AWW Feature: Carol Marinelli & Putting Alice Back Together

Please welcome Carol Marinelli

Putting Alice Back Together is Carol Marinelli’s first contemporary women’s fiction title after publishing more than a dozen traditional romance titles with Harlequin. Carol Marinelli was born in the UK and, some twenty years ago, came on a one year holiday to Australia and never really left. She now lives in the outer suburbs of Melbourne with her three children and needy pets, and is still trying to explain to visiting relatives that Melbourne winters are cold! Carol worked as a nurse in England and later in Australia and loved it but writing has always been her passion, along with reading. She has tried to find other passions – gym, yoga, horse riding, but generally lasts but a term or two before going back to her books. She is constantly on diet, fully intends to get up early and walk each morning, and when not writing, reading or raising her family, can be found at office supply stores trying to find the diary that will organise her life before she lurches towards another deadline.

Today, Carol Marinelli is sharing her thoughts on friendship, a theme which plays a major part in Putting Alice Back Together


I don’t plot, so, when I started writing Putting Alice Back Together, I had no idea where the story was leading. I also had no real idea the role Alice’s friends would play in the story.

Alice is a very flawed heroine who has some pretty spectacular friends, all of whom play an important role in her journey — some who help her and some who hinder her and all of her friends (and family) have problems of their own. I especially loved the character of Roz. When I first started writing the story Roz was a very different person and played a much more superficial role — really I used her as a stepping stone to get to certain points I wanted to reach in the story but more and more her character started to emerge, her own set of problems arose and, as they did, I wondered why on earth she would put up with some of Alice’s carry on, so it was back to the thinking board for me. I took a couple of weeks and really worked on Roz’s background and traits and, once I had, I rewrote the entire story with a very different Roz.

I think it is a little bit like friendships in real life. We meet someone, maybe at work, or at school drop off and perhaps we click, or a friendship starts to emerge but we don’t really know that person till a lot later. A lot of coffee and chats later we find out more and more about the other — or we don’t and they remain a person we chat to, like, but never really get to know. Of course there are friends who we meet right in the middle of their crisis and we get to know a whole lot straight away – perhaps a neighbour moves in who has just walked out on a marriage, or a rather reserved colleague suddenly breaks down and tells us a problem…

Roz and Alice’s friendship, for me, was a mixture of the two. They were friends with their own set of problems — though they shared a lot of their lives — going out, gossiping, working together, neither really knew the other. Roz had her concerns about Alice and vice versa, but both initially refused to honestly open up to the other — with good reason.

Because I had spent a couple of weeks *chatting * to Roz (mad job that I have) I was in the great position of knowing Roz’s secret and Alice didn’t. It actually only took a few tweaks to what I had already written but suddenly I had what I felt was a far more real person and a far greater friend for Alice. I didn’t like the way Alice treated her friend when she found out her truth, but I did try to keep it real, to not suddenly make Alice a perfect person — it wouldn’t have suited her character, though, I will say, a lot of Alice’s flaws are her thoughts, a lot of the time Alice is less than her best it is only in her head or in the confines of a psychologists office, so she didn’t actually say mean things to Roz.

For me, when they both became honest, an amazing friendship emerged — one that I really felt would last a lifetime and would be of huge benefit to them both — a friendship that was real and based on genuine respect and a deep sense of caring for the other person, while accepting they were different in many ways.

One of my favourite scenes in the book (and it is a very tiny scene) is right near the end, the night before the wedding and Alice wakes up to Roz making coffee.

I don’t want to give any spoilers and it really is such a tiny scene, but it made me laugh so much. I really felt that was the true Roz and that was the true Alice and that was their friendship.

I am really pleased that I took a couple of weeks to get to know Roz, that I didn’t just use her as a stepping stone for Alice and that I took the time to get to know her a bit more. I think it made for a better story and, in the end, a far better friendship. I honestly now can’t imagine the story of Alice without a friend like Roz. Yes, they had their ups and downs but in the end they were there for each other and complemented the other — which a bit like our friends in real life.

Here’s to our friends!

Please take the time to read my review of Putting Alice Back Together

Available To Purchase

Australia: @Harlequin Australia I @ Boomerang Books I @Booktopia

International: @Amazon I @BookDepository

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Bookish News and Publishing Tidbits 22 March 2012 | Read in a Single Sitting - Book reviews and new books
  2. The Australian Bookshelf
    Mar 22, 2012 @ 18:21:36

    Fascinating post on the making of a book. I was surprised to hear that Carol doesn’t plot! When i write, i get stuck when i don’t have an idea of the path i want to follow.



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