dogs in the beautiful Kent countryside where they brought up their three
children. She enjoys activities which can be shared with family and friends
walking, cycling and skiing.
Cooper, Karen continues to adore great stories and writers. She attributes her
passion for writing to three Ps – People, Places and Property. Her career
allowed her to indulge in them all, providing useful material for her debut
novel, The Vineyard.
the idea for your book and how long did it take you to write?
and the Riviera and imagining how lovely it would be to live there, but I
didn’t want my main character to inherit a vineyard in France. That would have
been too easy for her. I wanted her to be a completely independent single mum
who was inspirational, creative and determined to provide for her child. It
took me ten months to write altogether if I count the time actually writing and
editing but it was in my head for about ten years.
decide on that particular location?
because Provence is stunning and I would love to own my own vineyard there.
has a cosmopolitan and glamorous appeal, not only for my character but also to
readers. I know I would want to escape there in a book. I actually used Meopham, my home village in Kent, as my setting. It has a vineyard, it’s beautiful and one of my favourite walks goes down through a lovely valley.
carry out your research?I used the information I gathered whilst
in Provence and revisited Cannes staying in the apartment which became Lizzie’s
home. It was perfect because it was located within a community rather than the
touristy areas. I also did a week-long Wine Growers course at Plumpton College
in Sussex. The Internet too is an invaluable research tool; if there is anything
it can’t answer, it will lead you to the experts that can.
learn your craft?
been writing on and off, starting novels or short stories but never really sending
anything out. I completed a BSc Hons majoring in Psychology with literature
because there were very few creative writing courses around at that time but I
subscribed to Writing Magazines and read books on writing. There are so many
more nowadays. However, in the last two years I’ve been much more focused on my
writing, joining the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme (NWS) and
a novel class at The Write Place Creative Writing School, both of which have
been invaluable. My weekly class improved my skills and motivation and the
critiques I received from the NWS guided me to the professional standards I needed
to attain. Both have been huge contributors to my writing confidence too; the
helpfulness and friendliness of fellow writers has made learning my craft a
was turned into a film who would you like to play the main characters?
Brown-Findlay or Emily Blunt as Lizzie, Jude Law as Cal, Sheridan Smith as
Sophie and Emma Thompson as Lizzie’s mother Caroline.
us something about your next book?
next book is set both in London and, the beautiful Lake Geneva, the Swiss
Riviera. Gina is fascinated by the Chateau de Chillon and its past haunting
inhabitants. As she discovers more from one in particular, her life begins a
path she could never have imagined.
take part in Desert Island Discs what would be your choice of book?
would probably take the largest notebook
I could to write in and write as small as I could because I wouldn’t know how
long I would be there. But I know that’s not the point. I think it would have
to be Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen provided the best template for women
writers and it never fails to entertain as well as teach me
Thank you for sharing with us today, Karen
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