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Claudia Carroll

Thursday, 6 May 2010

"The fairytale ending was just the beginning! Jessie Woods absolutely believes in fairytale endings. So would you if you had a recession-proof career as a daredevil TV host, a palatial pink mansion, and the dream boyfriend. But, quicker than you can say Cinderella, her life falls to pieces and suddenly her prince isn't quite so charming, her party-loving friends disappear and even her faithful friend Visa no longer loves her!

Utterly heartbroken and jobless, Jessie is forced back home, to live with her stepmum and two evil stepsisters. Is it time for her to give up on the dream - or will Jessie learn that happy endings can come in the strangest of places? Avon's hot new acquisition presents a tale of princes who turn out to be frogs, Manolo Blahnik glass slippers and not-so-happily-ever-afters!" REF: Harper Collins

Claudia's seventh novel 'Personally, I Blame My Fairy Godmother' is out now.

"Claudia was born in Dublin, where she still lives and where she's worked extensively both as a theatre and television actress. For fourteen years, she played the part of Nicola Prendergast in the long-running Dublin soap opera, Fair City; a character she describes as 'the horrible old cow that everyone loves to hate.'

She wrote her first novel, HE LOVES ME NOT, HE LOVES ME in the dressing rooms of RTE studios, when she was meant to be learning her lines. It was published by Transworld in 2004 to critical acclaim and became an instant bestseller. In 2005, she followed this up with THE LAST OF THE GREAT ROMANTICS, another bestseller.

Then, the following year, her third book, REMIND ME AGAIN WHY I NEED A MAN was published and then optioned by Fox TV for a series in the US. This meant that Claudia could quit the day job and concentrate on writing full-time. The only job, she reckons, where you can wear pyjamas, stare out the window all day, and still get paid.

In 2007, she published I NEVER FANCIED HIM ANYWAY, another bestseller, which Wendy Finerman (CBS) optioned for a movie. Wendy's previous credits include THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA and PS, I LOVE YOU. The movie is currently in pre-production, with a screenplay adapted by Academy Award nominee, Robin Swicord, (THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB.) Claudia is currently hassling producers for a walk-on part and very cheekily hoping they might throw in a free outfit too.

In 2008 she published her fifth novel, DO YOU WANT TO KNOW A SECRET which remained on bestseller lists for several weeks. Then in 2009, she followed this up with IF THIS IS PARADISE, I WANT MY OLD LIFE BACK, which is now available in paperback.

In 2009, Claudia was very excited to move publishers to Harper Collins (Avon) and will publish her first book with them, PERSONALLY, I BLAME MY FAIRY GODMOTHER, in early Summer 2010.

All her books are published by Harper Collins in the US and all are widely translated". REF:

Tell me about your new book?

This one was inspired by the recession. One of the things I noticed was people my age in their 40's having to move back home to their parents. The papers calls it the boomerang generation. You have the parents who thought they had long got rid of their families and now they are back where they started.

When I was writing the book I thought of the Harold Pinter play where he said home is the one place that when you turn up on the doorstep and they have to take you in. Then I turned the Cinderella story on its head. Jessie is a very successful woman, found a great man and then we realise very early on all her money is borrowed.

She is over spending and thinking at the back of her mind that she has more time to pay off the debt. But she doesn't. She also realises she has fair weathered friends.
Jessie has to head back home to her step mother and her two step sisters. They all hate each other but they can't turn her away. They tell her she can sleep on the sofa but she has to earn her keep.

Do you have friends that had to move back home because of the recession?

Friends of mine from school and college had to move back home. It's very stressful on everyone.

Is there a bit of you in every book you write?

No I am not in every book I write although I do draw on what's around me. There is a few elements of me in it as sometimes the characters have my sense of humour. My friends when they tell me their deepest secrets they always say to me they will kill me if I put it in a book.

How did you get your first book published?

I had written a few chapters and in 2003 it was kind of like the rise of the agent. My friend and author sent my few chapters to her agent and that's how it all started.

I believe some of your books might be made into movies.
I have sold 3 books. One of my books is in super advancement. Which I have no idea what that means. The screenplay has been written by Robin Swicord. She wrote The Benjamin Button movie and The Jane Austen Book Club. So we are very lucky to have her on board.

Would you like to play any of the characters from your books on screen?

Not at all. I think I would be far too busy. I saw Twilight and I saw Stephanie Meyers who had a tiny role in the movie serving a hamburger - I would love to do that. Three seconds I would love that.

Do you miss Fair City?

I miss the people and the crack. When I left four years ago I had written three of the books while I was still acting. It nearly killed me as I was so exhausted. My deadline is a book a year. With 'Fair City' I was lucky as you would get about 20 weeks a year guaranteed if you are a regular character which was great as then you can pay your mortgage but about 32 weeks when you are doing nothing.

I envied anyone who was doing full time writing. When the third one sold to the states that was a sign to me so I decided to leave Fair City and they told me that she wouldn't be killed off which was nice. I thought it was funny that they sent Nicola off to run an art gallery in Cork seen as she never had an interest in art before. I was 14 years in it, which was lovely. I did come back for a week when my ex husbands character had a heart attack so I went back for that which was lovely.

You must have made lots of good friends.
Clelia, who plays Niamh in Fair City, is my best friend and I'm guardian to her daughter Clara Belle.

What storyline did you like the best?

My character was a super cow but the storyline when I had breast cancer was tough and then her boyfriend Donal had an affair with her sister and of course she finds all this out on Christmas day.

A truck driver approached me at traffic lights and knocked on the window and said he had to tell me that my boyfriend was having an affair with my sister behind my back. He said he had to tell me as it was on his conscience. I said thanks a million I'll eat the face off him when I get into work.

Do you have much control over what happens to your books on screen?

I have very little control over what happens to it. I met the producers in LA of my fourth book 'I Never Fancied Him Anyway' and they asked me who I saw in the lead role. I said I would love Jennifer Aniston as she is a great comedy actress. They said she is too old. She is 40which is the same age as me. They said 'Honey over the age of 40 in this town there are three actresses working and that's Jenny, Sandra and Julia'. They were naming young actresses that I hadn't heard of apart from Kirsten Stewart. To me they are still children.

I am lucky with PBS as they are letting me read stuff and have a say in casting. The book I had out last year 'IF THIS IS PARADISE, I WANT MY OLD LIFE BACK' that has been optioned but it has literally just been signed. They say it takes about 7 years.

Do you treat writing like a day job?

You kind of have to. It's the only way. You have to treat it like a nine to five or else you would get caught in the laundry trap. You need to put the head down and you need a certain word count down every day.

Are any of your fellow Fair City actors now trying their hand at writing?

A couple of them but I won't say who.

Do you have the ending of the book in your head before you start writing the book?

I sit down with my editor and go through the skeleton story with my agent. We already have the ending before I start writing. Doing that keeps you motivated especially when you get writers block.

Would you go back to acting?

Not at the moment as I am under contract to get this book finished. There just isn't time to act as well.
Book retails at €11.99