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I’m going to make you a star

by on May 29, 2014

Actually, the title of this week’s blog is out of date: my guest, the rather lovely Carol Wyer already IS a star. She has an appearance on breakfast TV to her name, BBC Radio 2, regular radio appearances and she’s presently touring libraries and events promoting her work. Star quality, without a doubt: and besides that she’s signed to my publishers, Safkhet Publishing, so I actually know her a little.

Carol, it’s lovely of you to fit me into such a hectic schedule! This is the point I normally ask for a bit of a bio, so the stage is all yours…

Here’s the factual stuff about myself. Hope you don’t all doze off at this point and I get it all out before the buzzer goes.
Carol E. Wyer is an award winning author whose humorous novels take a light-hearted look at getting older and encourage others to age disgracefully.
Her best-selling debut novel ‘Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines’ won five awards for humour while ”Surfing in Stilettos’ which follows the further adventures of Amanda Wilson as she attempts to inject some fun into her life, won a gold medal for romance at Reader’s Favorites.
‘How Not to Murder Your Grumpy’, the first of three books in a ‘Grumpy’ series is a finalist for the People’s Book Prize Award 2013-14.
Carol has featured on numerous shows discussing ‘Irritable Male Syndrome’ and ‘Ageing Disgracefully’, including BBC Radio 2 Drivetime and BBC Breakfast television. She has had articles published in national magazines such as Woman’s Weekly’ and on-line magazines. She writes regularly for The Huffington Post and author website Indies Unlimited.
She is a signed author with ThornBerry Publishing and Safkhet Publishing.
To learn more about Carol, go to http://www.carolewyer.co.uk or follow Carol on Twitter: @carolewyer. Carol blogs at http://www.facing50withhumour.com

Carol E Wyer

At this point, I normally ask if writers have a book out: Carol is prolific (if that’s not rude! Must look it up again) so you’d better choose:

I’ve got a few books that I’d like to promote but I haven’t got a recent release. My next book won’t be out until October, so for now I’ll tell you all about the book that reached the finals of The People’s Book Prize award this month—How Not to Murder Your Grumpy.

Genre: Non-fiction, humour

Title: How Not to Murder Your Grumpy

Blurb:

Before you push your Grumpy off the next bridge,
Look no further!

Is your Grumpy Old Man getting under your feet? Is he wrestling with retirement? Are you wondering if you should bundle him up and entrust him to basket-weaving classes? Then this book could be the answer to your prayers. This light hearted guide is packed full of lively ideas, anecdotes and quips. Not only does it set out to provide laughs, but offers over 700 ideas and ways to keep a Grumpy Old Man occupied.

From collecting airline sick bags to zorbing, you will be sure to find an absorbing pastime for your beloved curmudgeon. There are examples of those who have faced extraordinary challenges in older age, fascinating facts to interest a reluctant partner and innovative ideas drizzled, of course, with a large dollop of humour.

Written tongue-in-cheek, this book succeeds in proving that getting older doesn’t mean the end of life or having fun. It provides amusing answers to the question, “How on Earth will my husband fill in his time in his retirement?” It offers suggestions on what might, or most certainly might not, amuse him. Ideal for trivia buffs, those approaching retirement, (or just at a loose end) and frustrated women who have an irritable male on their hands, this book will lighten any mood and may even prevent the odd murder.

Endorsed by Irritable Male Syndrome expert Jed Diamond Ph.D.

“Carol E. Wyer offers us a lighthearted look at how to help a man dealing with the Irritable Male Syndrome.”
Jed Diamond

Sales link: http://www.safkhetpublishing.com/books/select/9781908208163/How_Not_To_Murder_Your_Grumpy.html

Other books in the series? Grumpy Old Menopause that featured on BBC Breakfast television. There’s even a website based on both the books where you can find additional information: http://www.gumpyoldmenaopuse.com

How Not to Murder Your Grumpy cover front

What made you start writing? Sleepless nights when plots whirred about in my head and characters kept talking to me until I thought my brain would explode. That, and the fact I’d been writing since I my twenties. I’d written children’s stories and educational books for children but decided I wanted to write for adult. I also wanted to do it full-time and eventually become a household name. I’ve achieved part one and am working hard on part two.

What was your inspiration for this book/series? The non-fiction books were spin-offs from my first novels. I received hundreds of messages and emails form women who read Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines, about a bored housewife who’s facing 50 and whose grumpy husband suddenly retires and gets under her feet. The messages seemed to say the same thing–these women were married to grumpy old men who got under their feet! The women related completely to Amanda and asked if I could offer any sound advice as to how to handle a man about to retire, or a man going through a mid-life crisis.
I find that humour educates, so I used it and wrote How Not to Murder Your Grumpy based on thorough research including using my husband as a guinea. I’ve been delighted at the response to it especially from men who’ve enjoyed the trivia in it, the jokes and who have been inspired enough to have a go at some of the suggestions in it.(No one has owned up to trying out extreme ironing yet, or nude skating.)

I’m resisting the temptation to confess my all at this point, Carol… but perhaps discretion should win out.
Perhaps the biggest question for most of us writers: are you a plotter or a pantser? Plotter. My books have to be completely credible. Plots must be exciting with twists and turns to surprise readers, characters as realistic as I can make them, which means behaving like them a lot of the time, and when writing non-fiction I like to make sure I’m spot on with my research. I spent months trying to discover the best way to murder my husband for a plot. I worried him senseless and even aroused suspicions from others.

Sorry,there was a brief hiatus whilst I googled ‘credible plot’. It was an unfamiliar term for me. How did you decide on the title for Grumpy? I couldn’t decide on this title. I had several but none were exactly right. In the end I asked my publishers, Safkhet Publishing for help and they came up with just the right title.

What is your favourite book? My all-time favourite is Candide by Voltaire. I studied it at university and whether it was the fact I’d had one too many beers ahead of reading it, or the humour and style within the book, I loved it.

What are you working on now? I’ve just finished another romantic comedy that will due for release on October 1st. I’m now working on the third Amanda Wilson-the middle-aged housewife turned blogger, novel- and have a few articles and features to write for various magazines. Recently, I did a crash course in stand-up and am embarking on a series of hour and half long shows about the country, so I won’t have a lot of time for writing.

How do you do your research (if any…)? I use the internet for much of my factual stuff but also hunt down experts in certain fields like menopause and ask them searching questions. I join forums and online groups to get another angle from the man or woman in the street and of course, I have my own network of people, friends and family to ask too. I’m fortunate to know lots of people in many fields from radio shows and magazines, so I can usually get advice from somewhere.

Do you have a favourite place to write? If so, where? I rent a small gite three times a year, in deepest rural France. It is the perfect tranquil retreat where I spend hours watching the hens, sheep and deer outside in the fields while typing my scripts.

Envious now… If you could go anywhere in the world to write your next book, where would you choose? I’d stay in a straw hut on Benguerra Island in Mozambique where sunsets are so deep red they make the sand turn crimson, the air is heady with perfumed flowers, dhows drift by on a foaming white waves and palm trees wave gently in the evening breeze. I’d dip my toes in the sea as night descends, return to my hut, light the oil lamp and write.

Very envious now… so, my favourite question – Have you ever written naked? I live on the top of a very ( and I mean ‘very’) windy hill. It is always cold here. I also live with a grumpy old man who refuses to put the heating on unless it’s eight degrees below freezing. His philosophy is “wear another layer of clothes.” I usually write wearing at least six jumpers, gloves and a bobble hat. If I wrote naked, my teeth would chatter constantly and my hands shake too much to type.

No wonder you dream of going somewhere warm! If you had to be Lost on a desert island, who would be your dream companion? Please don’t make a groaning nose but in spite of the fact I’d rather like a few nights with Jim Caviezel from Person of Interest, it would have to be Mr Grumpy himself. No one else could make me laugh as much, or understand me as well as he does.

Who is your favourite author? There’s this really great guy who writes fantasy fiction about The Banned Underground. I really like his work.

What is your favourite film? Up. I adore that film. It makes me cry every time I see it.

What is your secret ambition? I can’t actually tell you that as I’m in the process of arranging it to launch my new book in October. It’s completely crazy and my husband will probably divorce me once he discovers what I’m up to. Stay tuned and you’ll find out what it is.

How do you stay sane – and write? Quite simply, I don’t. I’ve been slightly bonkers for decades but at least writing allows me to release some of the madness. I pass it on to various characters.

What is your favourite childhood memory? Going to a German Christmas fair with my parents one snowy Winter. I was born in Germany and lived there my young life. It was packed but for a child it was a magical wonderland filled with colour, and excitement. For many years afterwards, Christmas brought back memories of that time and I always try to buy Lebkuchen ( a sort of gingerbread) to remind me of that year. I can still sing some Christmas carols in German.

What is the most blatant lie you have ever told?
About five years ago I had a phase during which strangers would stop me in the street claiming they knew me from somewhere. I got fed up of saying, “I have one of ‘those faces’ that reminds people of someone they know and in fact, you and I have never met”, so I began fabricating stuff. I told one couple I was one of Madonna’s backing singers and another they might have remembered me from an episode of Star Trek as I was often to be seen fiddling with knobs in the control room on the Starship Enterprise. People nodded and said, “That’ll be it!” Now, of course, people have seen me a lot in newspaper articles, or at an event or on television, so I can’t be as silly. And not the answer to the favourite author question at all. Oh no.

Whose writing makes you jealous? I’m not jealous of anyone’s writing. I’m more admiring of certain styles. I think Ben Elton is incredibly witty and Stephen Fry far more erudite than I’ll ever be. However, I have my own ‘chatty’ style and I’m happy enough with it.

It just remains for me to be disappointed Carol didn’t have more time on this stop, and to think her for finding a bit of time to do this post. Ladies and gentlemen, Carol Wyer!

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