New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post and International #1 Bestselling Author. Short-listed by the International Thriller Awards for best ebook 2017 and the Killer Nashville Best Police Procedural 2018. Over a million books sold.
Caroline originates from Ireland and now lives with her family in a village on the coast of Essex. A former police detective, she has worked in CID and specialized in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high-risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. She now writes full time.
Caroline writes psychological and crime thrillers. The most recent, Silent Victim reached No.1 in the Amazon charts in the UK, USA and Australia and was the winner of the Reader’s Favorite Awards in the psychological thriller category. It has been described as ‘brilliantly gripping and deliciously creepy’.
Sign up to her newsletter for a free short story here: http://eepurl.com/IxsTj
1) When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most?
I first got into writing after a traumatic event, when I felt compelled to share my story. I wrote and self published a book called Paranormal Intruder, outlining my personal experiences with the paranormal when I was in the police. After I finished it, there was a void, and I decided to keep writing. They say ‘write what you know’ so I wrote my first fiction novel about a police detective who has experiences with the paranormal. I got signed by a publisher and it went from there. Now, I write regular crime novels as well as twisty stand alone thrillers. I love getting lost in a book, and the escapism that comes with it. In my books, my detectives aren’t bound by red tape like I was in the police. Things get done a lot quicker, too!
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
I’ve published thirteen novels now. They are a mixture of police procedurals and stand alone psychological thrillers. I call it creepy crime. You can find me on Amazon, or on my website http://www.carolinemitchellauthor.com I also have a true crime Youtube channel which I run as a hobby on the side: www.youtube.com/c/carolinemitchell
3) What projects are you currently working on?
I’m writing a stand alone psychological thriller called ‘Gone’ about a family who disappear into thin air. The manuscript deadline is in a couple of weeks so I’m busy getting the ending just right. The next book in my DI Amy Winter series launches in April this year and I’m excited about that too. I’m also working on another manuscript for future publication and running my true crime Youtube channel too.
4) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
One of the highlights of my career was when I was short-listed for the International Thriller Awards in New York for my psychological thriller, Witness. I got chatting to George R.R.Martin who was at a nearby table, and got Lee Child to take a photo of us. That was a real ‘pinch me’ moment. I’ve had countless highlights that I’m so grateful for. Surpassing a million book sales was another one, I’m so grateful to the readers who have made my dreams a reality. I hope to keep writing, keep growing my readership worldwide too. It’s a real thrill to see my books translated into different languages.
5) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career?
You have to grow a very thick skin and have a lot of self-belief. I am a follower of the law of attraction. Being grateful is a huge part of that. Look at your successes, however small, rather than focusing on perceived failures.
6) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel?
Yes I’m a plotter for sure. I use different methods, depending on how I’m feeling about the novel. Sometimes I use sticky post-it’s on a white magnetic board with each chapter outlined. It’s handy as it’s easy to move around or change. Scrivener is a great online tool with an online corkboard. Excel is a simple way of outlining. It’s important for me not to set things in stone though, my characters often dictate where the story goes and things can change. Currently, I’m taking nine months to write a book but early in my career, I worked very long hours and published three books a year. Anything is possible if you can sacrifice the time and keep motivated. I think six to nine months for a first draft is ample, with lots of editing time on top.
7) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
It’s never too late, as long as you’re willing to improve. I find the writers who get stuck are those who aren’t willing to listen to advice. A bad writer thinks they are perfect. Good writers are willing to learn. You should never stop honing your craft. Sure, it may sting to receive critique when you’re not used to it, but as long as the source of that critique knows what they’re talking about then you should listen. Having said that, I never joined writing groups as there are so many differing opinions, I work with editors who are proven in the field. The industry is open to everyone as long as you’re prepared to work for it. I was forty five when I published my first fiction novel, it certainly didn’t do me any harm.
8) What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally and moved you? Who is your favorite author? What book are you currently reading?
Stephen King is my go-to author. I am in awe of his characterization. I’m currently re-reading Needful Things. I have it on audio book and he narrates it himself. You can’t get better than that. As for a book that touched me, it’s The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne. A beautiful book.
9) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work? Do you ever just sit down and curl up with your own book?
I enjoy reading my manuscript when it’s a work in progress but once it’s published, I don’t return to it. I know that my writing has improved since my early work, so I would cringe if I caught a grammar error. I sometimes get emails from readers asking questions about storylines. It sounds terrible, but if a book is over a year old, I have a hard time remembering all of it. The characters live in my head when I’m writing and I know everything about them, but they vacate when I start a new book.
10) What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry is drastically changing?
Such industries will always change, it’s the nature of the beast. Work with good people. Make allies, it’s a hugely competitive field. Keep on top of your game and always be one step ahead. Learn the industry from the inside out. I self published my first book and it gave me a much better understanding of how it all works. People ask me what the ‘key’ is. But there is no key or magic secret, other than hard work. The people who are prepared to roll up their sleeves are the ones who will make it, rather than those looking for an easy way in. Sounds harsh, but it’s true. It’s not enough just to write. You have to treat it like a business too.
11) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
I’m an ex-police detective so I enjoy being able to inject authenticity into my books that way. I’ve always been a day dreamer, my old school reports testify to that. I love spending time in a world where anything can happen. That’s my purpose, I guess. Getting lost in the magic of writing is most fulfilling for me.