LifeOfWriters.com is thrilled to share the intriguing interview with award-winning author Carol Wyer. She writes humorous books and her book Grumpy Old Menopause made Carol Winner of The People's Book Prize Award Non-Fiction 2015. Recently she has started writing thrillers, starting with the best seller Little Girl Lost and now Secrets of the Dead.
Can you tell us how you kept writing your first book when not knowing if it would be published? How does it work now when you are a multi-award winning author writing your book on a deadline?
My first book, a comedy called MINI SKIRTS AND LAUGHTER LINES was written when I was 49. My son had left home and watching him drive away, I suddenly felt my life was over. I was no longer needed as I had been. I made a decision to do some of the things on my bucket list and writing a book for the adult market was one of those high up on it. (I'd written children's books before) The book was about a woman facing 50 and all the problems that entailed - the dreaded 'M' word, a retired, grumpy husband, a wayward son who's boomeranged back into the nest and a party-loving, cabin-smoking, much loved character - Amanda's mother (based on my own outrageous mother). I'd wanted to write it in a diary form but that format had been done so many times, I had to change it.
After thought, I decided she'd write about her life in the form of a blog. To make it authentic, and given I didn't have a clue what a blog was, I started my own. I named it Facing 50 with Humour, like the blog in the book, and my first few months of posts became the first chapters of my book.
I loved writing the blog. It became my passion and honed my writing skills to boot. As it took off, I found I was enjoying writing the blog posts so much, I didn't think about the book not being published. The blog was becoming visited more and more and rapidly gained over 1000 followers. The response to the humorous anecdotes fuelled my enthusiasm for writing the actual book which by then, I was not posting on the blog, and followers were eager to actually read the book.
I submitted Mini Skirts to several agents and was turned down. My ego was bruised but my enthusiasm remained undamaged, so I submitted directly to publishing houses and had a glut of more rejections. I began to wonder if it would become published. In the end, driven by my followers, I self-pubbed it and had a huge online launch party that attracted an incredible number of bloggers, all of whom spread the word, and it became a best-seller. It did so well I was featured in Woman's Own magazine as a best-selling self-pubbed debut author.
Nowadays, reader's response to my books has exactly the same effect as those followers did. Every kind word, email or review keeps me wanting to write and entertain. I've moved from comedy to thrillers but my aim is to entertain, surprise and help people escape from reality for a while. I love writing. it would be fair to say I am passionate about writing. Deadlines keep me on my toes and I spend long periods of time at my laptop, but the result is hugely worthwhile.
What does your typical writing day look like?
Utter chaos! I used to suffer badly from insomnia and worked every night only grabbing a few hours sleep here and there, but last year I was extremely ill and my husband Mr. Grumpy, has since made me slow down, so now my schedule looks like this:
5:30 a.m. get up write until 8:00 a.m. Have breakfast, do housework, get shopping etc.
Start writing again 2 p.m. - 6p.m. Stop for dinner, chat and an hour watching television with el Grumpio. Go to bed at about 9:30 p.m. - wait until he falls asleep and then sneak out to spare bedroom where I type until I'm so tired I can't type any more at about 3 a.m. Go to bed :)
I don't do that every night. Some nights (about 2 out of every 7) I actually sleep.
How long does it take you to write a book? Do you plan before you start and do you use a word count?
From concept to completion takes about a year. When I signed the contract for 7 DI Robyn Carter novels, I submitted synopses and first chapters for each of them, so technically speaking, some will take over 2 years from concept to publication.
When I wrote humor, it would pour forth without a plan but now I always have a synopsis ready before I write. I find writing thrillers that it's imperative to have a good idea of where you're going with the plot, especially if you are involving twists or flashbacks, and also when you have several main characters that are in all the books. It wouldn't do to have DI Robyn Carter suddenly shrink by six inches, change her eye color or accent, so I have all the information about those characters on separate sheets, splattered across my wall like my own private crime investigation board.
I don't necessarily write my chapters in order. Some days I might want to work with the murderer's POV and so I type only those chapters. I then slot them into the novel at the appropriate points. As for word count. I use it but I don't get too fixated on it. the book finishes when the story is told. Edits will always ensure it is lengthened or shortened. I just deleted over 25,000 words in my last book to get it to a more manageable length!
Your own books are filled with humor, but do you also read humorous books or what do you prefer?
I do! I love Ben Elton's books and although they're not humorous as such, I have a penchant for Janet Evanovich. However, my go-to book is always a thriller. I have loved reading them for decades and was brought up on a literary diet of Agatha Christie and Dennis Wheatley. I'm particularly fond of Tess Geritssen and Harlan Coben, but there are so many fantastically talented authors it's hard to know which I prefer.
What is your favorite thing about being an author?
It has to be when somebody loves your book and sends you a message or email to say so. I've had the loveliest responses from people, some from those who've thanked me for helping them through very difficult circumstances and for lifting their spirits.Others have been so complimentary, I've actually blushed. It makes me realize that what I do is so worthwhile.
What is the best writing advice you can give to aspiring writers?
I have two pieces of advice - my first is to not rush your first book. I understand you'll want to get it out there as soon as you've completed it but don't. Take your time, re-read it a month or two after you've written it and make sure it is edited by a proper editor, not Auntie Flo, or Fred who used to teach English. My second piece of advice is to be patient. While you wait for responses from agents and publishers, write a synopsis and a few chapters for a second book.
Get to know more about Carol Wyer:
Amazon UK Author Page : http://www.amazon.co.uk/Carol-
Amazon US Author Page : http://www.amazon.com/Carol-E.
Website 'About Me': http://www.carolwyer.co.uk/