Most novels have a scene that is a turning point in the story. Something changes. It could be an outer turning point where something happens to change the way the story evolves or an inner turning point where the person’s inner resolve or attitude changes. Maybe this change affects a character so that after this point, nothing will ever be the same for him or her. Some turning points are dramatic; some are more subtle.
Caroline James will share a turning point in her debut novel, Coffee, Tea, The Gypsy & Me which shot to #3 on Amazon and was E-book of the Week in The Sun newspaper. The annual gypsy horse fair in Appleby, Cumbria, and a lifelong admiration for romanies were the inspiration behind the book.
Caroline James was born in Cheshire and wanted to be a writer from an early age. She trained, however, in the catering trade and worked and travelled both at home and abroad.
As the River Bevan thundered by below, Jo watched the deep muddy water and wondered what the hell she was going to do with her life. The phone rang and the shrill bell startled her. Jo spun round to turn off the television and knocked a Cabbage Patch Doll from the table where it fell to the floor.
She kicked the ugly toy to one side and grabbed the receiver, fearful that Thomas would wake. The doll was a gift to Thomas from Greg, and Jo felt like stamping on its face.
“Is that you, Jo?” A man said. “Robert Mann here, how are you?”
“Oh, you know, busy,” Jo lied. What did Robert from Mann & Co Estate Agents want? The last call had been to invite her to lunch, to celebrate the sale of the pub she’d owned with Greg.
“We’ve a property in the area that might be of interest to you,” he said. Jo held the heavy black melamine phone to her ear and wiped her eyes. She tried to concentrate as Robert continued.
“It’s about six miles north of Butterly, in a lovely village with the River Bevan at the back and fells to the front. I have to say it’s a bit neglected. Been a guest house in its time and the chap had plans to turn it into a nursing home, but it seems all these new regulations and safety laws are putting him off.”
Robert droned on and Jo wondered what he was banging on about?
“What’s it called?” she asked.
“Well, it’s quite a large place and the owner seems to think he could get a good price if a hotel chain bought it. Thinks it’s perfect for a country house hotel – that sort of thing, it doesn’t need planning permission.”
“What’s it called?” Jo repeated as the image of a familiar building began to take shape.
“Of course he knows bugger all about catering. Bit of a shark if you ask me, wants to make a quick buck.”
“What’s the name of the place?” Jo chewed the skin round her thumb nail.
“I think it’ll hemorrhage his money if he doesn’t move it on soon. It’s a biggish place and needs a lot of work.”
“Robert! What the hell is it called?” Jo shouted, no longer able to contain herself.
“Kirkton House, in the village of Kirkton Sowerby.”
Jo dropped the phone. It bounced off her knee to the floor and she stared at it in disbelief then scrambled to pick it up. Her heart hammered and she felt excited for the first time in ages! She took a deep breath.
“Jo, are you there?”
“I’ll have it,” Jo heard herself say.
“What Jo? I can’t hear you, what did you say?”
“I said ‘I’LL HAVE IT!’”
“What! You don’t even know the price. Are you mad?” Robert shouted back.
“I know the place and I know you’ll do the best possible deal.” Jo smiled, her tears forgotten. “Arrange a viewing and we’ll finalise everything as soon as possible.”
She slammed the phone down and jumped up then punched the air and spun around, tripping over the Cabbage Patch Doll. Unable to stop herself she stumbled and fell to the floor. Eye to eye with the creature, it stared soullessly at her. Jo leapt to her feet and with a determined kick sent the vile object spinning across the room.
“Stuff you, Greg!” she shouted as she watched the doll hit the window, momentarily splayed out under a hail of icy bullets before it dropped to the floor. Thomas woke up and began to cry and Jo reached into the cot. She tucked the quilt around his body, cradled him in her arms and rocked him.
“I’ll show your daddy how to run a business,” she whispered as she kissed the baby’s soft downy head. “Only this time it will be all on my own!”
Caroline’s second novel, So, You Think You’re A Celebrity… Chef? has been described as wickedly funny: ‘Ab Fab meets Master Chef in a Soap…’ Caroline has owned and run many catering related businesses and cookery is a passion alongside her writing, combining the two with her love of the hospitality industry and romantic fiction. She is currently writing a TV script and accompanying book about the life of a well-known chef and has recently ghost-written a publication to be published at Easter 2014. Her third novel, Coffee, Tea, The Chef & Me will be published in 2015
Facebook: Caroline James Author