How could you fail to be intrigued with a title like ‘How Not To Murder Your Grumpy’ – almost impossible isn’t it? This weeks Thursday Throng author interview guest is Carol Wyer, the author of the aforementioned book and a further three including the wonderfully titled ‘Surfing in Stiletto’s‘. As you might imagine from just these two books, Carol has a quirky sense of humour that does justice to the topics she approaches. One lucky person is also going to win a free signed copy of How Not To Murder Your Grumpy too – just leave a comment at the end of the interview to be in with a chance to learn more.
If you are a woman of a certain age then you’ll understand the meaning of the word ‘frustration’ when your wonderful partner of many years, who has faithfully gone out of their way to be out of your way, suddenly finds themselves at home with nothing to occupy themselves in the world that has become ‘retirement’. They want to get involved in everything, from your activities to the cooking; generally trying to take over what has, up till now, been a lovely serene (sic!) life.
How Not To Murder Your Grumpy is a laughter filled, humourous look at all the things you could encourage the curmudgeon in your life to get involved with, listed in alphabetical order. With over 700 ideas contained within its pages, it is impossible not to find something to tempt your other half. It is also a brilliant resource to have hanging around, just when you need a wonderful piece of trivia to share with friends or relatives over supper or to lighten the mood. I mean, who could fail to be fascinated by the chap from Sweden who has collected 7,000 Kinder surprise toys or that the world’s largest paper crane (origami) was created in Seattle by Wings for Peace and had a wing span of 215 feet. Carol’s style is laid back, casual and fun; with some you’ll wonder how on earth anyone would want to do ‘that’, with others you’ll think ‘mmmm that sounds nice‘.
Published 1st June 2013 and available to pre-order on Amazon.
What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?
I tend to be very open about who I am and what I have done. In fact some of the more outrageous episodes are written into my novels; although I’d be loathe to confess which ones are actually about me. I suppose the one thing no one would know is that I am able to play the 1970s hit Popcorn on my jaw using only my fingers. I realise that is the sign of a misspent youth but I taught myself to do that and juggle. Those lengthy school holidays had a lot to answer for.
Are the names of your characters important to you?
I choose my names carefully. They have to suit the character so, yes, they are important, but only to that character. I chose Amanda Wilson as my protagonist because it was a nice everyday name and Amanda is an everywoman character. I think I subconsciously also chose it because her initials are the same as my son’s. I couldn’t think of a suitable name for her party-loving mother so I left her to be just Amanda’s mum. In Surfing in Stilettos, it became apparent what her name was. She is a woman who would give anything to make her daughter happy, even though the daughter doesn’t realise it. She became Grace. The character I found easiest to name is the marvellous French woman who befriends Amanda when she is abandoned in France; Bibi Chevalier. There is a link between her name and the fact she “saves” Amanda.
Are there any occupational hazards to being an author?
It’s not so much an occupational hazard but while I am writing I eat chewy fruit sweets, usually shaped like bears. I know it’s terrible for my waistline and awful for my teeth, but when I work overnight to get a novel completed, I can’t help myself and wolf down packet upon packet of them. I tried changing to liquorice but that made my teeth look black at times when the stuff got trapped in between the teeth and I also suffered stomach trouble. (We don’t need to go into that in detail.)
I am very careful about cleaning my teeth and make regular trips to the dentist so I still have most of my pearly whites even if they are covered in crowns and veneers.
Have you ever wished that you could be or do anything else instead of writing, and if so what?
I would have loved to have been an entertainer of some description; maybe a television presenter an actress or better still, a comedienne. Probably not a pole dancer though. I thoroughly enjoy making people laugh, hence all my books are humorous. Being a bit of an attention seeker, standing up in front of an audience and entertaining them would be my ideal occupation especially if I could get them chuckling wildly. I went a similar route before writing and became a teacher. I gave some of the best performances of my life during those years!
What is the single biggest challenge you faced when writing your book?
Like many writers I walk around with a head crammed full of characters, plots, dialogue and ideas all waiting to spill out. Finding time to get typing and release the pressure building up inside my head has been the single most difficult challenge.
My husband has retired and is around the house 24/7. He is always interrupting to ask if I want a cup of coffee (in other words would I like to go and make him a cup of coffee) or needs me to hold one end of a shelf while he fiddles around for hours looking for a screwdriver and fixings to put it up. I am his full time playmate, and not in a good way.
I started writing at nights to combat this problem. That worked for my first novel, Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines. However, as soon as it was completed, my head began filling up with more plots and characters, but I couldn’t type because we were moving house.
Twenty-five years of rubbish and belongings had to be packaged up by yours truly, and arrangements made to move. New furniture had to be purchased, builders had to be cajoled and we had eleven very stressful months during which time I was unable to type a single word. I thought my head would explode.
We are now settled, of a fashion, having been beset with problems since we moved in, but my own Mr Grumpy still interrupts me on a regular basis. At least I can go back to nocturnal activity now as long as I keep chugging the caffeine and eating the sweets.
Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?
When you first start out there is a huge amount to tackle but I would say take your time. Don’t be in a hurry to get work published. Check out useful websites like Indies Unlimited, where you’ll find all sorts of tips, tutorials and articles to help you on your way to becoming a writer. Join some author/writing groups on LinkedIn or Facebook and make friends. They will prove to be invaluable. I could give lots more tips but the most important thing of all is to ensure that whatever you write is good quality. That is fundamental to success.
What has been the best experience you have ever had in your life?
I have led a charmed life and been very fortunate to have some incredible experiences including scuba diving a wreck, flying a helicopter and quad biking in South African mountains. They have all been amazing but the best experience was a more sobering one. Spinal problems wrecked some of my younger life and when I was twenty-one I underwent a procedure that left me in a state of paralysis. I found myself at home, stuck in bed and wondering where my life was going.
Youth is obstinate and so I forced myself into mobilisation, practising each day when my parents were at work. After a few weeks I could actually move my legs and stand if I held onto the bedside. I cannot stress how difficult it was. It took every ounce of determination to get my legs to work.
The effort was worth it. My father came home from work one lunch time as he did every day while I was stranded at home and came to see me in my room. I told him that I thought I could manage a few steps. I can still recall the look on my father’s face as he watched me manage to walk along the landing. That look was the best thing I have ever experienced.
What was the most important thing you learned at school?
Being the class clown wins you lots of friends even though it hampers your schoolwork. I had quite a turbulent time at school even though I loved lessons and learning. My parents were in the Forces so I moved school many times. Each time I moved it became harder and harder to make friends or get included into groups where children had known each other for a long time. I had some miserable days huddled on my own in a playground because I had started the term halfway through, after children had already build alliances with others. I was very much the outsider. It got worse, the older I got. Luckily (!) I was blessed with three props: front false teeth (thanks to an accident), very long hair and National Health blue framed spectacles.
I managed to gain popularity by taking my teeth out and gurning at people in the class or by brushing my hair forward so I looked like a gonk and then placing my glasses over the hair – I probably resembled Cousin It from The Addams Family. I was also able to mimic people and tell jokes which got me accepted. I discovered at an early age that laughter can help overcome all sorts of barriers and stressful times. It might also help you fail Chemistry GCSE.
How to Win a Copy of How Not To Murder your Grumpy
To be in with a chance of winning a free, signed copy of How Not to Murder your Grumpy, all you need to do is leave a comment for Carol at the end of this blog post. At the end of next month or early June we’ll pick a winner and let them know they’ll get the book.
Where can you find out more about Carol Wyer and buy her books?
Carol is prolific on the web and social networks, as you’d expect someone who has written about prospering in a digital world. Her primary links are all listed here:
- Website: carolewyer.co.uk
- Blog: facing50withhumour.com
- Facebook: facebook.com/pages/Carol-E-Wyer/221149241263847
- Twitter: twitter.com/carolewyer
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/author/show/5061207.Carol_E_Wyer
If you can’t wait until the end of next month to find out if you have won the coveted signed copy, then you can pre-order your own copy of How Not To Murder Your Grumpy or pick up one of Carol’s other books from Amazon by visiting her author pages in the UK and the US.
You can also find Carol hanging out in the following places too:
- FeedARead (Paperback version) Surfing in Stilettos : feedaread.com/books/SURFING-IN-STILETTOS-9781781764886.aspx
- FeedARead (Paperback version) Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines: feedaread.com/books/MINI-SKIRTS-AND-LAUGHTER-LINES-9781908481818.aspx
- loveahappyending.com: loveahappyending.com/carol-e-wyer/
- Thornberry Publishing: thornberrypublishing.com/page10.htm
- Safkhet Publishing: safkhetpublishing.com/authors/Carol_Wyer.htm
- Member of Romantic Novelists Association: romanticnovelistsassociation.org/index.php/about/author/carol_wyer
Why ‘The Thursday Throng’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.
If you would like to see all the Authors who have been featured on The Thursday Throng you can click here: womanontheedgeofreality.com/2012/06/17/the-thursday-throng/