D.B. Carter lives with his family on the edge of a small town nestled amongst the rolling hills of rural Devon, England. Despite this comparative isolation, DB’s understanding of the human condition is broad and sympathetic, and comes through clearly in his books. My favourite is his novella, Christmas Yet to Come, which I would highly recommend for any reader’s Christmas stocking (I know, but Christmas will be here any day, you mark my words!)
A lifelong bibliophile, D.B Carter is firmly of the opinion that there is no such thing as too many books, only insufficient shelf space; it was his love of classical literature, of Dickens and Brontë, that led to the creation of The Cherries. Since then he has penned three further novels.
You can read more about these on DB’s website. Read on for more about the writer himself.
What is your most recent book about?
My most recent book is Christmas Yet to Come, a story about a teenager trying to look after his younger sister in difficult times. When disaster strikes, brother and sister discover the true meaning of the season.
How did you come to be a writer?
I think I always have been a writer. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been scribbling down stories. However, I didn’t begin to show my work to anyone until I was about 50 years old. After some family bereavements, I realised I needed to grasp the nettle while I still could. The story of my first novel, The Cherries formed and I just began to write and couldn’t stop until I’d reached the end of the story. [Interviewer note: you can read my thoughts on The Cherries on my What I’m Reading page]
Tell us a little about your non-writing life
I live in rural Devon with my wife, Rebecca. We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary last year (though celebrations with wider family had to be zoom based) and have three wonderful grown-up kids. My parents were artist and I studied with them after I left school, but I eventually went to read computer science at university. After some time researching artificial intelligence, I went into the commercial world and eventually started my own business, which I ran for 20 years.
What do you want your readers to feel when they have closed the last page of your book?
That they have been on a journey and seen the characters grow and change.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
How much do you base your characters on real people?
I don’t think anyone would recognise themselves in any of my characters, but I do create them from observation of real life.
How much do you draw on real places for your scene-setting?
Sometimes I do. In my second novel, The Wild Roses, part of the story takes place in London and I used real landmarks that I know. But most of the story takes place in locations which I have entirely invented. The same is true of The Cherries, but people have told me they see a definite influence of the Devon countryside I love so much.
What’s the best thing someone has said about your writing?
I touch upon difficult topics, from bullying and assault to drug abuse and mental health, as well as many happier themes. I was very moved when a woman contacted me to say reading my books had helped her deal with some of her own issues in real life.
Who are your three favourite authors?
I enjoy so many authors, but Charles Dickens, John Mortimer and Anthony Trollope will always be at the top of my list. Book wise, The Complete Sherlock Holmes, The Pickwick Papers, and 84 Charing Cross Road are all very close to my heart.
Have you ever gone on a ‘literary pilgrimage’?
I have made a point of visiting places which feature on some of my favourite authors’ lives. For example, Thomas Hardy’s house, or the real location of 84 Charing Cross Road. Do they count as a pilgrimages? [Interviewer note: Yes]
If you could tell your younger writer (no matter how recently that might be) anything, what would it be?
Have the courage to share your work. It took me too long to build up to sharing what I’d written to get the feedback I needed.
What other forms of writing do you do?
I write poetry and also short stories. While my books are dramas with a touch of romance and a splash of mystery, my shorter tales are often mild horror.
Are you friends with other authors, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I am honoured to be able to count several other authors friends. I think sharing ideas and enthusiasm is bound to help us develop.
What are your future writing plans?
I’ve a couple of books in the pipeline, as well as a short story or two. I hope to have more news later this year. [Interviewer note: we look forward to hearing about those plans]
Follow D.B. Carter on twitter @DBCarterAuthor
(Read more author interviews here)