Interview With An Author: B.M. Carroll
When did you first develop a passion for writing?
I was one of those kids who would over-deliver when asked to write a one-page narrative at school … I always needed a second (and sometimes a third) exercise book to cater for my efforts in English each year. As a teen, I had a secret ambition to write a book but never admitted it aloud. I imagined it would a singular book (I didn’t realise that writing books is addictive).
What influenced your decision to leave your career in finance to pursue writing?
I was very fortunate that my first novel, Executive Affair, was picked up by a publisher quite quickly and I was offered a three-book deal. I remember being beside myself with happiness when the offer came through. The only problem was, I didn’t have the time to write two more books (I had a very demanding job plus a newborn baby). So, I resigned and here I am, eight novels later …
What inspired you to write The Missing Pieces of Sophie McCarthy?
This is tricky to answer because I don’t want to give anything away. I CAN say that the main inspiration occurred when someone I know was quite badly injured due to the carelessness of someone else. Her life was severely impacted – her career, her health, her relationships – while the person responsible got to walk away unscathed. It struck me as being very unfair. And it also got me thinking about scenarios when saying sorry seems inadequate. When someone could be forgiven for wanting to take revenge.
Why did you choose to write this novel under the name B.M. Carroll?
The novel felt different, right from the very first page I wrote – there was more at stake, a higher level of suspense, a degree of suspicion about Sophie’s motives – and I wanted to herald the fact that this was a different genre to my other work.
To what extent did your background influence The Missing Pieces of Sophie McCarthy?
I drew quite heavily on my old corporate life. I’ve worked with some difficult people in my day and I wanted to explore the lines between what is a hard taskmaster versus a plain bully. Between persistence (someone who will stop at nothing to get the job done) and harassment.
What is your writing process?
My writing process is chaotic and I completely blame my children for this. I write around household chores, school drop off and pick-up, sporting commitments and a million other distractions. I wish it were more glamourous (or at least more structured!).
What advice would you give to emerging writers?
Writing a book is hard work, and getting the book published is harder again. Expect some ups and downs and hard graft. Don’t be too disheartened with rejections. All authors are rejected at some point or other. The survivors dust themselves off … and get back to work.
Emily Pullen, WHSmith Australia
Content supplied with the assistance of Penguin Books Australia