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Thursday, August 18, 2016

A warm welcome to author Carol Cooper!

Carol Cooper answers Questions from David P Perlmutter.

Amazon link to my latest novel Hampstead Fever (it’s a universal link which goes to the appropriate Amazon site for that territory)

Welcome! Thanks for joining me here.  What should my followers know about you?

Thank you very much for inviting me, David.

I was born in London, not far from where I now live, but there were decades of living here, there, and everywhere. After qualifying as a doctor, I got into health journalism and had columns in titles as varied as The Sun and The Lancet. I then wrote a string of non-fiction books before getting serious about writing fiction. My first novel One Night at the Jacaranda was soon followed by Hampstead Fever, which came out in July.

What inspired you to begin writing? 

A lonely childhood. For years I lived with my mother in a one-room flat, and I would escape to the laundry room downstairs in the company of a large imaginary family. I read a lot, and was soon writing all kinds of stories, including gruesome tales of witches dying as a result of smoking in bed.

Why did you focus on this genre?

Contemporary fiction is what I most enjoy reading, so that makes it the obvious genre for me. My novels are written from multiple points of view, male as well as female. This may stem from the fact that, as a GP, every ten minutes I try to put myself in the shoes of a different patient.

Are you working on any other books?

I’m working on another book featuring some of the same characters from my first two novels.

Okay, here's a challenge. Sum up your current book in TWO sentences.

Hampstead Fever follows the intertwined lives of six Londoners one hot summer as they grapple with relationships, money worries, difficult children, and ailing parents. Emotions rise to boiling point in the heatwave, and each person makes mistakes they shouldn’t be making when pushing forty.

Where can people buy your book?

In bookstores and online via Amazon and other retailers.

What are the 3 words that best describe you?

Witty, caring, loyal.

Tell us about your work, away from writing?

I’m a part-time family doctor in London, and I teach medical students at Imperial College. It’s a real thrill training the doctors of tomorrow. I’m also a journalist for The Sun newspaper, so I write a quick expert comment whenever a health story breaks, be it a radiation spill or a celeb hurting herself as she stumbles out of a nightclub. And I do some TV and radio.

What hobbies do you enjoy?

I enjoy gardening, and of course I love reading, as I’m sure every author tells you. Occasionally, however, doing absolutely nothing seems a pretty good way to spend time…

What would people be most surprised to see on your Kindle or bookshelf?

A big fat Latin dictionary which my mother gave me when I was 12 or 13.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve just started Amna Boheim’s novel The Silent Children. It’s a ghost story, so not the kind of thing I usually read, but it is hauntingly beautiful.

Tell me your 3 favourite authors?

Kate Atkinson, Maggie O’Farrell, and Howard Jacobson.

I love music, and am always interested in the musical tastes of other people. Tell me your 3 favourite songs, if you can?

They would have to be I Am the Walrus by The Beatles, The Lovin’ Spoonful’s Summer in the City, and Marc Anthony’s I Need to Know.

What song best describes your life?

American Pie by Don McLean. I’m not American, but I lived in the USA for many years, and I get the bits of the song that are about nostalgia.

In the story of your life, who would you like to play you?
Meryl Streep. No contest.

Who is the person, living or dead, you would most like to spend a day with?
Charles Dickens. We’d talk about writing, people, and of course London.

Finally, what’s next for you? 

That London novel I mentioned, featuring six main characters. It’ll be followed by a book set in Cambridge. At some point I’ll also write a novel set in Alexandria, where I spent much of my childhood. The story will go back to the mid-1940s and forward to the Arab Spring in 2011. I’m not sure of the plot yet, but I can guarantee there will be plenty of memorable characters. 

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