Caroline Bishop is a journalist, an editor, and the author of two novels, The Other Daughter and The Lost Chapter. For the past fifteen years, she has written about travel, food, and theatre for many publications, including The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, and BBC Travel. A British-Canadian, she currently lives in Switzerland.
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What does your writing space look like?
Our guest room also serves as my office, where I have a desk facing the window, which looks out over a fairly busy street in Lausanne. I’d like to say I had a calm, tidy working space, but actually my desk is a total mess! My bookshelves are crammed full of novels, writing craft books and any non-fiction I might be using for research, while various items related to my different hobbies are also stashed in the room: my sewing machine, boxes of wool and material, and a stand-up paddleboard which I take down to the lake in warmer months.
If you could spend a day with another popular author (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
The first person that comes to mind is Maggie O’Farrell. I love her books, and when I was first trying to write novels she was an inspiration, so I’d jump at the chance to pick her brains. I’d also love to spend a day with a group of British authors I met online in 2020, when all our debut novels were due to publish in the middle of the pandemic. Their support, wisdom and laughter over Zoom was much needed. I still haven’t met many of them in person, so I’d love to get us all in a room together.
How do you celebrate when you finish your book?
This question has made me realise that I don’t! I suppose a book never really feels finished, because there are so many rounds of edits, so I think I just forgot to celebrate when the final proofs of my first two books were finally done. Next time, I’ll make sure to go out for drinks and dinner!
Is there something you do/have while writing that helps your process? (Music, snacks, etc.)
Not really. I’m also a freelance journalist so I’m used to just getting on with it wherever I am, especially if a deadline is looming. I usually write in silence with a cup of tea to hand, and the time just flies.
What book are you currently reading?
I’ve just finished The Mountains Sing by Nguyên Phan Quê Mai, which is an extraordinary historical novel following a grandmother and granddaughter in Vietnam during the tumultuous period from the 1930s to 1980. It’s a harrowing read at times, but beautifully written and ultimately hopeful.