Saturday, 21 January 2017

Back Catalogue Books - Q&A with Carol Wyer - Blog Tour

Back Catalogue Books is my new regular Saturday feature, focusing on books that are not the latest releases. There is going to be a mix of Q&As and also reviews, depending on what I have the space for. 

If you are an author wanting to take part in Back Catalogue Books then please do email on gilbster at gmail dot com and I'll whizz the questions over to you. 

I hope everyone enjoys this weekly look back at some of the slightly older books that are about but still great, and that I eventually make a dent in my TBRs as a result of it!

I am delighted to interview Carol Wyer today. I have read a couple of her newer books and now we are going to find out even more about her work.

Thank you very much for having me here. I am Carol Wyer, a humorous blogger and writer who have recently gone over to the dark side and am now writing thrillers. However, I cut my writing teeth on comedy and a couple of years ago, took a crash course in stand up, so when I’m not writing, I do comedy talks. It’s going to be more difficult in the future, to get jokes about psychotic murderers into my routine.

1) Please tell me about your first book, and what started you writing in the first place

Once upon a time there was a woman, facing fifty with all that that entails, whose son had just flown the nest and whose husband had become retired and was under her feet all day. Her life had suddenly ended. She was no longer a mum used to ironing, cleaning, filling up the fridge and cleaning out a stinking bedroom, or a useful wife to a businessman, sorting out meals and dinner parties, or ironing crisp shirts every day.

The woman suddenly felt she had lost her identity. So she wrote a bucket list and had a go at some of the things on it. Top of the list was to write a book. She had already written children’s educational stories, but she wanted to tackle something that would resonate with men and women in their forties facing challenges of their own. So she did.

Her first book was about a woman facing fifty who lived with a grumpy, recently retired, man and a son who’d boomeranged back into the nest after failing at university. The woman, Amanda Wilson, turns to blogging as a way to release her frustrations and recount the ridiculous things that happen to her, then meets an old flame online and her world is turned upside down.  Based on me? (Coughs and moves swiftly on.)

I wanted to write a book that would appeal to a slightly older reader, not a twenty-something-year-old, and had intended it to be in diary format. I woke up one night and thought that would be boring so I wrote it in the form of blog posts – hilarious episodes that actually linked up to create a sensitive look at friendships, love and getting older. I had no idea what a blog was at that stage but in a weird twist of fate, I discovered my own blog, like Amanda’s took off and I made a whole new host of friends.

The star of the book was not the main character Amanda, nor her husband Phil, but her party-loving, chain-smoking, booze-addled mother, who was, I confess, based on my own. Amanda’s mum became so wildly loved by readers, I was forced to write a sequel. My own mother delighted in being the crazy character and in fact, became even more badly behaved in real life, which of course, gave me loads more material for the book.

The book was originally self-published but did so well, it and I were featured in Woman’s Own magazine as a best-selling author.

Although I had trouble thinking up a title, and for the whole year I wrote it, it was called A Twinkle in My Wrinkle, (I know!) I eventually changed it to Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines.

2) How many books have you written and what are they?

Amazon UK

I have just begun my thirteenth book, which is the third in the DI Robyn Carter series. All my books prior to that were humorous, with six fiction and three non-fiction titles. (Two are queued up at Bookouture for future release and one other is due out 19th January.)

Mini Skirts and Laughter lines was followed by Surfing in Stilettos, its sequel, set in France where I used to live. It follows Amanda’s adventures as she and her husband take a gap year that goes wrong. It is as one newspaper put it, “a bouillabaisse of wit and comedy”.

Just Add Spice is about a woman who joins a writing group (a mishmash of fun characters). She is advised to get into her main character’s mind. Her debut novel is about a leather-thigh-boot wearing; Lara Croft-a-like, far unlike her own character, and as the lines between reality and fiction blur, Dawn’s life changes dramatically.

Life Swap is, well, I can’t tell you what it’s about without spoiling the whole book. It has an ending you will never guess in a million years, and when we launched it on Twitter, it trended at number one, and my Twitter account was stuffed full with celeb comments, including some from Dawn French.
Take A Chance On Me is inspiring, uplifting and with some characters you want to live with you. I didn’t want it to finish. I still fancy bringing some of them back, especially Bert the Parrot.

Amazon UK
Love Hurts is a collection of short stories that are a mixture of light and dark stories and have a very gruesome tale to kick them off. These were my testing ground to see if I was capable of writing dark tales with twists.

My three non-fiction books are called the Grumpy series. They kick off with How Not to Murder Your Grumpy which is a humorous look at keeping a retired grumpy guts entertained by giving him a choice of 700 hobbies and activities, ranging from the totally crazy to outrageous. It will not only make you laugh like mad but will keep him out of your hair. It featured on Simon Mayo’s Drivetime Show on BBC Radio 2, and made a fleeting appearance on BBC Breakfast television when I was interviewed about my second book, Grumpy Old Menopause – a survival guide to that time of your life. Grumpy Old Menopause is intended to educate but mostly to make to have a darn good giggle, which in turn will help you get through this stage.

Grumpies On Board is an alternative guide to travel that will ensure you never spend another holiday besides a swimming pool reading – oh bother. Did you just say that’s what you enjoy most?

3) Yes Carol, I do happen to love spending my holidays by the pool reading, I may not read Grumpies on Board in that case! So, which book are you most proud of writing?

It was Take A Chance On Me but now I have to say Little Girl Lost because it has proved I am capable of writing in a genre I have always loved to read. I am ridiculously proud of the book and dare I say it? It is one of my best.

4) Which book was your favourite to write?

Amazon UK
The book I am currently writing is always my favourite. I must say, Take A Chance On me was dearest to me as it was written from my heart. I had to spend an excruciatingly long time in hospital when I was in my teens and twenties and at that time, we weren’t sure if I’d walk again. The book represents hope to anyone who is struggling with loss, life and health. It shows you that it can get better if you have friendship, a positive attitude and hope. One drunken night, Charlie and her best friend, Mercedes swap bucket lists, each promising to try all the challenges on the others. What follows is not just comedy, but an awakening as each character finds out about themselves. I actually tried out all the challenges on Charlie’s list including the one she is terrified of doing – the shark dive.

5) Who are your favourite characters from your books and why?

Mercedes in Take a Chance on Me. She may be wheelchair bound but she is sharp-witted, and has some of the best lines I have written.

I enjoyed Cinnamon Knight in Just Add Spice too. I got into character myself when writing about her and scared old Grumpy witless.

DI Robyn Carter because she is strong-willed but flawed and I have quite a few plans for her in the next few books. 

6) If you could go back and change anything from any of your books, what would it be, and why?

Although I am not happy with some of the language, grammar and feel my earlier books could now be rewritten, I wouldn’t change them. They show my own journey as a writer. They are what they are, warts and all. I’d rather concentrate on getting better at my craft than rewriting.

7) Which of your covers if your favourite and why?

Amazon UK
This is such a hard question because I had all my covers redone by talented Amy Coveney when my back catalogue got moved to Delancey Press. I really like them all. The cover for Surfing in Stilettos is beautiful and conjures up France so well, but Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines is striking. My favourite though is the newest cover for Little Girl Lost, created by Richard Augustus for Bookouture. I love this cover. Richard Augustus created some of the covers for Bernard Cornwell and Wilbur Smith’s novels. And that makes me feel very special.

8) Have you ever thought about changing genres, if so what else would you like to write?

I don’t think I’d try any other genres for the moment. I’m happily sticking to thrillers for now although don’t be surprised to see the odd RomCom appearing again. 

9) Looking forward can you let us know what you are working on next?

I’ve completed the second in the DI Carter series and am plotting book three. I can’t tell you too much as it is at the plotting stage and that will change many times before I am happy with it. What I can say is that DI Carter is going to be finding life a lot more complicated because her nemesis Shearer is promoted to DCI and becomes her boss.

10) I dare not ask for a favourite author, but is there any author’s back catalogue you admire and why?

Robert Bryndza. I’ve ‘known’ him since he first started writing, and I so wished I had written the Coco Pinchard series myself. They are hilarious. Then he also joined the dark side and I wish I had written Girl In The Ice!

11) Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about your back catalogue of books?

There is something for everyone – honestly. If you need a pick-me-up then those are the books for you. I am an observer of life and that’s what makes them relevant to everybody. I get hundreds of emails from readers who often say, you were writing about me! Of course I am. I write about situations that most people will come across in their lives. If you want a laugh, try them. After all, we should all try to smile while we have teeth.

I have loved hearing about your first book, and it's making me really want to try out your books from before you were published with Bookouture. I hope you had a wonderful publication day for Little Girl Lost yesterday and wish you every success with your new series. 

About Carol Wyer

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, has had some rave reviews and shows Carol has found her true niche. 

Amazon UK Author Page | Amazon US Author Page | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Member of Romantic Novelists Association | Linkedin | Pinterest | YouTube | BBC Interview


Follow along with the Little Girl Lost blog tour. 


(Detective Robyn Carter crime thriller series Book 1) 

Out on January 19th:

A perfect family hiding disturbing secrets. A killer who wants the truth to be told. 

A teacher is found dead, close to the school where he works. 

A millionaire is murdered at a local reservoir. 

For Detective Robyn Carter, there’s no obvious link between the victims. Apart from one thing. The bodies both have the same grisly trophy beside them - a bloodstained toy rabbit. 

As Robyn starts to delve into the lives of the two dead men, 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? 

But as Robyn starts to inch closer to finding the killer, Izzy is abducted. 

Unless Robyn gets to the twisted individual in time, a little girl will die …

Gripping, fast paced and nail bitingly tense, this serial killer thriller will chill you to the bone. Discover Carol Wyer’s new series – at a special launch price.

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