Today we travel to Glasgow, Scotland to chat with Carolyn Mandache about how imposter syndrome, a ragdoll cat, Romania, penguins, Spain, empathy, cobbled streets, and a foam party come together as part of Carolyn’s past and present life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in Scotland with my husband, children and Willow the cat. My interests include travel and learning about different cultures, as well as being co-founder of a Glasgow restaurant tech. company called time2dine. Currently I am developing my skills in translating my teenagers’ modern day vocabularies.
What does your ideal writing space look like?
Clutter free with my laptop, notebook and pen to hand. I have photos of friends and family on my wall to keep me company, and inspire me. Living in Glasgow the weather is far from perfect, but I do enjoy the sun streaming in through the window when it makes a rare appearance! Recently I bought a gold deskplate which says “Thank God I’m Fabulous”, to counteract the imposter syndrome that I’m sure plagues many writers. Coffee in my favourite mug, and the occasional (not entirely unwanted) disturbance from my fluffy, friendly ragdoll cat.
What are you currently reading?
One August Night by Victoria Hislop. It is the follow up novel to The Island, which I also thoroughly enjoyed. Fantastic author with real talent for bringing stories to life and making you feel like you are almost in Greece yourself when reading.
Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?
Behind the Curtain was inspired by my Romanian husband. I wanted to learn more about his life growing up under Communism until the age of 11, and the customs and culture. I found researching for the book fascinating and my debut novel is a fictional account of life from Florin’s point of view up until he met me and moved to Scotland.
List 3 interesting facts about yourself.
I met my husband at a foam party in Spain
I taught myself Romanian as I hated feeling like an outsider when visiting friends and family there
Very proud of my Glasgow accent, but I will avoid any kind of voice recognition at all costs!
Which would you choose? Penguins or monkeys?
Penguins since watching the TV series A-Typical about a teenage boy with autism and how he is so fascinated with penguins, sharing many interesting facts through his journals and drawings. I recently bought my son a book called The Penguin Lessons by Tim Michell, based on the true story of a young man who rescues a penguin. He loved the book and I have to confess that when I bought it for him I knew I’d want to read it after him.
Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?
I am empathetic and capable of seeing situations from lots of perspectives. I believe this is a useful trait for running the business I own with my husband, to try make sure everyone on team is involved and happy. In writing, this trait means I can create believable characters, who will act in ways authentic to their own personalities.
What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?
St. Andrews, as I spent a lot of time there throughout childhood, and now enjoy visiting with my own children. Two beaches to choose from, and some of the prettiest scenery in Scotland, with cobbled streets and historic ruins. When it’s not too busy, some delicious ice cream from the famous Jannettas is always a welcome treat.
What are you currently working on?
I am pleased to say that quite a few readers of Behind the Curtain have asked when the follow-up book will be out and this is what I am working on. No title as yet, but this time I write from my own perspective, picking up from when I met Florin in Spain, and continuing with our lives together as a multi-cultural family…including our two weddings, dancing chickens and learning that animals also speak different languages!
Tell us about your most recent book.
I was motivated to write Behind the Curtain not only to learn more about Romania, but also to try to counteract the often negative press about Romania and immigration. My husband Florin and I are raising our kids to be proud of both their Scottish and Romanian roots, so I wanted the book to make people re-think Romania and attitudes towards immigrants. The timing for books like this seems right.
It was great learning more about you and having you be a part of MTA, Carolyn. I read The Penguin Lessons a couple of years ago, and loved it. Wonderful heartwarming book! Wishing you much success and all the best with your future books! – Camilla
Where can we purchase the book?
My book is available on Amazon, Waterstones, Barnes and Noble, as well as via my own website (UK only).
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