CORNWALL LIFE EDITOR'S SECOND NOVEL PUBLISHED
PUBLISHED: 15:44 09 September 2016 | UPDATED: 12:36 30 August 2017
Cornwall Life editor Carol Burns published her first novel in 2015 - Cover Story is a comedy novel which focuses on a London-based journalist Victoria Manders, who is forced to leave London when a body part turns up on her desk. As the Russian mafia sprinkle pieces of her interviewee around London, it takes little persuading to get her to leave town for a while.
With the help of a paparazzi mate, she heads for deepest darkest Cornwall to the head office of the legendary Compagne: lifestyle magazine of the rich, the famous and the mildly inbred. There she discovers a baroque world away from her London life as she takes on the mantel of editor of the estimable society tome. Cover Story is set in the extravagant world of a national society magazine, with a society editor that can spot a pleb at 1,000ft, a food writer pondering the last meals of the rich and famous, a sports editor with a secret passion for gay porn writing and a wedding editor obsessed with her own nuptials. A new men’s magazine is set to be launched by the nihilistic managing director who has his own problems: a wife slowly relieving the family estate of its heirlooms, an elderly father secretly engaged to his lapdancing day nurse and a twin brother planning a coup d’etat.
“Cover Story is, of course, a complete work of fiction and has no bearing on the people I have met in the course of my current job - but a magazine makes a great setting for story and you do meet some real characters in this job,” says Carol, who has been editor of Cornwall Life since 2013. “When it comes to Cornwall, there is no better place to set a novel - of course the area is fictional but there are a few familiar features in there."
Her second novel Little White Lies was published in 2016 and was written in the days before Twitter and the 24-hour news cycle, when newspaper journalists broke the news. Little White Lies is a fast-paced comedy about trying to pull the scoop of the century without ending up dead.
“Little White Lies is a homage not only to the regional journalists who pulled out all the stops to get exclusive stories ahead of the competition, but also the fast-paced screwball comedies of the 1930s and 1940s,” says Carol - who first got her taste for newspapers during a stint of work experience at the tender age of 16. “Although inspired by my time on newspapers, Little White Lies is a work of fiction - or as Howard Hawks puts it in His Girl Friday: It all happened in the dark ages’ of the newspaper game - when to a reporter getting the story’ justified anything short of murder’.
Carol grew up in Leicestershire - where her novel is set - before studying English at university in the West Midlands and going on to train as a journalist and work for the Leicester Mercury before going freelance to study a Fine Art degree and MA in Fine Art while working freelance for a number of magazines. Carol now lives in Cornwall with her husband, son and a cat called Seamus.
“Newspapers are a great foil for stories - not only filled with great characters who would go after the best stories, but also offers a real insight into the different worlds that exist within our society from royalty to refugees. I can’t honestly think of another job that gives you that level of access."
Cover Story and Little White Lies are published by Heddon Publishing and are available in paperback and digital format at and good bookshops.
Carol is currently working on her third novel, also set in Cornwall, which is set to be published in early 2017.