Monday, August 13

Profile: Carmen Reid

Photo by Martin Hunter

This week I’m thrilled to profile my dear friend and author Carmen Reid. Carmen was one of the very first people I meet after moving to Scotland and we instantly clicked. She is a rare breed that is beautiful, funny, intelligent and personable—all traits that come across in her writing. Carmen has just released her fifth book, The Personal Shopper, a fun summer read.

Synopsis—As a personal shopper in a swanky London fashion store, Annie can re-style and re-invent her clients from head to toe. In fact, this super-skilled dresser can be relied on to solve everyone’s problems… except her own. There’s a gap in Annie’s wardrobe – sorry, life – for a new man. But unfortunately, that’s the one accessory that she just can’t find!

What did you enjoy most about writing the Personal Shopper?
Inventing the heroine Annie Valentine. She’s a great character, definitely one of my favourites. Always rushing about trying to make everyone lovely and everything perfect and hopefully snag a bargain while she’s at it. She’s very warm and funny and makes you laugh, but as the book goes on you discover her tragic past. And I’d defy any reader not to shed a tear or two for her.

Was retail therapy required in order to do proper research?
Annie’s The Store is loosely based on the fabulous Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh. It’s just such an over the top glamorous shop. The most beautiful big shop I know. I do like to go round there once in a while for a ‘browse’ which yes, does often involve spending – whoops! - quite a lot more than I intended. (Ronda – aka – All the Best knows all about the dangers of the champagne manicure!)

What do you enjoy most about writing?
I get paid to daydream all day long! As jobs go, it’s really not bad! But don’t attempt being a writer unless you adore sitting at a computer on your own… a lot!

Do your friends or family ever show up in your books?
A little bit. Funny things they’ve said or done… or certain quirky characteristics make an appearance. But I don’t transplant entire people into the fiction. That would be a bit dangerous, I think.

Who is your favorite author(s)?
I have a long list of favourite authors that I’m adding to all the time. Current top five books at my bedside are by: Ernest Hemmingway, JK Rowling, Anne Tyler, Alexander McCall Smith and Bodil Malmsten. You see, now I want to add loads more… but that’s the current top five.

What is your favorite luxury in life?
Really smelly, runny French cheese. And a glass of nice wine almost every day.

Who are your personal style icons?
Ooooh good question. There are two actresses’ style I’ve always admired: Uma Thurman and Kirsten Scott-Thomas.

Uma is really tall (like me… but that’s all we have in common sadly) and she dresses in that clean, unfussy way I really like. I’m always noticing in her films how she makes flat shoes work without looking clumpy and she does a good tall girl look which is short skirt with a very long cardigan on top (we flash the legs but look less like storks that way).

Kirsten Scott-Thomas is English but has lived in France for years, so she has got French polish to die for. In ‘Tell No One’ (out at the moment) she’s brilliant and I wanted every single one of her ‘casual chic’ outfits: all unstructured linen trousers, sequined scarves and so on. In the film she’s a tousled blonde lesbian and pulled off that perfect French combo of being unashamedly 40-something but totally foxy.

Where is your favorite place to go on holiday?
France and Italy never let me down. My perfect summer holiday ingredients are hot sun, big waves, unlimited plates of seafood and iced wine.

Profile by Ronda Carman


Kim said...

Kirsten Scott-Thomas is great, good eye!

ALL THE BEST said...

Yes, I know all about the dangers of the champagne manicure at Harvey Nichols (and wine with lunch). You end up buying a Missoni dress!!

becoming-home said...

Champagne manicure is definitely something I will have to try next time I visit my aunt and uncle in Edinburgh.. but maybe I should leave my credit cards at home to be safe :)

ALL THE BEST said...

Yes, becoming home, you must do the Champagne manicure...and do leave the credit card if you don't want to over spend!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I love to find new writers. The book sounds like a fun read.
Anne said...

Very interesting interview..
?champagne manicure - I am intrigued. What is that?

Courtney Cochran said...

Can we buy the book in the US? I can't find it on Amazon!

ALL THE BEST said...

Courtney it can be purchased from