Saturday, 24 March 2018

The Hippo Hangs Out . . . . with Colette Kebell

I’ve been looking forward to chatting to Colette Kebell and I’m so pleased that the day has finally arrived that we get to sit down and have a good old natter!

Let me start by introducing you all to the lovely lady herself.

Photo courtesy of Colette Kebell

Colette Kebell is an author of Chicklit, though a relatively new one and thus far has self-published her books. Her books are light-hearted, fun and quirky and even considered by some to be inspirational.  She has also found avenues to translate both into Italian (thanks to her husband), and one, thus far, into French, Spanish and Portuguese via Babelcube. 

As a career, Colette spent her later years as a legal secretary. After a first attempt at writing many years ago (a book that still remains in her drawer) she resumed this passion a few years back, after being made redundant.  After a few book signing events and a book talk, which almost caused her to collapse with nerves, Colette now spends her time between her home in the UK and her home in France.

Colette has two adorable dogs and spends some time, when not writing and marketing her books, cooking for herself and her husband, gardening or designing various items for their home.  Amongst her other hobbies, she has also experimented with furniture upholstery, and she might, from time to time, have a paintbrush in her hand.

She can be found on twitter @ColetteKebell though doesn’t tweet a vast amount.

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Colette’s debut novel was called Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen and although I haven’t read it (yet!) I know that I’ll love the main character GiGi, or Griselda Griswald to give her her full name. How could you not love someone with that name?

Here’s the blurb:

GiGi (well, Griselda Griswald actually, but everybody calls her GiGi) is a woman with a mission: to help people improve the way they look, increase their self-esteem, and eventually, make them happier. Being a personal shopper is a dark art, with few tangible rewards. Spread by word of mouth, her clients would never admit they needed her assistance. Not even if they were put under torture. Let us be honest, who would admit to being in need of a style consultant? It is like being an alcoholic: the first step is to admit you need help, and acknowledge that that pair of leggings, now that you are in your mid-fifties, do not suit you anymore. When you have recognized it, you are on the path to recovery, and GiGi’s services will help you, despite her mother nagging that what she is doing is not a “real” job. People need advice and often a fresh point of view helps in rejuvenating a wardrobe that, with time, has become boring. Would they admit it? Not a chance! So, it is just a matter of going around and helping people buying clothes and shoes? Not quite so. Money is tight; GiGi has to work with rich and very eccentric people, who often do not have any idea about what they want. She and her business partner Ritchie are in a constant struggle to keep the business afloat, but as they say in Dragon’s Den, she is very investable. But, with success comes the difficulties, the Battersea Fashion Center is going to open soon, just opposite of her office, and they claim they will be fierce competitors. A powerful enemy is lining up ready to make a meal out of her, knowing very well that GiGi’s approach, eventually, will make her a force to be reckon with. Whilst she invents new ways to make her consultancy firm successful, she finds who could be the love of her life, thanks to some of her best friends. The business is eventually expanding and they take onboard new partners along the way, making them one of the most influential fashion consultancy firms in London. But, with a very demanding job, hours and hours spent working, will she be able to balance her career and her private life? Will she reach a point where she loses focus on what is important in life? Do not worry; mother is there to remind her, with her nagging.

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I’m sure I don’t need to tell you lovely readers that this is being added to my TBR as we speak – well as you read!

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I’m thrilled to welcome Colette to The Hippo today, don’t be shy, come on in, grab a comfy seat and let’s chat!

What book/books made you cry and why?
Most recently and one that has stuck with me was Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.  Why, for anyone who hasn’t read it, was due to how well written it was and the subject matter.  The story draws you in and brings out your emotions, often at the most inappropriate moments.  I went through a whole box of tissues reading that.

I know what you mean Colette and the film had exactly the same effect on me. It wasn't pretty!  😉

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I already do…in a roundabout way, same Christian name, different surname.  That made things simpler, particularly at book signing events etc. Rather than signing my full name I just sign Colette.  That way I can’t inadvertently let my married name out of the bag.

What other authors are you friends with and how do they help you become a better writer?
I’m friends with quite a few authors, virtually, though have met Lizzie Lamb at a Jill Mansell book launch, as well as a few book bloggers such as Anne Williams and Rachel Gilbey.  I hope to meet plenty more though, now that I am a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, providing I can attend a few of their functions this year.  My chief virtual author friend, who was my mentor at the time I elected go to self-publish, is an American author called Donna Jane McDonald.  I’ve given up counting how many books she has now written, most of which are novellas but all are funny, entertaining and quite a few are on the raunchy side.  I left that part well enough alone though in my own books.   I guess, as far as becoming a better writer is concerned, that comes from reading their books.  I do try my utmost though to ensure I’m not posting gobbledygook on Facebook though, as seeing their posts makes me more aware of my own.

Wow I’m jealous that you’ve met Jill Mansell, I’ve read lots of her books but I’m up there with you as I’ve met Anne and Rachel too!

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I’m not sure this is a writing quirk, but I occasionally make up names, for characters of my books.  For example, there is one lady in Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen! (Or so Mother Says) whose name continually changes…one of which being “Lady PainintheNeck”.  Having said that my doing so obviously hasn’t confused my readers and not one has remarked on it.  I won’t say too much though as this might be considered a bit of a spoiler…

What advice would you give your younger self?
My younger self should have taken her working life less seriously and find more time for her creativity, which she lost touch with for quite a while…  Having said that I’m thankful I have that back now as I put it to good use as often as I can and not necessarily only by writing.

What did you edit out of your last book?
I didn’t actually edit anything out, though while writing it, I had to keep a tight rein on the elements which involved the nagging Mother.  I didn’t want the story to just be solely about a woman and her nagging Mother, though I could have added a whole lot more.

What character in your book are you least likely to get along with and why?
That I have to say would have to be Jasper Barnes.  He is a snake, rogue and downright villain at times, though doesn’t come across that way initially.  I found it great fun developing his character but I just don’t get along with people like that…life is too short to have to watch your back regularly.

You get a brilliant idea/thought/phrase at an inappropriate moment (e.g. in the shower or driving) what do you do?
If I’m in the shower, I shout out to my husband, who is never too far away, as he works from home (though he may get a little irritated initially, mainly due to being on a conference call, he soon gets caught in with the idea).  Driving, if we are together, we might discuss it but not before I jot it down on my mobile. If I’m on my own, I wait for the first opportunity to pull over and jot it down, as I don’t have a hand's free kit.  If I’m out and about without needing to take care of what I’m doing my handbag is never without a notebook and pen…

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

I'd like to say a big thank you to Colette for taking the time out of her busy schedule to stop by and hang out with me today, I've loved having you here. 😘

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