Wednesday, March 13, 2019

INTERVIEW: British Suspense Thriller Author Carole Parkes

Carole Parkes
Lancashire, England

Good morning, Carole. Welcome to Vision and Verse, the site for art and book lovers.What have you written?

My first published book was ‘Tissue of Lies’, a psychological thriller. It was written when I was in my twenties, but not published until many years later when I was sixty-eight.

Next, I co-wrote ‘Your Last Breath’, a shocking, gripping, suspenseful thriller, with my writing partner Doug Lafuze. We met online when I published a short story on my blog. That story inspired Doug to write the same story from one of the other character’s viewpoint. I liked his version too and suggested we turn that short story into a full-size novel. As I’d already published a book and Doug hadn’t, I did all the content editing and the rest of the polishing needed. Then I published it.

I also helped my mother with her biography. As well as editing it, I added lots of referenced end-notes relating to her family tree and other facts. I’ve also written several poems, some short stories, and a children’s series, though none of these have been published.

What is your favorite genre to write?
I enjoy writing suspenseful thrillers, although I find them more difficult than some other genres I’m currently working on.

How old were you when you started writing?
I started writing when I was in my early twenties. I began with children’s stories and they are still unpublished.

Do you plan out your book with outlines and notecards? Or just write?
I find it necessary to plan when writing thrillers. You have to leave clues and ensure everything ties together in the end. I start by defining the main characters before I begin writing, I usually write a paragraph on each of them mapping out their looks, stature, mannerisms, habits, hobbies, likes, dislikes, moods and so on. Then I roughly define what each chapter will be about.

Favorite food:
My favourite food has to be cake. Oh, wait! Make that chocolate. Mmm… but I also love roasts, chicken and ham pie, lasagna, spaghetti Bolognese. Alright, let’s face it, I love all food. I do watch the amounts I eat though, and mostly only have small portions.

Tea or coffee?
I can’t choose. I have at least 3 mugs of each every day.
Pizza or ice cream?
Definitely ice cream! I do like pizza too but not as much as ice-cream.

Wine or beer or soda?
Wine please. Thank you! My round next. I don’t drink soda unless it’s as a mixer, and only have beer mixed with lemonade.

Where would you like to visit?
Australia. I’ve already been twice as my brother lives there. It’s so different from England, but beautiful in its own way. However, travelling there is economically impossible at the moment. The travel insurance for my husband alone was more than two thousand pounds. My second choice is to tour Scotland. I’m a realist!

I want to go to Scotland, too! Of course, it's much farther from Ohio than Lancashire. We need to get a bunch of us together and go! Favorite musical artist. Do you listen to music when you write?
I love listening to Ed Sheeran, but I can’t listen to music and concentrate 
on writing. The words to his songs are just magic!

I love Ed Sheeran's music. What makes you laugh?
Ken Dodd, every time. Shame he died recently. The world has lost a brilliant comedian. Billy Connolly and Peter Kaye also make me laugh. I can also laugh at my own errors. What’s the point of fretting about them! One of my own abstract paintings made me laugh when I turned it around. It was meant to be an eye and lips shown in landscape, but when I looked at it in portrait form it made me giggle. It looks like a couple back to back in old-fashioned bathing suits.

This is an art AND author blog, so I am obliged to ask: Favorite work of art or sculpture.
I’m not sure I have a favourite. I love most art except abstracts like the ones Picasso did.

Describe your perfect evening.
My perfect evening involves dining out with family and friends. It can be an impromptu barbeque or a familiar restaurant, the venue is unimportant, but the company is crucial. I’m equally at home in front of the television watching a movie with my husband of fifty-three years.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Sometimes, writing inspiration comes from dreams, other times it’s a snippet of conversation or a news item. Inspiration is everywhere and I’m often found jotting down ideas that come to me. Turning these ideas into full blown stories is another matter. The inspiration for ‘Tissue of Lies’ came from an article in a magazine. A middle-aged couple were looking for their daughter, missing since she was a baby. All their descriptions fitted me, and I also looked like the mother and her other daughter in the accompanying photos. I began to think - what if that missing baby was me?

What do you do when you 
get a writer's block?
Writer’s block is when you sit prepared to write but the words won’t come. That has never happened to me. My problem is actually sitting down to write. Since my husband retired from work through ill health thirty years ago, I’m rarely on my own. I do have the time to write, but writing is a very insular occupation which doesn’t tolerate bouts of conversation well. I like to immerse myself deeply while writing so have to choose my times carefully. Consequently, I don’t write as often as I would like.                         

Who is your favorite author?
I cut my teeth on Agatha Christie and still enjoy her books. However, there are many modern authors whose books I enjoyed. Harmony Kent, Rebecca Bryn, Grant Leishman, and Elizabeth Grimes Brown to name a few.

Best book you ever read.
I loved the classic, ‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It may be a children’s book, but thoroughly enjoyable at any age.

Last book you read.
I’ve read two books so far this January. Touching the Wire by Rebecca Bryn was the last one. I’m aiming to read two a month this year.

What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer?
I think I would paint. I started painting when I was sixty and I love it as much as writing. I’m completely self-taught so don’t think I could make a living from it, but I do thoroughly enjoy it.

Do you have any other interests or hobbies?
I do! In fact, my husband often calls me his butterfly as I flit from one interest to another, often all in one day. I’m a trained tailoress, but nowadays I like to crochet, cross-stitch, and try my hand at quilting. I’ve only made a couple of quilts. My first effort was this bedspread.

It is beautiful, Carole. Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
It has to be my lovely father. He died aged ninety-seven in 2012 but was always so calm, loving and kind. Lessons taught by him were given by example, talking and gentle persuasion. I’m lucky enough to have a similar type of man in my husband. 

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
I would like a quiet consultation with God! My first question would be ‘why do you allow such suffering in the world’? If the answer he gave was because man brought all this on himself, my second question would be ‘why give man free choice if you’re going to punish him with suffering for choosing the wrong way’? A caring parent wouldn’t do that. I would have so many questions to ask.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
Firstly, you have to be dedicated. Prepare to put the time in and never give up! Secondly, Edit, edit, edit until you’re sick of looking at it. Leave it for a month or two, then edit, edit again.
Thirdly, develop a thick skin. When someone criticizes your work, that’s alright. It’s just their opinion which they are entitled to speak about. Don’t let it offend you. You have to ignore negative comments. Just enjoy the positive comments.

Do you have some links for us to follow you?




My books:

‘Tissue of Lies’-

‘Your Last Breath’ –

The Road from Wian Pier’ –


  1. Thank you for interviewing me. I really enjoyed the experience. I'd love readers to ask me further questions.

  2. Thank for being here with us today, Carole. Come back and see us anytime!
    Gentle readers, anybody have a question for Carole?

  3. So interesting to read about you, Carole.

    1. I also (Twitter) shared this on my Facebook page.

    2. Thank you, Karen! I really enjoyed doing this interview. carol Ann Kauffman has some interesting questions.

  4. Very insightful. Great to get to know my fellow indie colleagues a little better.

    1. I'm pleased you got to know me a little better, Grant. Sometimes we're just names you see regularly on social media, but you have no idea who the person really is. I think I'll be up for a few more of these interviews.

  5. Good one Carole - I certainly envy your painting ability. Stick people is my limit, so I'm impressed with what I've seen of your artwork to date.

    1. Thanks for that lovely compliment about my painting. Completely self-taught, I just do it for pleasure. I'm a great believer in giving things a go. If they don't work out as you planned, it doesn't really matter. At least you've tried. Hmm - what can I have a go at next?

  6. Carole, you can do everything! Writing. Painting. Sewing. Quilting. Drawing. You’re a real Renaissance Woman.

  7. I'm definitely a late developer. Funnily enough, I don't draw well. I just add the paint to the paper without sketching in outlines first.