Guest post: A Lifetime of Books by Carole Matthews

22 May

It’s my pleasure to welcome the lovely Carole Matthews back to One More Page today to tell us about her ‘Lifetime of Books’. Read on to find out all about Carole’s ‘Snuggly Buggly’ and the books she loves. Carole’s latest novel (her twentieth!) Summer Daydreams is out in paperback on Thursday and is based on the story of handbag designer Helen Rochfort. It’s a wonderful warm summer read and I’ll have a full review for you later in the week. Welcome Carole!

Those of you who follow me on Facebook or Twitter will know that I’m an avid reader. It astonishes me the amount of writers who say that, now they’re writing, they just don’t find the time to read anymore. Tragic! I’m the opposite. Even when I’m in full flow and right into my book, I have to be reading one too. People ask me if reading other people’s books while I’m writing influences the way I write. I wish! That way I’d be banging out wildly successful worldwide bestsellers like Harry Potter and living in a villa in the Bahamas instead of the Costa del Milton Keynes. As it it, I think I’m pretty much stuck with the way I do things. Which, to be honest, hasn’t been too much of a disappointment.

My love of books started at a very young age. As an only child – and a very shy one at that – I always had my nose stuck firmly in a book. At primary school, I kept getting sent home with the same book time and time again as they couldn’t believe how quickly I could read them. Eventually, my mum had to step in and buy the school some books as I’d exhausted their supply.

And so it continued. Black Beauty, Jane Eyre and Little Women kept me entertained in my first decade. Oh, how I wish we’d had Jaqueline Wilson then!

Throughout my teen years, I read pretty much anything I could get my hands on. Which meant a diet of Jackie Collins, Sidney Sheldon and Harold Robbins. I didn’t always understand what I was reading, but I knew that I liked it! I’m sure that’s what started my lifelong attraction to bad boys.

I went through my Mills & Boon phase and read a couple of books a day when I could. Then as my love life became as disastrous as any of the Mills & Boon heroines – except I very rarely Got My Man. I moved on to Stephen King, Dean Koontz and James Herbert to keep me company during lonely nights. Not ideal bedtime reading if you’re living alone.

When I worked as a beauty therapist – in a former life – I had a book group before book groups were invented.  I used to swap books  with my clients and we used to get together to talk about them. Introduced to other authors, my tastes became more eclectic.  The only thing I never touch are autobiographies. Have only read a handful in my life and found they bored me to tears.

My tastes also run very much more towards the popular rather than the literary. I’d rather have someone make me laugh any day rather than try to impress me with convoluted sentences and ‘worthy’ thoughts.  I like my reading to entertain me. That’s probably why I’ve ended up writing romantic comedy novels.

Today, my reading material is still wide and varied. And I’m as happy using a Kindle as I am delving into a ‘real’ book.  I could wax lyrical about how fabulous e-readers are to take on holiday! No more choosing between books and shoes! Hurrah. For my recent holiday I took over thirty books to choose from on my Kindle. What a treat. All that matters is that I’m reading. Everyday someone blogs about a book that I think, ‘I must have that!’ Currently my to-be-read pile is about 450 books strong.

I would like to go back and read some of the classics I read as a child or studied at school: Alice in Wonderland, Great Expectations, Lord of the Flies. Though I’m not sure that anything will persuade me to revisit D H Lawrence. I was scarred by my A Level study of The Rainbow. I had no idea that it was possible to write a book so dull.  But I might try it again one day. You never know, I might feel differently about it now. I think that revisiting the Classic will, however,  have to be my Retirement Project as there are too many great contemporary books that I want to read.

Last year we were lucky enough to have an extension built on our house and created a small library area – christened ‘Snuggly-Buggly.’ For the first time in my life my books are all set out for me (apart from those few hundred that are in boxes in the loft, of course!).  I’m a terrible sleeper and I’m often in there in the wee small hours. I’ve got my telly (Come Dine with Me is always on, no matter what the hour), a fan heater, a blanky and all of my books around me. Curling up with a book at three in the morning, when there’s no one else around – absolute bliss!

Thanks Carole – I am very jealous of your ‘snuggly-buggly!

You can find out more about Carole and her books and download an extract of Summer Daydreams on her website at:

To celebrate the publication of Summer Daydreams, Carole’s publisher, Little, Brown Book Group is running a brilliant competition to design your own handbag. The winner will have their design made into a real handbag by Helen Rochfort’s team! Full details of how to enter can be found at:

11 Responses to “Guest post: A Lifetime of Books by Carole Matthews”

  1. Carole Matthews 22nd May 2012 at 8:21 am #

    Thanks, Amanda! Everyone should have a Snuggly Buggly!!
    C : ) xx

    • Amanda 23rd May 2012 at 5:48 am #

      Thanks Carole – I’m wondering where I can squeeze one in! :) x

  2. nikki hilton 22nd May 2012 at 11:23 am #

    when can i come over- for tea, cupcakes (i’m bringing) and a read with you? :) xo

  3. Kevin Loh 22nd May 2012 at 11:51 am #

    OMG. I LOVE THE SNUGGLY BUGGLY! Lovely post, Amanda and credits to Carole! x

    • Amanda 23rd May 2012 at 5:46 am #

      Thanks Kevin x

  4. Novelicious Kirsty 22nd May 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    Brill post! Loving the snuggly-buggly xx

    • Amanda 23rd May 2012 at 5:45 am #

      Thanks Kirsty :) a snuggly-buggly is now top of my wish list! x

  5. liz fenwick 23rd May 2012 at 7:21 am #

    carole – lol about DH Lawrence! Soooo jealous of your library aka snuggly buggly!


  6. Lizzie Lamb 23rd May 2012 at 7:30 am #

    Now I want one of those. I’ve been thinking o getting rid of most of my books to make way for writing files etc. just changed my mind. Thanks Amanda and Carole.

  7. Christina Duke 24th May 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    I read ‘The Rainbow’ for A level Eng Lit as well. Enough said, won’t touch DH Lawrence now!

  8. Jess Hearts Books 27th May 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    I agree I totally want a snuggly-buggly! I love being nosy on other people’s reading so this post was right up my street! Looking forward to Summer Daydreams it’s on my wishlist :)

Leave a Reply