Name Carol E. Wyer
Age Too old to remember how old I am
Where are you from: I was born in Germany but I’m really a Brit.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
Oh goodness! Do you have the time? Once I start talking about me, I’ll be here all week. Best to keep it brief and say I have been a director of a language company, an English teacher and a personal trainer. I have also been a magician’s assistant! Although I started writing many years ago and wrote children’s stories that taught French, I took up writing for adults full time in 2010 after my son left home, leaving his bedroom free for me to convert into an office.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I recently took a crash course in stand-up comedy as a challenge. It seemed to follow on nicely from my books and since then, I have begun doing gigs around the UK. I love it. I must have always been a frustrated comedienne.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing in my twenties when I was bed bound in hospital following a spinal procedure that left me paralysed. (Fortunately it was only temporarily.) I wrote about the ward, the characters on the ward and stories that I sent to my friends and family. It kepyt my spirits up and I discovered it made peop0le laugh. A couple of years later, after I graduated from university I went to Morocco to teach. There, I wrote a series of children’s stories with exotic titles like Humphrey the Camel and the Dustbin Cats! I continued writing for the children’s market in my thirties and produced a series of illustrated books that taught youngsters basic French.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Not until I was taken up by ThornBerry Publishing who republished my first two novels. Even then, I was hesitant to call myself a writer. It took a three-book deal with Safkhet Publishing and a few articles for magazines before I felt I could call myself a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Life and suddenly discovering I was facing 50. There seemed to be few light-hearted books aimed at middle-aged women. I was too old for chick-lit and Rom Coms were sometimes too obvious for me. I read prolifically but discovered unless I read Ben Elton or Janet Evanovich there was not a huge amount to make me chuckle loudly. I wanted to fill that gap and produce books that made women like me laugh at life and appreciate what we have. My books are based on observations and tales told to me by other women of a certain age.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I guess it’s humorous and chatty. Critics have compared it to “the acerbic wit of Jeremy Clarkson” and even nicer to Robin Williams.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
As with all my titles, there is a lot of word play involved. I generally spend weeks trying to come up with a ‘clever’ title. It’s like a silly code for me. Just Add Spice is based not only on the main character’s desire to spice up her life but on the other main character in the book, Cinnamon. (Get it?) Surfing in Stilettos was to do with being on the internet but also wanting to recapture youth. Grumpy Old Menopause, well, that pretty much says it all!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are lots of messages. I’ll leave the reader to decide which is most appropriate to them
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Oh dear. I have to confess that some of the book is based on fact, real episodes and episodes that have been slightly embroidered. That’s all I’m saying.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Yes. Both. Gulp. Do I have to say any more?
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
As I mentioned earlier, I read prolifically and when I was bed bound the first time in my late teens, I read almost every age-appropriate book in our local library. I have a penchant for thrillers, mysteries, 16th Century English and Chaucer. I’m a bit weird. Bizarrely, it was Frenchman Voltaire who really influenced my love of humour and started me on the path to writing humour too. His novel Candide was one of my set pieces at university and I loved it. Mind you, I also loved all of Albert Camus’s books and I don’t write like him.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Ben Elton. He writes excellent humorous novels and I wish I were half as good as him.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
One of my fellow Safkhet authors, Sheryl Browne has just released a psychological thriller called Edge of Sanity. I adore thrillers and am writing one myself, so I am glued to it at the moment. I wrote a series of short stories called Love Hurts that look at the dark side of human nature and tiptoed into this area. I find it fascinating.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Sheryl Browne, as mentioned above. Also, Will MacMillan Jones who writes fantasy a little along the lines of Terry Pratchett crossed with Douglas Adams, Chris James who writes incredibly good Sci Fi and DV Berkom who writes some fine thrillers. (I’ve read all of hers and they are excellent.) In fact, I could fill up your entire blog with recommendations and have started my own ‘Have You Heard of …?’ feature on my blog where I talk about new authors and show off their books. There are so many fabulous authors who are known to only a handful of readers.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’ve just completed another light-hearted novel that is currently with the publisher being edited and should be released later this year by Safkhet Publishing. No spoiler details yet but I am building myself up to launch it in a spectacular fashion. It’ll take guts and a lot of alcohol.
I’m also working on the third novel that follows the adventures of Amanda Wilson from Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines and Surfing in Stilettos.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
A group of online writers who run/work for a website called Indies Unlimited. They offer a stack of advice and support for writers self-published or traditionally published and I am proud to say I write for them. They have been a phenomenal support to me.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Definitely. I write for a few online websites, including Indies unlimited, the Huffington Post, national magazines, international health websites and in between posts, I write my books. I can’t imagine not writing now.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding the time to get it all down once it leaves my head. I carry plots and characters about for months, perfecting them until I’m ready to put them down on paper. If I get interrupted by anyone during this part of the process it can really throw me. Luckily, I suffer from insomnia so I generally keep typing until the first draft is safely on my laptop and USB key and usually don’t get too distracted.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I travel all over the UK promoting my books and have been abroad to Europe several times to give talks, do signings and so on. I have yet to travel any further but if had to, I would.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I used an independent book designer called Judy Bullard for the first two books but my publishers designed the covers for the other books.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Be patient. I remember that feeling of wanting to publish as soon as your book is finished but make sure it is the best it can be.
Also, do not skimp on editing. It must be edited properly. I don’t know how many times I hear that authors have edited their work themselves by reading over it a few times. Get a professional to do it or beta readers to help. I can’t stress how important it is to produce a good piece of work, especially if you are self-published.
Think about how you’re going to market it before you publish it. Have you written a good synopsis? Have you got blurb for it? Does it have a professional cover? Have you got a marketing strategy? Make sure you are ready to launch before you make that leap. It’ll make all the difference if you are prepared.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
A sincere thank you. Your emails and comments lift my spirits and encourage me to write more.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
It was no doubt a Janet and John book from school but the first one I can recall reading on my own for enjoyment, was a Famous Five book by Enid Blyton called ‘Five on a Treasure Island.’ I was an only child so it transported me to another world where I could pretend I was part of their gang.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I haven’t as much time for hobbies as I used to have. I travel a lot and paint when I can. I used to scuba dive, fly helicopters and go kick boxing but now I seem to spend most days behind my laptop,
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Dexter and A Person of Interest and any comedy show that is on.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Pasta, champagne (preferably together). I am a glutton for pasta. My mother lived in Italy for a while so she brought me up to enjoy Italian food.
I’ve always had a thing for the colour green. At one point, every room in our house was painted a different shade of green. No idea why!
As ofr music. I have an eclectic taste. My iPod has everything on it from Carmina Burana by Karl Orff to The Killers latest album and stuff like The Arctic Monkeys, Blur, Pink Floyd, Elbow and ABBA.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Been an actress, a television presenter or worked on radio.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I have two blogs and a website:
Reblogged this on Safkhet Publishing and commented:
Thank you Fiona for interviewing Carol!
Thank you, Kim. I ❤ U
This is a compliment, Carol: ““the acerbic wit of Jeremy Clarkson”, I think! Your SOH is fab, m’dear. Keep smiling! 🙂 xx
And I think yours is too. I can’t put down your latest novel. Thank you for taking time from your launch party. Hope they haven’t all scoffed the virtual cake and quaffed the virtual champagne while you’ve been here. x
Kit Domino said:
Great interview of a great lady. Love her to bits 🙂
Kit, thank you. I am a very fortunate person to know you and those who have supported me over the years. Thank YOU. x
Thank heaven you gave up the helicopters, Carol. You are too young to die…
Funnily enough, you’re quite close to the reason behind why I gave it up. I might divulge that one day. Thanks for coming by, Will. X
William Rusho said:
William, you are very kind. I have to say hats off to Fiona. She asked lots of interesting questions that made me think. Fiona, thank you. xx