Cali Bird joins me today to take part in a Q&A interview on the last day of Tales of the Countess Blog Tour
How can a woman so capable at work be so useless at getting a man?
Kennington, London, 1998
The Countess of Kennington awakes one morning after a heavy night and realises it all has to stop.
She has to stop drinking her problems away. She has to stop acting irresponsibly. And she has to stop obsessing over the MSL: the Man She Loves.
But things are often easier said than done, and when she discovers the MSL is attending a conference where she is presenting, she cannot hold back her burgeoning hopes.
In a Sex In the City meets Toy Story scenario, the Countess lives in an unusual household where her chief confidantes, known as the accessories, are a collection of beloved handbags, a beautiful sheepskin coat and her teddy bear who provide her with support and advice.
As the conference gets underway, the Countess tries hard to focus on work, but encouraged by the accessories, she cannot resist the draw of the MSL.
The bags might talk but this is no kids book…
Tales of the Countess is a highly original chicklit novel by British author Cali Bird, about the need to find happiness in yourself before you get your man.
Buy it now for the perfect piece of romantic escapism.
Tales of the Countess – A Q&A with author, Cali Bird
Hi Cali. Tell us about Tales of the Countess. What’s the story about?
Hello. Tales of the Countess is a romantic comedy about the need to be happy in yourself and then you get your man.
It features the main character known only as the Countess. Is she historical or modern day?
She is definitely modern day. She inherited the title from her father but she is a modern girl and wants to make her own way in the world. She is very career orientated and has a work hard, play hard life-style. Unfortunately, she is not so capable when it comes to her relationships with men.
I’ve heard that handbags feature a lot in this book. Is that true?
Yes, and they talk. Along with her teddy bear they guide her through the ups and downs of her love life and give her emotional support when she messes things up.
Wow, that’s unusual. Where did you get the idea for that?
The bags in the book were all owned by me before I started writing the story, and I had already given them the names they have. I was hugely influenced by the film Toy Story where the toys have their own community and pecking order. They get up to adventures while their owner, Andy, isn’t around.
I imagined the same thing happening with my handbags when I was out at work. When I bought a new one, and it became my new favourite, I always wondered what the others made of this and whether they were jealous.
When I started writing about the Countess, the bags were automatically part of the story.
They all have different personalities? Are they each a facet of you?
People have wondered that, but I never saw it that way. Their characters literally grew on the page as I wrote. One of them is very bitchy, while another is the ultimate girly-girl and just wants the Countess to be happy with her man. Another one is pretty wise and along with the Countess’s teddy they try and sort out her emotional mess so she can be happier within herself.
The male character is mostly called the MSL. What’s that stand for?
It means the Man She Loved. The Countess came up with this nickname with her best friend and it refers to a man she has fallen for at work, but he insists on staying as friends. She tries to forget about him and move on, but she just can’t.
Are there any autobiographical elements there?
Let’s just say that my single days are littered with broken pieces of my heart where I would fall for someone but never quite get it together with them. And I didn’t always make great choices when I did enter into a relationship!
You started this book twenty years ago. Why did it take so long?
I never thought it would! It began as a short story and then kept growing. At the beginning I naively thought that with a screwy imagination and a reasonable command of the English language I could write a novel.
It was several years later, following much painful feedback, when I realised that there is a lot of skill in plotting a novel and revealing its story in a way that is pleasing to the reader – and I didn’t have those skills!
So I parked the project for a few years. My own life had moved on. I was no longer single and going out on the town. I had met the man who is now my husband and I didn’t have the same drive to continue with it.
However, I always knew that there would be a time when I would return to the Countess. Three years ago, I felt her twitching in the proverbial drawer and a few months later I took her out, dusted her down and had a read.
In that intervening period, I had learned a lot more about writing and written other stories so that I could improve my skills. The passing of time also meant that I was more emotionally detached from the book and could be objective about what needed to be done in order to knock it into shape.
Well done. It sounds like it is a fun read.
Thank you. That’s the feedback I’m getting from people who have already read the book. It seems to be providing escapism and some much-needed relief from all the difficult stuff that is happening in the real world at the moment.
About the Author
Cali is in her mid-fifties and lives in Bedfordshire. She was single until she was nearly forty and used to be the archetypal career girl, living in Central London and working in investment banking. One day, she had an epiphany, realised that she needed to honour her creative side and started writing. Since then, she had various side projects including running a life-coaching business, giving self-development talks and blogging about creativity at www.gentlecreative.com. She has practised Buddhism for over thirty years and is a self-confessed tree-hugger.
Cali has known her husband, Graham, since they were at school together. Although they once had a smooch when they were nineteen, they didn’t get back in contact for many years. Within a month of their first date, they realised they had found someone special in each other, but it was another few years before they were married at the tender age of forty-six. It’s never too late to find love!
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GentleCreative/Buy Links:
Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B088WBTRKK
Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088WBTRKK
Amazon Spain: https://www.amazon.es/dp/B088WBTRKK
Amazon India: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B088WBTRKK