Author Interview: Carol Mason

We're so excited that author Carol Mason is joining us today! She has written three novels, The Love Market, Send Me A Lover, and The Secrets of Married Women, which are all bestsellers in Canada. They are published in more than thirteen countries and available in more than nine languages.
When did you start writing? What do you love about it?

I always wrote in my imagination – lines of dialogue between imaginary people were always running through my young head. I always thought I would write. Maybe because I had zero interest in anything but English Lit in school. But I didn’t start properly writing until I was in my mid-twenties. I wrote two Mills & Boons because I used to read my grandmother’s stash of them when I was about twelve years old, and I somehow thought they were simple (in other words, rather silly) little stories that would be easy to write, and easy to get published. But I was wrong! Turns out, no one wanted my two attempts at getting published the quick and dirty route! Then, my computer got stolen, and I hadn’t backed my work up. I took that as a sign and gave up. 
I ultimately came back to writing about five years later mainly because I really didn’t care for my advertising copywriter job, and I needed an excuse to get out of it. Plus, I always hated the fact that I had quit. I had proven I could write books. I just hadn’t proven they were any good. But maybe I could work on that? I was under the delusion that I would write a book in a year and get it published – a contemporary women’s fiction book a little like the ones I was reading by Marian Keyes, Emily Giffin, etc. It took three books and three years before my agent sold The Secrets of Married Women to Hodder & Stoughton. But I had done it! I was living proof that if you worked at something and believed, then it could happen if you were smart about it and you wrote from your heart.  

I write because nothing makes me happier. Quite literally. The sense of accomplishment when I finish a book that I actually still love – or have learned to love again after rather hating the process at times – is so great that it almost brings me to tears. Same as the excitement you feel when you land on a new idea and you start out with it.

Describe your typical day/writing routine when you're working on a novel.

I work full time at this. I treat writing like an office job (most of the time). I walk my dog in the morning, then try to get two productive hours in before a quick lunch break. I write after lunch – though between 1:30 and 3:30 I seem to become slow of finger and dull of head. Then, I pep up again and write furiously from around 4-5pm. After dinner – if there is no show on TV with men that I have crushes on, especially The Firm with Callum Keith Rennie (don’t ask me why) – I go back up to my computer and edit my day’s work.

Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?
Everywhere. Very often from articles I read – like in the case of The Love Market. I read about a mountain village square in Sapa, Vietnam where lovers went to rendezvous secretly, or to find their life’s love, and it inspired my book about a modern day professional matchmaker who is recently divorced and unsure if she has made the right decision. Then, just to complicate things, her first love mysteriously comes back into her life – a Canadian journalist she met while backpacking around the world when she was nineteen. They met in the Sapa Love Market. 

Send Me A Lover was inspired by something my husband said to me – something I thought was very sweet. He said that if he died before I did, he would do his best to send me my next love. He said he knew me so well that he would work in his own special post-grave way, to find someone who would be just right for me. I thought, WOW! There’s a great novel idea! And then with The Secrets of Married Women, I just wanted to write about an affair – but in a way that is a little different to other books about infidelity.

Are there messages or lessons you hope readers will take away from your novels?

Not really messages and lessons as such. But I hope my books do more than just crack a few smiles and entertain someone for two hours. I hope they’re not instantly forgettable. Maybe common themes in my books might speak to people  -- that we should all try to be happy with what we have. We should try to do the right thing by others. We should accept that everything happens for a reason. We should remember that even when things are really bad, they don’t go on being bad. There is always an upside in life. We can always turn negative things around and find a way to be positive again.

Tell us why your novels were recently re-released as eBooks. Are they still available in paperback as well?

My novels are all published in paperback in varying countries – but they’re not always on the shelf when people go to a bookstore and want to buy them. Given that eReaders have become so popular, it made sense to introduce eBooks that are available for great prices – maybe to encourage more people to discover the enjoyment of getting lost in a great story. Plus, there should be some benefit to readers when publishers no longer have to pay vast production costs to bring a book to a store’s shelf. So, my books are on Amazon for $2.99. And unlike my print books, they are always available!

You've decided to donate 50% of eBook proceeds to a breast cancer foundation during the month of March. Tell us why you decided to do that and how readers can be sure their purchases are included in the donation.

I think what goes around comes around. And while I am not about to go run a marathon to support a charitable cause – mainly because I’m a) lazy and b) can only run a block before I need an ambulance - this is something that I can do quite easily. If you can buy a book for less than the cost of a latte, and a portion of that purchase will go to a good cause, surely that makes a person feel good? It certainly makes me feel good to be able to do it. And breast cancer is a cause close to every women’s heart.

If you want to give your support, you just have to go onto Amazon and buy The Love Market, Send Me A Lover, and/or The Secrets of Married Women. Then, email me through my website with proof of purchase. My website also gives more details. Remember they’re only $2.99, and I will give 50% of my net proceeds from sales to breast cancer for the entire month of March.

When will your new novel, The Art of Letting Go, be published? What is it about?

It should come out this year, hopefully. This one is about two parallel love stories – one in 1960’s London and the other in Seattle in the modern day, and how they intersect when an elderly lady visits a Seattle art gallery and has an unusual reaction to a painting by Andrew Wyeth.

What are you working on now?
I had started a new novel, but then 20,000 words into it, I had another idea that excited me so much that it just called to me to abandon the other one, and begin this one! So, that’s what I’m doing. I’m mulling over the plot and taking the first steps to getting something down on paper. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for having me!  

Thanks for answering our questions, Carol!