Charlotte Fallowfield explores the concept of true love in her new novel.
1. Can you tell us a bit more about your novel Until We Collide?
Until We Collide is a romantic comedy novel that explores the concept of true love and bad timing. How often do you hear of people who said they found “the one” but the timing was off, and they either spent their lives wondering “what if” or gave up their travel or career aspirations in order to not risk losing the man of their dreams? This is what happens to Paige Taylor and Alec Wright. They decide to trust in fate and destiny, and reluctantly part to follow their dreams first in the hope that one day in the future they’ll collide again. We follow Paige from a young 17-year-old who says a tearful goodbye to Alec, through the years of dating disasters, peppered with encounters with Alec, to her thirties where we find out if that sacrifice was worth it for both of them. As to whether it was, my lips are sealed!
2. Is the novel in any way based on your own life or experiences?
The story itself was inspired by my very own crush at this age. For some reason after our first date, I wrongly assumed he wasn’t interested and moved on with someone else. We met a number of times over the following years, by chance, only for our timing to be off again despite our chemistry. We never did collide, but as to the disastrous dates poor Paige endured, I’ve had many, but luckily none as bad, or hilarious, as hers.
3. Why did you decide to write a rom-com novel? Is it also one of your own favourite genres?
I intended my debut novel to be a rom-com, but as it was just after the boom of Fifty Shades of Grey, I decided sex was selling and ventured into the realms of humorous erotic romance instead, under the pen name C.J. Fallowfield. My rather prude mother was mortified, and refused to read any of my saucy novels, so Until We Collide was written just for her to read without “the shame or embarrassment” factor! Thankfully she loved it, and so did I. So much so that I’ve already written a second rom-com which is currently going through the editing process, and I plan to do a minimum of one per year moving forwards. I may even consider doing more of these and cutting back on the erotic romance levels I produce annually if book two goes down with readers as well as this one has. I have to hold my hands up and admit that whilst I’d seen a fair few rom-com films, I’d never actually read a rom-com before I wrote Until We Collide. This is something that I’m now rectifying, having started with Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series, which I’m really enjoying.
4. When did you decide you wanted to become a writer and what prompted you to start writing?
I knew as a young child I had the potential to write, as I always had a very active imagination and wrote many stories when I was younger. But, as is the case for many people, life and work got in the way and my dreams were shelved as just that, dreams. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, and told that I needed to reduce my stress levels, that I quit a job that ate up too much of my time and was adding to my aches and pains, to work from home. Suddenly I found I had free time on my hands, and decided it was the perfect time to write that novel and see if I had what it took. I haven’t stopped writing since and believe I’ve found my real calling in life. I simply love what I do.
5. What book would you like to recommend to every reader out there?
This may seem a strange answer for an erotic romance and romantic comedy writer, but I’d have to say the Harry Potter series. I’m a huge fan. I had a very advanced reading age as a child, and somehow bypassed all of the children’s classics of my era. Since finding the time to fit reading back into my life, I’ve gone back and read all of the Enid Blyton’s, Franklin W. Dixon’s etc and moved onto the more modern children’s genre books. The creativity of them, Tolkien and Potter in particular, just blows my mind. Anyone can write about relationships, humour or sex, but to come up with whole worlds, languages etc. … that’s just a whole other level of writing I can only aspire to.
6. What do you feel is the best thing about being a writer?
My favourite thing about being a writer is losing myself in another world, laughing and crying with my characters, feeling as if I know them personally. I write because I love to write, because it makes me happy, but obviously it’s also extremely gratifying when a reader contacts you to say that you made them laugh or cry, or that they empathised with a character so much that it inspired them to make similar changes in their own lives.
7. And the worst thing…?
The worst thing, for me, is the physical toll it takes on me. I suffer from extreme wrist pain when I write. I recently had Guyon’s tunnel surgery on my left wrist, which needs to be repeated on my right one too. It also looks like I may need carpal tunnel surgery on my left, as well as some work on my index finger. I’ve had to slow down my writing pace considerably since I started, but I’m still producing a number of books per year. I just hope that the day doesn’t come where I’m told my only option is to stop typing. I’d be devastated.
8. What was the best piece of writing advice that has been given to you?
The best piece of advice I ever had was from a creative writing tutor. She told me to just write, follow my head wherever it was telling me to take my story and not to go back and start obsessing over whether it was working, had I chosen the right words, or structured the sentences right, or taken the story in the right direction. I believe that’s the number one stifler of creativity, getting too bogged down in the details. I don’t plan, I put fingers to keyboard and write whatever’s in my head at that time until the story is complete. You then have all the time in the world to go back over it and fine tune it, or alter it once you have the bones down on paper. And I’ve only ever once changed the direction of one of my stories after that first draft was written, as it didn’t seem to fit in how the character would have reacted. So out of 34 stories to date, that’s not bad going.
9. Can you tell us a bit more about your future plans?
I have set release dates each year, four novels and one Christmas novella, with book ideas to fill that quota up to 2023 already. I’ve already written this years seasonal novella and next February’s rom-com, called Never the Bride. The cover reveal and synopsis for that will be released in November. I’m about to start writing one of my erotic romance books, a rock star rebels trilogy, the first book of which is out next May. I work better under pressure and use covers and pre-announced release dates as the incentive to get my ideas down on paper in a timely fashion.
What do you do when the guy you’re in love with is seeing someone else?
That’s the dilemma facing Paige Taylor. All of her life she’s only ever had eyes for the gorgeous Alec Wright, but despite their undeniable chemistry, their timing has always been off. Fast approaching her thirtieth birthday, Paige despairs of ever finding love and a happy ever after. Her best friend Poppie tells her that she can either watch life pass her by, or grab it with both hands. She convinces Paige to throw herself back into the dating pool, or she could be waiting for Alec forever.
What Paige didn’t expect was the catalogue of dating disasters to follow. A neck brace, jellyfish, stitches, flashing and an encounter with a gorilla were some of the most memorable. Despite some downright hilarious, humiliating and cringe worthy dates, her biological clock is ticking and Paige is determined to keep trying until she finds the one. Was Alec Wright always her Mr. Right, or is he still out there waiting to be found?
Charlotte Fallowfield is an author of sweet, and sex free, romantic comedy novels. She comes from the United Kingdom and is half-French. She lives in the wonderful countryside of Wales, surrounded by rolling hills, trees and fields full of sheep and cows. She is yet to find her Prince Charming, but lives with her extremely pampered fur baby, Pumpkin, kitten of mass destruction.