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An interview with Carol Tetlow, author of the books “Out of Practice” & “Faith Hope and Clarity”

Carol Margaret Tetlow is a fairly recently retired family doctor who now has the time to live life to the full, write, play tennis, walk dogs and train donkeys and ponies. Coming from a medical background, it is no surprise that her novels are based in family medicine. But people love medical matters. So, set against a backdrop of everyday life in a medical centre, add in some good characters, personal dilemmas and a soupcon of romance and hopefully…. what’s not to like?

Out of Practice tells the story of one of the doctors and how she has to cope when her professional and personal lives fall apart simultaneously.

Faith Hope and Clarity tells the story of another of the doctors, an insecure woman who copes with life’s ups and downs by comfort eating and how she finds out who her real friends are.

What is your preferred genre?

My writing is commercial women’s fiction though I’ve had some very good reviews from male readers. From a reading point of view, I enjoy the same genre but also thrillers and detective novels. There is also something special about a book that makes me laugh out loud.

How many books have you written? If more than one, are any a series… or trilogy?

I’ve written a series of five books, Out of Practice and Faith Hope and Clarity are the first two in the series, all based at the same medical centre, with the same characters. I have also written two stand alone novels and am putting the finishing touches to my current novel which is not medical.

Do you have plans for a new book?

My latest novel, which is almost completed is a move away from the medical backdrop. Instead, I’ve set it in a tennis club. Since I retired, I’ve taken up tennis again (after many years) and have stumbled across a wealth of characters who are begging to be written about. This novel started out as a story for my sister, who was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. I sent her an instalment every week, to keep her entertained.

Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants?

Usually I start off with a plot but then the characters take over as they develop. In my current novel, I had no idea whatsoever when I started where it was going to go and it turned into a huge adventure for me.

Did you have an editor edit your books?

I have a wonderful friend, Helen who deserves a very special mention. She proof reads and copy edits part time on a freelance basis and she has been a continual support and help to me since I started writing seriously in about 2007. If you’re reading this Helen, thank you, as always.

Who designed the cover of your book?

Editions Dedicaces – and I was thrilled. I couldn’t have hoped for better.

Do you find yourself intrigued by the cover of a book enough to buy it?

Frequently, with mixed results. I’m sure we’ve all bought books on the strength of the cover and been disappointed sometimes.

Do you ever write in your PJ’s?

It has been known! Occasionally I do have to get up in the middle of the night to write, when I’m at a crucial point in the plot. I’ve also been found writing in my tennis gear but usually it’s jeans and a jumper. It’s also been known for me to have a hot water bottle on my knees in the winter, when I can’t persuade the cat to sit on me and keep me warm…

Cats or dogs?

Both please and also some donkeys and ponies. If push came to shove, then I’d have to say dogs and that’s not because there are four of them gazing at me as I’m writing as it’s nearly their supper time.

How many hours per day do you try to devote to research and writing?

When I’m writing a novel, I like to try to be strict and write every day. At least a thousand words, though of course there are some days when it takes hours to string two sentences together and other days when I can write three thousand words without realising that I’ve done it. Occasionally there are days when it’s impossible to write anything and then it’s best to get up and walk away from it and try again later.

Sleep in or get up early?

I am a lark. This dates back to my doctoring days, I’m sure as I’d have left the house by 0630 every day. Now I still like to get up early. There’s something special about that time of day, especially when it’s light. It’s so peaceful and quiet and there’s nothing like that first cup of tea of the day.

Laptop or desktop for writing?

Laptop every time. It can move to where I want to be. I’ve worn one out and have just bought a fabulous new one.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?

My favourite place is at the kitchen table (easy access to the kettle) and I like to write best late mornings and afternoons, once all the routine jobs (housework, shopping, dog walking) are done so I can concentrate

One of your favorite quotes –

Nil illegitimi carborundum – (don’t let the bastards grind you down). My senior partner at work used to say this to me repeatedly when I was having a bad time and getting stressed out. It is, of course, easier said than done.

Where can your readers stalk you?

Book links:

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview and allowing us a glimpse into your writing world. We hope you share this interview with your friends so we can all get to know you a little better.

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