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Matthews, Carole

Matthews, Carole

PERSONAL:

Born in St. Helens, England. Education: Studied beauty therapy at Champneys College. Hobbies and other interests: Hiking, rollerblading, travel, cooking, gardening, films, and taking classes.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Milton Keynes, England.

CAREER:

Writer, screenwriter, and educator. Worked various jobs. Secretary, London, England, for six years; beauty therapist, Dickens & Jones; television presenter for the Central Independent Television program Look Good, Feel Great; freelance writer of health and fitness articles; employee at a holistic clinic, Milton Keynes, England; Bedfordshire Adult Education, teacher of classes on novel publishing; book and film reviewer for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Three Counties Radio.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Won a Writers' News short story competition.

WRITINGS:

Let's Meet on Platform 8, Headline (London, England), 1997, Red Dress Ink (New York, NY), 2004.

A Whiff of Scandal, Headline (London, England), 1998, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2004, also published as The Scent of Scandal, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2005.

More to Life than This, Headline (London, England), 2000, Red Dress Ink (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2006.

For Better, for Worse, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2000.

A Minor Indiscretion, Headline (London, England), 2002.

A Compromising Position, Headline (London, England), 2002, published as Bare Necessity, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2003.

The Sweetest Taboo, Headline (London, England), 2003, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2004.

With or without You, Headline (London, England), 2005.

You Drive Me Crazy, Headline (London, England), 2005.

(Editor, with Sarah Mlynowski and Chris Manby) Girls' Night Out, Red Dress Ink (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2006.

Welcome to the Real World, Headline (London, England), 2006.

The Chocolate Lovers' Club (first book in the "Chocolate Lovers' Club" series), Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2007.

The Chocolate Lovers' Diet (second book in the "Chocolate Lovers' Club" series), Headline Review (London, England), 2007.

It's a Kind of Magic, Headline Review (London, England), 2008.

All You Need Is Love, Headline Review (London, England), 2008.

Also author of a sitcom for radio broadcast, c. 2004, and of numerous short stories and television and film scripts.

Contributor to periodicals, including Cosmopolitan, Writing, Women's Realm, Women and Golf, Health and Fitness, Mail on Sunday, and Express on Sunday. Also contributor to Ford of Britain Web site.

ADAPTATIONS:

A Compromising Position was adapted for film; film rights to For Better, for Worse and A Minor Indiscretion have been sold to Hollywood film companies.

SIDELIGHTS:

British author Carole Matthews worked as a secretary and beauty therapist prior to turning her talents to writing. She began with a series of articles for a health-based magazine and continued writing on a freelance basis thereafter. In 1996, she started writing fiction and almost immediately won a short story competition sponsored by Writers' News. With her prize money in hand, Matthews attended a week-long writing course to work on her first novel. Her writing teacher, impressed by her abilities, recommended the book to an agent, who quickly signed her. Since then, Matthews has published numerous romantic, comedic novels, and has also written for film and radio. Several of her novels have appeared on best-seller lists, both in England and in the United States.

Matthews enjoys writing from experience. In an interview published on her home page, she commented: "I find it much easier to write about a place when I've actually been there and done that. When I visit a place it invariably seems to throw up extra elements to the story, too. So when you read my books you know that I've usually been through most of the things my heroine has!"

For Better, for Worse tells the story of Josephine Flynn, a newly single woman who travels from England to New York to attend her cousin's wedding. She meets a rock-and-roll journalist en route, but life circumstances and her ex-husband conspire to keep Josie and this new man apart for most of what Library Journal reviewer Kim Uden Rutter referred to as a "light, funny novel." Rutter also commented that the book "will charm Bridget Jones fans on both sides of the Atlantic." Elsa Gaztambide, writing for Booklist, commented that the author "tackles love and marriage with cynicism, but through her humorous storytelling resurrects the power of romance to conquer all."

In A Compromising Position, published in the United States as Bare Necessity, London, England, school-teacher Emily Miller discovers that her boyfriend has posted a revealing photograph of her on the Internet, and from then on, her life becomes very difficult. She loses her job, and discovers she is in danger of losing her house and has a sizable debt—also courtesy of her boyfriend. Only a series of brief encounters with an attractive man she meets at a party keeps her from losing her mind. Booklist contributor Beth Leistensnider acknowledged that a few of Matthews's plot twists are unbelievable, but remarked that the story "will appeal to anyone looking for a light, funny take on romantic entanglements."

The Sweetest Taboo recounts the adventures of newly unemployed Sadie, who must choose between a relationship with Hollywood producer Gil McGann and gorgeous, fun Tavis Jones from London. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews attested that "Matthews has a tin ear for all dialogue," but Booklist reviewer Maria Hatton called the book an "unpredictable, original, and highly entertaining romp."

In More to Life than This, Matthews features Kate and Jeffrey Lewis, parents of teenagers, who find that their marriage has become dull. Their situation changes drastically, however, when both spouses are confronted by temptation—for Kate, in the form of Ben, whom she meets at a tai chi retreat, and Jeffrey with Natalie, an attractive au pair from Australia. Booklist contributor Kristine Huntley noted that the author is known for her characters' intricate situations, providing "offerings that are more complex and layered than the average fare."

First published in London in 1997, Let's Meet on Platform 8 was published in the United States in 2004. The story revolves around a woman who is knocked over by a man running to catch his train, which results in a romance when the man acts chivalrously and offers to take her home. Huntley, in another Booklist review, commented that the author "avoids simplistic and predictable solutions and in doing so makes her story fresh and enjoyable."

In With or without You, the author's protagonist, Lyssa Allen, is thirty-four years old and longing to have a baby with her boyfriend Jake. When Jake dumps her for another woman, Lyssa goes into denial and decides to become adventurous like Jake's new love interest, figuring that this trait is what attracted Jake to her. Deciding to take a hiking trip in the Himalayas, Lyssa meets Dean, a handsome tour guide. "Fans of Chick Lit (especially, British Chick Lit) will delight in this evocative story of a woman's struggle to find herself and, hopefully, true love in the process," wrote Bronwyn Miller for Bookreporter.com. Noting that the author "is a master of compelling stories," Huntley stated that "her latest is a winner in every way."

A Whiff of Scandal, published in the United States as The Scent of Scandal, features aromatherapist Rose Stevens, whose ex-boyfriend, Hugh, is now married and has children. Rose moves from London to a cottage in Great Brayford to start over. She has no romantic interests until a local builder, Dan, stops by to fix her fireplace. Writing for Curled Up with a Good Book, Shannon I. Bigham commented that "the breezy style of writing and antics of the small-town residents will bring a smile to most readers' faces."

Fern Kendal, who aspires to become a famous singer, is the protagonist of Welcome to the Real World. Fern's career has been hindered by her devotion to her family, including her brother's ill child and her father, who is staying with her after Fern's mother threw him out of their house. However, when Fern takes a job assisting Evan David, an opera singer, she finds herself torn between her career and romance. In a review for Booklist, Huntley noted the novel's "lovable heroine, … dashing hero, and … twists and turns," and added that they make for "all the right ingredients." A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that the author "has a knack for snappy dialogue."

Matthews is also editor, with Sarah Mlynowski and Chris Manby, of Girls' Night Out. The anthology features twenty-five stories in the chick lit genre. Tales range from a comical story about a newscaster trying to telepathically connect with a man she is pursuing to tales of cheating spouses and boyfriends. A Publishers Weekly contributor commented that "fans of the genre won't be disappointed."

In The Chocolate Lovers' Club, the first book in the "The Chocolate Lovers' Club" series, Matthews features four British women—Lucy, Chantal, Nadia, and Autumn—who share a love of chocolate. The story revolves primarily around Lucy, whose boyfriend is cheating on her. Sending the text message code "Serious Chocolate Emergency," to her friends, Lucy and her fellow Chocolate Lovers' Club members meet at Chocolate Heaven to commiserate. Eventually, Lucy attracts the attention of other men, while Chantal and Nadia suffer marriage problems, and Autumn's romance is interfered with by her brother, a drug addict. "Matthews presents gal pals who sidestep pettiness to forge remarkable friendships," wrote a contributor to Kirkus Reviews. Huntley, writing in Booklist, called the novel "smart and charming Chick Lit for chocoholics." The second book in the "Chocolate Lovers' Club" series is titled The Chocolate Lovers' Diet.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Automotive News Europe, April 5, 2004, Bradford Wernle, "Ford Fiesta Gets Feature Role in Novel: U.S. Carmaker Wants to Reach More Young Women in its Top European Market," p. 8.

Booklist, May 1, 2002, Elsa Gaztambide, review of For Better, for Worse, p. 1508; May 15, 2003, Beth Leistensnider, review of Bare Necessity, p. 1644; August, 2003, Kristine Huntley, review of A Minor Indiscretion, p. 1965; April 15, 2004, Maria Hatton, review of The Sweetest Taboo, p. 1430; September 1, 2004, Huntley, review of Let's Meet on Platform 8, p. 73; August, 2005, Huntley, review of With or without You, p. 2006; March 15, 2006, Huntley, review of More to Life than This, p. 34; September 15, 2006, Huntley, review of Welcome to the Real World, p. 42; January 1, 2008, Huntley, review of The Chocolate Lovers' Club, p. 38.

Bookseller, August 4, 2006, review of Welcome to the Real World, p. 9.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2002, review of For Better, for Worse, p. 446; April 15, 2003, review of Bare Necessity, p. 561; March 15, 2004, review of The Sweetest Taboo, p. 246; September 1, 2004, review of A Whiff of Scandal, p. 827; December 1, 2007, review of The Chocolate Lovers' Club.

Library Journal, May 1, 2002, Kim Uden Rutter, review of For Better, for Worse, p. 134; May 15, 2003, Uden Rutter, review of Bare Necessity, p. 126; September 1, 2005, Anika Fajardo, review of With or without You, p. 132.

Publishers Weekly, May 6, 2002, review of For Better, for Worse, p. 36; July 11, 2005, review of With or without You, p. 63; April 3, 2006, review of Girls' Night Out, p. 39; July 17, 2006, review of Welcome to the Real World, p. 138; October 29, 2007, review of The Chocolate Lovers' Club, p. 30.

Writer, July, 2004, review of The Sweetest Taboo, p. 8.

ONLINE

Bookreporter.com,http://www.bookreporter.com/ (July 28, 2008), Bronwyn Miller, review of With or without You.

Carole Matthews Home Page,http://www.carolematthews.com (October 27, 2004).

Chocolate Lovers' Club Web site,http://www.thechocolateloversclub.com/ (July 28, 2008).

Curled Up with a Good Book,http://www.curledup.com/ (July 28, 2008), Shannon I. Bigham, review of The Scent of Scandal.

HarperCollins Publishers Web site,http://www.harpercollins.com/ (August 4, 2004), author profile.

Lola Jaye,http://www.lolajaye.com/ (July 28, 2008), Lola Jaye, author interview.

Struggling Authors Web site,http://strugglingauthors.co.uk/ (July 28, 2008), Helen Edwards, author interview.

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