The wonderful B.M. Carroll...or as I know her, Ber Carroll
I have been 'stalking' the lovley Ber Carroll for quite some time, having first met her back in 2014 during an author event held at St Ives library. The event included Ber and two of her closest Australian writing friends, Liane Moriarty and Dianne Blacklock. Talk about a major fan-girl moment that day, with three amazingly talented writers of contemporary fiction all in the one room!!
Jump forward six years, and Ber's latest two novels have taken on a much darker twist. To be perfectly honest...they are downright compelling.
Her 2018 release, the first under her pen name of B.M. Carroll, The Missing Pieces of Sophie McCarthy https://bercarroll.com/books/the-missing-pieces-of-sophie-mccarthy was a total page-turner, exploring the complex themes of betrayal and revenge.
I LOVED this book, so was eagerly counting down the days until the release of Ber's second book under the B.M. Carroll moniker, her current release Who We Were https://bercarroll.com/books/who-we-were
And let me tell you. It didn't disappoint. Another riveting read, an ending I thought I had guessed...but I had guessed wrong. I am in awe how Ber manages to write from multiple points-of-view, without confusing the reader in the slightest. I think her secret is that she creates such unique voices for all of her characters that you can hear them so clearly in your head as you read.
I cannot wait to see what Ber comes up with next but I know it will be another page-turner!
Without further ado, I'll hand you over to the lovely Ber.xx
Q1: What piece of advice do you wish you'd been given when working on your very first manuscript?
A: I wish someone had told me the importance of making peace with the DELETE key. A novel is as much about deleting as writing new words. The DELETE key is the difference between flabby prose and streamlined prose. The DELETE key is the difference a book that plods along and a page-turner. Hitting DELETE takes insight and courage (and, yes, you are allowed to wince as you see the word count going backwards). (Love this advice Ber. So true. Shelley.xx)
Q2: If you could have written ANY book besides your own, what would it be?
A: I have writer’s jealousy for The Guest List, by Lucy Foley, where a death occurs at a wedding on a remote island off the coast of Ireland. All the characters are THERE on the island and the author has all but eliminated the need for secondary characters or locations. I read The Guest List in one sitting and woke up the next morning with a book hangover, wishing fervently that I’d thought of the premise.
'Me in my 'writing space,' which has recently moved from a large open study area to the armchair in my bedroom. The open study area didn't function very well with other family members working and studying from home, so now I hide away in the bedroom. The armchair is very comfortable, although I am not exactly an advertisement for ergonomic work practices. Since I vacated the study area, it has been taken over by an avalanche of HSC paperwork (child no. 1 is studying for his HSC).'
Q3: What is the first book that made you cry?
A: The last book that made me cry was Charity Norman’s The Secrets of Strangers. The first is harder to remember. I can recall crying while reading Maeve Binchy’s early novel, Echoes. I was about thirteen and it was one of the first books I read that didn’t have a happy ending.
Q4: What is your favourite drink? Coffee, tea, wine or…
A: I cannot go past a chilled glass of Rosé on a hot summer’s day. Rosé always make me feel like I am in France (my husband and I are self-confessed Francophiles).
Q5: What is the next book on your TBR (to be read) pile?
A: Lisa Jewell, The Invisible Girl. Lisa Jewell is one of my favourite authors. She hits the sweet spot between an intriguing plot and relatable characters. After that is Liz Nugent’s Our Little Cruelties (which my husband is reading at the moment; he is one of those mean people who won’t share the book they’re reading so I have to wait until he is finished before I can start; sigh).
Q6: Choose one male & one female character from your novel. In a film adaptation, who would you love to see play them?
A: I would like to see Chris Hemsworth play Zach in Who We Were (I bet every female author chooses a Hemsworth brother for this question). And I would choose Jodie Comer (from Killing Eve) for Katy. I think Jodie would add an underlying menace to Katy’s wholesome character and I would love to hear her take on an Aussie accent.
Q7: Name one thing you couldn't live without?
Paper towel. It has a wide variety of uses which I won’t go into here. It was in short supply during lockdown and I had extreme anxiety I would run out of it. (Oh I hear you Ber...don't know what I would do without paper towel. Shelley.xx)
PJ, our four-year-old spoodle and most popular family member. PJ goes walking with me every morning. He sniffs out traces of other dogs while I run through plot lines and character dilemmas in my head. By the time we get home, we have everything worked out!
Q8: What is your dream holiday destination?
A: Anywhere in France. On our last family holiday, we went to Carcassonne and Montpelier. Next year’s holiday was meant to be Bordeaux and La Rochelle (if COVID restrictions are still in place, we’ll have to content ourselves watching Escape to the Chateau episodes, while sipping an obligatory glass of Rosé).
Q9: If you had to choose a career besides writer, what would it be?
A: I’d like to be a teacher’s assistant helping kids who struggle to read. I helped out with reading groups when my children were in primary school, and the ten minutes allocated to each child never seemed enough. I’d also like to help adults on their reading journey, choosing books that they’ll enjoy and stick with. I often meet people who say they don’t like reading and I take it as a personal challenge to find them ‘just the right book’.
Q10: What's the hardest scene you have ever written and why was it
A: Every single sex scene has been excruciating to write, which I why I try to avoid them … my recent novels are very chaste. Other than that, the final confrontation scene in Who We Were was one of the hardest I’ve ever had to write. There were A LOT of characters in the scene, and it took many, many rewrites to balance the tension with the logistics.
'A gripping novel about the power of childhood cruelty, and how it makes us the adults we become.'
'IT'S BEEN TWENTY YEARS BUT ALL IS NOT FORGIVEN Katy is not the shy schoolgirl she once was, and she's looking forward to showing her classmates who she's become. Annabel was the queen bee. But her fall from grace changed her life forever. Zach was cruel, but he thinks he's changed. Robbie was a target. And he never stood a chance. The reunion will bring together friends and enemies, many for the first time in decades. But someone is still holding a grudge...'
‘Addictive.’ ~ Liane Moriarty
Thank you Ber for being my October 1st Author Stalker victim. xx
Who We Were is available through all leading bookstores and online.
If you would like to find out more about Ber, you can find her here: