Saturday, 11 March 2017

Back Catalogue Books - Q&A with Christie Barlow

Back Catalogue Books is my new regular Saturday feature, focusing on books that are not the latest releases. There is going to be a mix of Q&As and also reviews, depending on what I have the space for. 

If you are an author wanting to take part in Back Catalogue Books then please do email on gilbster at gmail dot com and I'll whizz the questions over to you. 

I hope everyone enjoys this weekly look back at some of the slightly older books that are about but still great, and that I eventually make a dent in my TBRs as a result of it!

Christie Barlow (right) & Me!
Over the past year, I have met the lovely Christie Barlow at quite a few author/blogger meet ups, and I am so happy to be able to introduce her to you all today, and share her past wonderful books with you all. 

Please tell me about your first book, and what started you writing in the first place.

My writing career came as a surprise! Once hitting my mid-life crisis after wholly dedicating my life to the care of my children, my son who was choosing his career options at school asked me what I wanted to do with my life. “I’ve always wanted to write a book,” I found myself answering. And so, the idea was born. I knew I had to follow through with my statement. But the dilemma was, what would I write about? There is an old adage that says ‘write what you know’, and I certainly know how to be a mother. Hence the idea for A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother was born. I self- published the novel and was astounded to see it climb the charts. It soon became the talk of the town and within six months it had become a bestseller in the UK and USA. I landed a publication deal and am now a full-time writer! My journey has been incredible. It’s like a dream!

How many books have you written and what are they?

I have written five books so far! A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother and The Misadventures of a Playground Mother (these are feel-good comedies about life at the school gates). Kitty’s Countryside Dream (a feel-good romantic comedy about life, love and family), Lizzie’s Christmas Escape (a sparkling Christmas romance) and Evie’s Year of Taking Chances which is due to be released March 2017.

Which book are you most proud of writing?

I pondered for a second on this question but soon realized all of them! I never in a million years thought I would be capable of writing one book and now I’ve just started to write my sixth!

Which book was your favourite to write?

My favourite book that I’ve written so far is Kitty’s Countryside Dream. The main character Kitty Lewis inherits Bluebell Lodge from a grandmother she never knew she had and just as she is beginning to find her feet at the Lodge she discovers a long-hidden diary by a mysterious character Violet Porter. This book is full of such warmth, friendship, humour and genuinely loveable characters. 

Who are your favourite characters from your books and why?

I have so many! In my first two playground books, the characters Penelope and Rupert Kensington were so off-the-wall and whacky that they were absolutely fun to write about. When I finished writing Kitty’s Countryside Dream, I felt bereft leaving Kitty Lewis and Tom Drew behind. I totally fell in love with them. Then there is Lizzie Stevens and Ann Sandeman in Lizzie’s Christmas Escape, their tale of genuine friendship is one I can absolutely relate to.

Which of your covers is your favourite and why?

When I first saw the cover for Kitty’s Countryside Dream I gasped! It oozed such warmth! I thought it was utterly gorgeous and of course it features a chicken! This story would have never been written if it wasn’t for a local farmer selling me my first chicken over nine years ago. It was my feathered friends who provided that little spark of inspiration for this story.

Have you ever thought of changing genres?

I have an idea for a psychological thriller which I hope to write one day. I can really appreciate the research that goes into writing a believable thriller – so it presents a challenge for me that I want to explore. I already have the idea…so that’s a start!

Looking forward can you let us know what you are working on next?

I’m currently writing book 6 which is due for release September 2017 by Harper Impulse. I don’t want to give much away except that it features narrowboats and an old picture house. I’m loving writing every second of it and I hope you love it too!

I dare not ask for a favourite author but is there any author’s back catalogue you admire and why?

Immediately one author springs to mind and that has got to be Enid Blyton. Five on a Treasure Island has stayed with me from the age of seven when I can remember sitting on an old trunk in my bedroom and not moving all day until I’d finished it. The marvellous characters and the adventures of the Famous Five I will never forget and I have introduced my children to this series. All of her books in her back catalogue are absolute classics and every child should have the opportunity to read them, they are truly fantastic.

Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about your back catalogue of books?

The past two years have been truly amazing in the land of books and that is down to all the lovely readers, bloggers, friends and family. I absolutely appreciate that they have chosen my books to read and all the kind words and messages they send me. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be doing the job I love, so thank you. If you enjoyed any of my books I would be forever grateful if you’d write a review. Your recommendations can always help others to discover my books.

Thank you so much Christie, I love the sound of the Harper Impulse book, and I completely agree with you about the Kitty's Countryside Dream cover, it's definitely my favourite of your covers so far.

About Christie Barlow

Christie Barlow is the author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother, Kitty's Countryside Dream and Lizzie's Christmas Escape. She lives in Staffordshire with her husband, four kids, horses, chickens and a mad cocker spaniel. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK and USA. 

Christie loves to hear from her readers and you can get in touch via her website Twitter @ChristieJBarlow and Facebook page Christie Barlow author

Christie Barlow on Amazon

Evie's Year of Taking Chances

Amazon UK
It’s Evie’s birthday and the start of a year she’ll never forget. An emotional story of love, friendship and grabbing life by the horns.

Evie’s job has always been her safe haven. As a librarian in the little town of Becton she loses herself in books - after all it’s far easier to read about other people’s problems than set about solving her own.

Then, one birthday, everything is turned upside down. A mysterious parcel containing a beautiful book with a poignant inscription arrives for Evie. It’s the beginning of a new chapter for Evie and she’s inspired to try and find her real mother. 

Evie’s search leads her to meet handsome author Noah Jones. Charming and intelligent, Noah seems the perfect catch but what Evie doesn’t realise is that he is hiding something – a key to Evie’s past. 

As Evie gets closer to Noah and discovering her mother, she must take a giant leap of faith. Can she embrace the new and make this her year of taking chances? And if she does, will she get her heart broken? 

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