Sunday, 11 February 2018

The Hippo Hangs Out . . . . with Carmen Radtke/Caron Albright

Last year I was on the blog tour for a wonderful historical fiction/crime book called The Case of the Missing Bride by Carmen Radtke (you will find my review here) and I’m delighted to welcome her back to The Hippo today to have a natter about all things bookish and some things not!

Carmen also writes under the name of Caron Albright (you can find out more about that below)

Photo courtesy of Carmen Radtke

Caron Albright fell in love with books as soon as she could read and never grew out of it. With one foot firmly planted in Fictionland ever since, she is moving from one adventure to the next (strictly on the paper of course).

She loves capers with feisty heroines, dashing heroes with a dangerous edge and thrilling locations and would gladly explore the world for the sake of research - preferably while tap-dancing, with a champagne glass in her hand.

Instead she spends her time in front of her keyboard, sipping herbal tea.

When she feels the need for a change, she switches to coffee and writing crime novels under the name Carmen Radtke.

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 A Matter of Love and Death was published in November by Bombshell Books.


Adelaide, 1931. Telephone switchboard operator Frances' life is difficult as sole provider for her mother and adopted uncle. But it's thrown into turmoil when she overhears a suspicious conversation on the phone, planning a murder.

If a life is at risk, she should tell the police; but that would mean breaking her confidentiality clause and would cost her the job. And practical Frances, not prone to flights of fancy, soon begins to doubt the evidence of her own ears - it was a very bad line, after all...

She decides to put it behind her, a task helped by the arrival of their new lodger, Phil. Phil takes her to a nightclub, where she meets charming but slightly dangerous club owner Jack. Jack's no angel - prohibition is in force, and what's a nightclub without champagne? But he's a good man, and when Frances' earlier fears resurface she knows that he's the person to confide in.

Frances and Jack's hunt for the truth put them in grave danger, and soon enough Frances will learn that some things are a matter of love and death...

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What book/books made you cry and why?
Many! I can’t bear to read about an animal dying.. But human suffering can do it too. Southern Discomfort by Rita Mae Brown is one such book. It’s wise, witty, acerbic and utterly moving, but I dare anyone not to shed a tear for a young man whose skin colour seals his fate.

I’d never heard of this book Carmen, so thank you for bringing it to my attention. It sounds like something I’d enjoy reading.


Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
My publisher suggested a pen name for my latest novel because it was for their women’s fiction imprint, and thus Caron Albright was born. Finding a name that wasn’t already taken was actually hard!
What other authors are you friends with and how do they help you become a better writer?
I belong to a Facebook group called Bang2writers which is invaluable for moral support, cheerleading, sharing information and peer review. Its founder, Lucy V Hay, is definitely the hostess with the mostest.

What’s your favourite motivational phrase?
First get it written, then get it right. This sentence helped me finish my first novel when I spent hours agonising over a paragraph because what had sounded perfect in my head at 3am, read nothing like that once put on the page.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing etc come from?
I don’t know. I taught myself to read before I started school, because when my father came home from work, he’d pick up the newspaper before he had time for me. I wanted to find out what was so much more interesting than me, Once I could read I never stopped.

What do you think is more important: characters or plot?
Definitely characters. They drive the story. I also believe that setting is a character too – some stories can only happen in certain places, and it also sets the mood.

Which literary character is most like you?
As much as I would love to be as beautiful, sophisticated and deadly as The Hon. Phryne Fisher, or as charming and witty as Juliet Ashton (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society) I’m afraid I have a certain mental resemblance to Shaw’s Professor Higgins. I can be a stickler when it comes to the correct use of language (as my poor mother would attest), I’m prone to getting side-tracked by any fact that interests me, and I might lecture about it until glazed eyes give me a subtle hint that I’d better stop now.

If a genie granted you three wishes what would they be?
Unlimited travel, good health for everyone I care about, and decent politicians who remember the roots of that word.

You can find out more about Carmen, her books and connect with her using the links below:

I'd like to thank Carmen for stopping by today and taking the time to answer my questions. It's been great fun getting to know you better.



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