Colette Caddle was always an avid reader, and came to writing late in life after a chequered career that included computer programming and marketing insurance products.
‘I have an old school friend who assures me I always wanted to write. I have no recollection of that but as her memory is much better than mine, I believe her. I do remember writing poetry at 16/17, that English class was always my favourite and that , thanks to a wonderful teacher, Shakespeare began to make sense, I appreciated Austen’s comedic talents and I came to love her hero, Patrick Kavanagh.
I adored reading and loved to write essays but choosing writing as a career would never have occurred to me.’
It was only as a result of disillusionment in her job that she finally took up a pen. She sent off a few chapters of her first book, Too Little, Too Late, to Poolbeg Publishers and was offered a three-book contract on the back of it. That first book went to number one and Colette subsequently secured a contract in the UK. She has now produced eleven bestselling novels .
Colette lives in north county Dublin with her husband and two sons and when she ‘s not working, she balances the solitary life of a full time writer chatting on Face Book and Twitter with other authors, fans and old school friends.
Colette’s books are available throughout Ireland, the UK and commonwealth countries and have been translated into Dutch, German, Polish, Estonian, Turkish and Russian.
So were was the best place to catch up with Colette? Twitter of course!
We asked Colette (in 140 characters or less!):
You are a very successful women’s fiction writer, now with Simon and Schuster, when did u start writing & what made you put pen 2 paper?
I started about 13 years ago. I was bored in my job, read lots and after reading a bad book thought ‘I can do better than that!’
So how did you start that first story? Did you have an idea for a character or the start of a plot?
Always wanted to run a restaurant; set the book in one to keep me focused. Protagonist works in one & gets opp. to buy out boss!
Did you plot out the whole story the first time or just start and see where it took you?
No! had vague idea of where it might go but allowed it to evolve naturally; characters took over & the ending surprised even me!
How much of the story do you start with? Just an opening scene, or an idea of where you want to go at the end?
I start with a background, a very small cast & a dilemma for them to deal with. Then I just sit back & wait to see what unfolds
Do you have a constant stream of ideas and characters that you can draw on for each book or do u start with a blank canvas each time?
I get ideas for characters at times, but no, each book is a clean page. I may contrive to work in a favourite character though
Did that first book have many redrafts before your submitted? How did you know you were finished?
Editor, Kate Cruise O’Brien, loved first chapters. We worked on it together from then, sadly she died & I had to finish it alone
How many books have you written now? Do you have the same close relationship with your current editor?
11! I am lucky to have not one but two excellent editors that I can rely on to tell me straight when I’m going off the rails!
Would you recommend that unpublished writers work with a freelance editor to get their books to the best poss standard b4 submitting?
It would be ideal. Even a strong, objective friend who reads that genre & can be honest but not demotivating would be advantage
How long does it take for you to write a book from the first word to the last & do you take time out as you write or go straight through?
5-6 months. I start enthusiastically, slow towards the middle, have a re-think and then work at a ferocious pace till the end !!
When you have written 11 best sellers, what keeps you motivated?
It’s my job & puts food on the table but now I write because I cannot imagine NOT! Would also like to write screenplays some day.
©Vanessa O’Loughlin writing.ie