite unusual! What are the differences between the two series?
I absolutely love both. The centre for each is the romance, of course. My heroes and heroines are their own people and I really strive for that. Sometimes my imagination gives me a character and I am unsure what line he/she belongs in. In Moderns (in my opinion) the focus is very much on the couple but in Medicals there is more community. Also medicals are more grounded than high end fantasy. That said, there is still room in Medicals for the high end fantasy at times and that is why I love them so much.
What 3 pieces of advice would you give to aspiring romance writers?
Make writing a regular part of your life.
I think learning to accept feedback is important, but I also think you should guard your imagination while telling a story *your* way – then ask for feedback and learn to live with the initial crushing feeling that not everyone loves every part of your story. Then pick yourself up and take a fresh look at it, but keep your own voice.
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not writing?
Make lists as to how I can be more organised.
What are some of your favourite romantic films/tv shows? Any recommendations?
Love Actually is my all-time favourite.
A Star is Born, with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga is my most recent favourite. I went to an outdoor cinema with my daughter. I wasn’t even that keen to see it, we were going for the night out more than the movie. It started to rain so they handed out ponchos and people started to leave. We were both scared to look at each other, because if she said “I want to go” well, I’d have to be Mum and agree. And she was worried I’d say “Come on, let’s just leave..” so we just didn’t look at each other and sat in the rain crying and transfixed.
What’s in your TBR pile at home?
I have TBR shelves and shelves…
I just finished a wonderful Charlotte Lamb novel and am currently reading Jackie Oh! By Kitty Kelley. It’s an old copy and pages keep falling out but I am loving it.
Why do you think Romance has been so successful as a genre, especially during the past year?
Escape! It is so nice to sink into a story and switch off from the constant dreadful news. The best thing for me is the promise of a happy ending. Even if the writer makes you wonder how the hell the couple are going to get there, you know it will be okay. You can go on an emotional journey while knowing you’ll be safe.
Last question! Flowers or chocolate?
Both, preferably with a nice cheese board and some wine….
Choose one? Flowers.
Carol has also published the romance novel, Putting Alice Back Together. Read the blurb below:
Alice is the friend you wish you had. The girl who makes a party more fun, drinks wine out of a mug and makes you laugh while you’re crying over an ex. Alice is totally happy, everything is amazing and there is nothing at all to worry about…
Except, well: Her job was really great – 10 years ago. She is in love with her best friend. Her credit card bills are under her bed unopened…But maybe the biggest problem for Alice is that she has a secret. A secret so big she can’t tell anyone. How do you keep a secret like that when everything is starting to fall apart? And once it’s out there, how do you ever begin to put yourself back together again?