Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Q & A with Carol Wyer

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Today I'm very happy to welcome the lovely Carol Wyer on Simona's Corner of Dreams, she answers some questions about her books for me, enjoy!

1.    Did you always dream of being a writer?

No. I always dreamed about being famous but given my acting and singing ability was pretty hopeless, I figured that would never come to fruition. I fell into writing. I was passionate about reading and started writing children’s stories in my twenties. At that stage, I had no confidence to share them with anyone and it wasn’t until my thirties that I approached publishers with an idea for a series of illustrated books that taught French to children aged four onwards. What I didn’t realise then and only discovered after writing several bestsellers was that I could become famous if I kept at it. Since I began writing for the adult market, I’ve managed to get my face on television several times, including two appearances on BBC Breakfast television, been interviewed on numerous radio shows including BBC Radio Drivetime with Simon Mayo and been in magazines. I’m hardly A-list celeb but I’ll settle for a little fame. 

2.    How did your writing career develop?

Okay, this could take a while to explain, but the moral is – never give up. The children’s stories I mentioned earlier were picked up by one of the big publishers and I was in talks with them when my best friend and illustrator for them died suddenly. I couldn’t bring myself to work without her and dropped the idea, although I took the first two books we’d done together into schools and used them as teaching aids. I didn’t write again until my son left home and I turned his bedroom into an office. I wrote my first novel, Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines. To cut a long story short, I self-published it with You Write On and it became such a success, I was featured in Woman’s Own magazine as a best-selling author. From there, I was picked up by Thornberry publishing who republished it along with my second book. I fell on my feet and met another publisher, Safkhet at a book festival and they asked me to submit any further material to them. As it happened, I had a non-fiction book, How Not to Murder Your Grumpy – a spin-off from my first two books that I offered them. They read the script the same day I sent it and offered me a three-book contract immediately. I stayed with Safkhet for my next four books but when I wrote Life Swap I wanted to offer it to a different publisher. I had heard so much about Bookouture and hoped they would be interested. As it was, they were. They gave me a two-book deal and published Life Swap and Take A Chance On Me. The same time Life Swap came out, Safkhet decided to close their doors and I found myself without a publisher for my other books. Once again, I fell on my feet – a publisher who knew of my success at the People’s Book Prize Awards offered to take my back catalogue and now Delancey Press publish those books. Following the success of Life Swap Bookouture offered me a 3-book deal and I asked if I could submit new material- thrillers. They read the synopsis for the three books and signed me up. I am now writing a series around DI Robyn Carter.

3.    Your newest novel is called Surfing in Stilettos, what is it about?

Surfing in Stilettos is the sequel to my first book and picks up the story of Amanda Wilson. Who now takes a gap year in France with grumpy husband Phil only to find herself abandoned there. She meets a mysterious woman, Bibi and 
her life is suddenly turned around.

4.    What was your inspiration for the book?

There are so many inspirations. I lived in the area in France for 11 years and fell in love with it. I actually wrote the book while staying back in the area at a gite, owned by a couple with an old dog, called Ted (Yes, he is real and he’s in the book.) We ended up going back to dog-sit Ted on several occasions which gave me some of the inspiration for Amanda’s situation. The character of Bibi is based on my own friend there, Solange. When I used to blog about Solange and the daft things we got up to, all my followers thought she was hilarious so I used some of the anecdotes and put them in Surfing in Stilettos. With Surfing, I wanted to entertain readers but provide a story with a moral – life is about love, friendships and  family. The relationship between Amanda and her party-mad mother touches almost every reader and it is with pride that I say Grace is modelled on my own mother. The last part about the danger of the Internet came from being stalked on Facebook. I won’t go into details but it was an unpleasant experience that gave me the kernel of an idea for the plot in the book.

5.    Can you tell us more about the main character(s)?

Amanda is a 50-year-old woman who feels she has no raison d’etre any more. Her retired husband is driving her bonkers and needs constant attention. In this book, Amanda’s journey is one that will resonate with many women, no matter how old they are and her relationship with Grace is one that will make you snort with laughter and cry.

6.    Where and when do you write your stories?

I mostly draft my stories in France. I go there four times a year, shut myself away in a gite and write. I do all my writing by hand (I know – how archaic!) I then take the notebooks and type up the draft in my office at home. When I say office, I mean garret. It’s a small box room at the top of the house with only a skylight so I don’t get distracted.

7.    What do you do and enjoy when you’re not writing?

At the moment there is no time at all to do anything other than write and edit. I have some very tight deadlines and can’t really fit in much. I used to do all sorts of stuff like scuba diving, flying, quad biking, kick boxing etc. Luckily old age has got hold of me and now writing is exciting enough.

8.    If you could switch places with a character from a book, who would it be and why?

Tigger from the Winnie the Pooh stories. He’s always happy and irrepressible and I’d like to feel like that every day.

9.    What books have influenced your life most?

     Candide by Voltaire because it was the first book that got me interested in writing comedy. Also all of Chaucer’s works and plays by Moliere. (Yes, it’s all seems a little high brow but they all influenced me in ways that my diet of Agatha Christie and Dennis Wheatley did not.)

10.  What are you working on at the moment?

Book 3 in the DI Carter series. I have no title for it yet, rather worryingly.

11.   What do you enjoy most about writing?

Working out ways to surprise my readers, or to make them laugh. It gives me huge pleasure to know something I have written will make them chuckle or look at life in a more positive way.

12.   Imagine Surfing in Stilettos would be turned into a movie, who would you cast for the main characters?

I think either Dawn French or Renee Zellweger would be suitably cast as Amanda. Bill Bailey as Phil, Amanda’s grumpy husband and the delicious Christian Bale as Todd, Amanda’s ex-boyfriend/lover.

13.   You also published Little Girl Lost, a thriller, this year, can you tell us more about it?

Little Girl Lost was my first thriller in a series featuring DI Robyn Carter. It is described as a ‘Gripping, fast paced and nailbitingly tense, this serial killer thriller will chill you to the bone. Perfect for fans of MJ Arlidge and Angela Marsons.
It is about a family hiding secrets and a killer who want them to be revealed. A series of seemingly unconnected murders are somehow linked to Abigail, a woman who appears to have it all including a perfect baby, Izzy but who is nursing a terrible secret. Gradually, Abigail’s life is turned upside down and then, Izzy is kidnapped. DI Robyn Carter must uncover the murderer before it is too late. The book is chock-a-block full of twists and turns and surprises.

14.   You write thrillers as well as women fiction books, why both and how different is writing for the two genres?

That is a difficult question to answer briefly. I’ll just say that I cut my teeth on writing humour which comes naturally to me, but as I grew as a writer and began adding more twists and turns to my plots, I realised I needed a genre that would allow me to do this more easily. I have always been an avid reader of thrillers and so it seemed the most logical genre for me. I am obsessed with thrilling and surprising people so hopefully the DI Carter books succeed in doing that.

15.   Can introduce some of your previous books?

I’ve written several comedies. The first, Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines is about a bored housewife facing 50 who begins blogging to keep herself sane. It became a best-seller and I was featured in Woman’s Own magazine as a result. I subsequently wrote the sequel Surfing in Stilettos, and then the spin-off non-fiction books How Not To Murder Your Grumpy which has 700 ways of entertaining a grumpy old man (or woman) and Grumpy Old Menopause (whish featured on BBC Breakfast television and won The People’s Book Prize Award 2015)  Both came about due to letters and emails from readers of the first two books who identified with the characters Amanda and Phil Wilson and wanted strategies of how to cope with ageing! More comedies followed and Just Add Spice was the first of several that had twists in them. I wrote another non-fiction, Grumpies On Board a humorous travel guide with a difference  and a short story collection that touches on dark and light stories, Love Hurts. The book with the most amazing  twist was Life Swap and no one guessed it. The Life Swap hashtag trended on Twitter the day it launched with celebrities like Dawn French joining in.  Take A Chance On Me, which is my favourite book – it has been described as “most uplifting and inspirational”. I wanted to touch people who were going through a dreadful time in their lives and show that there is hope. It was written very much from the heart.

16.   You worked and lived abroad for a while, how was that experience for you?

     It was quite an experience. I’ve lived in France and Morocco but morocco in the eighties was different to Morocco of today. It was a real culture shock but a magnificent experience. There’s not enough room or time to tell you everything that happened to me but there were some gems. I taught in a language school and students would bring in presents for me. I had to stop them when one night, one came in with a live guinea fowl that I had to take home in a large carrier bag on the front of my moped. It kept clucking and making noises as I navigated the streets. I released it in a park even though the student wanted me to cook it.

17.  Coffee or tea?

Always herbal tea. I’ve drunk fruit or herbal teas for years.

18.  Paperback or e-reader?

Both. I have an e-reader for holidays because I’m a speed-reader and before the advent of these marvellous machines, I had to forgo clothes to take twenty or thirty paperbacks for my holidays. These days, I get to take both. I still prefer paperbacks. Can’t beat turning real pages.

19.  Mountains or the sea?

     Again both. I can watch the sea for hours, mesmorised by it’s ever changing colours but the mountains are stunning to, as long as I don’t have to hike up any.

20.  Summer or winter?

     It used to be summer but as I’ve aged, I prefer the cooler months, mostly because I can wear boots. I have a massive collection of boots and only one pair of sandals!

21.  Sweet or salty?

     Salty…always salty. I’m addicted to crisps. Mr Grumpy keeps telling me off as I wolf down an entire packet almost every night.


BIOGRAPHY
Carol Wyer became a full-time writer in 2010 when she turned her attention from writing children’s educational books as a hobby, to the adult market.


Her first two novels Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines and Surfing in Stilettos won several awards for humour and much attention from the media. Since then, she has appeared on numerous BBC radio stations, several international radio stations, NBC television and BBC Breakfast television, and Sky television discussing age-related subjects such as ‘Irritable Male Syndrome’ and ‘Grumpy Old Menopause’. In 2015 she won the prestigious People’s Book Prize Award for Grumpy Old Menopause.

Carol has written articles for, and featured in several national women’s magazines, including Take A Break, Choice, Woman’s Weekly and Woman's Own who also wrote about her journey to becoming a best-selling author.

Author of ten humorous books –three non-fiction and seven fiction, Carol changed direction this year, and has written a series of psychological thrillers, and published by Bookouture, featuring DI Robyn Carter. The first, LITTLE GIRL LOST released in January 2017, had rave reviews and shows Carol has found her true niche.


LINKS TO SITES

Amazon UK Author Page:
Amazon US Author Page:


BUY LINKS FOR LITTLE GIRL LOST

“What a page turner! Wow. My head was spinning from the first page to the last.”


RETAIL DESCRIPTION LITTLE GIRL LOST

Her breath rose and fell in fearful gasps but it was too late. She could already see what she dreaded most. The back seat was empty.


Bye, bye, Mummy.

When a devoted teacher goes missing under suspicious circumstances and an actor is murdered at a local reservoir there’s no obvious link between the cases. But as DI Robyn Carter starts to delve deeper, her investigations lead her to Abigail, perfect wife and mother to beautiful little Izzy. What was Abigail’s connection to the victims? And why is she receiving threatening messages from an anonymous number? 

Robyn’s instincts tell her there’s a connection between these deaths, that it’s personal, but the last time she acted on impulse her fiancĂ© was killed. To break this case and earn her place back on the force, she must learn to trust herself again – and fast.

As she inches closer to the truth, Izzy is abducted. Unless she can get to the killer in time, a little girl will die.

Gripping, fast paced and nailbitingly tense, this serial killer thriller will chill you to the bone. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter.

EXCERPT FROM LITTLE GIRL LOST

“Autumn was Paul’s favourite season. The wood took on rich colours; russets, chartreuse, and cardinal reds he wished he could capture on canvas. Then sycamore seeds, the samara or keys, would detach themselves with free-spirited abandonment and rotate to the ground like small helicopters. He wished he had spent time with Lucas and shown him such beauty. Maybe his son would have turned out differently if only Paul had invested the time. Bad father. You could learn so much from nature. Sycamores possess the ability to grow in the shade of their parent. What a shame Lucas had not grown in his father’s shade. Things would have been so different.
From the corner of his eye Paul spotted a movement but didn’t catch what it was. Deer often roamed in these woods and he had seen a roe deer only a couple of weeks ago, the russet brown of its rump and the flash of white of its under-tail as it fled into the dark woods.
He squinted as rays of light seeped through trees and blinded him temporarily, and then he felt the trees folding in on him, his brain not comprehending but his instinct forcing his arms forward to break the fall. He lay winded, hands grazed, a sharp pain in his right ankle. Then, grimacing, he hauled himself to an upright position, clinging onto the gnarly tree where he had fallen. A paper-thin piece of bark pulled away, crumbled and dropped its powder residue onto his bleeding fingers. He touched his face, already swollen, and traced a thick line of blood that trickled down his cheek.
His ankle protested at the weight on it. He had never fallen over before. He must be getting really old, he mused. He should take up a different activity. Then there was a crack. Someone or something was hidden in the trees, a walker, or a birdwatcher perhaps. He searched for life but saw nothing.
‘Hello! Is there anyone there? Could you give me hand? I’ve had a fall,’ he shouted. ‘Please,’ he shouted. There was no reply. He looked down at his cheap trainers, wondering if they were to blame for his accident, and spotted the reason he had tumbled. A piece of thick plastic rope like washing line was attached to the tree. Someone had intentionally tripped him.
He had no time to deliberate further. A figure came into view and stood by the trees.
An invisible hand gripped Paul’s pulsating heart. His senses told him to run but the pain emanating from his foot meant he would manage no more than a hobble.
The figure moved closer. Shadows fell across its face, creating a grotesque mask.
Paul drew a deep breath. ‘We need to talk. This is getting out of hand. We can sort it out.’
The figure moved even closer, and camouflaged against the trees it seemed like a spirit or angel floating towards him. It raised both hands, revealing what it had been hidden before.”
Before he could react, the figure flew at him. A scream rose in his throat but did not reach his mouth. He dropped to the ground soundlessly. His final performance over.”

Excerpt From: Carol E Wyer. “Little Girl Lost: A Serial killer thriller that will have you hooked.” iBooks.


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