Featured Author – Carol E. Wyer

HZ6G9587Good day Carol! I’m glad you could free up some time to join me on my blog today.

For those who do not know you already, I’d like to start with some ‘personal’ questions. If that’s okay with you? *Carol nods.* (She can’t answer, because she’s just stuffed her face with my chocolate brownies.)

Are you a traveller, or a rooter? i.e. have you always lived in the same place?

Great first question because I love travelling. I was born in Germany thanks to my father being in the army, and moved about all my young life, rarely staying anywhere longer than a year, so travelling is in my blood. I get itchy feet if I stay somewhere for too long.

As soon as I finished university, I went to Morocco to teach. I came back to the UK because I was offered a very good job at a private school. My intention was to stay in the UK for a couple of years, make enough money to leave again and head for Japan. My plans went awry when I met my husband-to-be and instead of jet-setting off around the world, I stayed in the UK. We compromised though and for eleven years I spent a quarter of each year living in France. Nowadays, we travel as much as possible. See that’s what love does? It messes up your travelling plans!

How do you feel about getting older?

Haha! I actually grinned when I read this question. I don’t actually mind getting older. As my father used to say to me when I teased him about getting old, “At least I can say I have enjoyed all these years.” I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my life too and although getting older can mean you are faced with challenges, such as failing health and sadness, it comes with its rewards. I can now behave as badly as I want and get away with it! My mother is a wonderful role model for this because even at eighty she still manages to be the life and soul at parties. She could drink a Navvie under the table and outparty a seventeen year old.

I’ve found some golden oldies that would love to meet her.

grandpa dance

I have aches, pains and poor eyesight. I have whiskers and wrinkles but inside I am still that youthful person who enjoys Disney films, eighties music and who will giggle at silly things. That helps me as I get older.

You’re my kind of woman!

Were you always this bubbly and generally fun person?

That’s a very nice way of putting it as I have been called “irritatingly cheerful” on more than one occasion and am the sort of person you dread seeing if you are not a ‘morning’ person. So, in brief I guess the answer is an emphatic ‘yes!’ If you need a laugh…I’m your girl (or should that read woman…ageing dowager?)

Hahaha, keep ’em coming. 🙂

Can you tell us a bit about your path leading to this writing loop we’re stuck in, and is writing all you do nowadays?

The path is long and I don’t want to bore you all but I have written for many years. I started writing children’s stories when I lived in Casablanca in my twenties with great titles such as Humphrey the Camel and the Dustbin Cats. When I lived in France, I wrote a series of animal stories that taught French to younger children and even produced a cassette of songs to accompany them. (No, I didn’t sing the songs. I sound like a dustbin cat.) They stories were used in schools to teach French to children aged three and worked very well.

Following a change in career, I then worked on a wonderful project—a book about how to lose weight, become super-fit and more youthful. It went to a publishing house that liked it hugely but then a celebrity came out with a similar book from a rival publishing house, and my book was rejected because I wasn’t famous enough.

I began writing for adults when my son left home. By then it was number one on my ‘Things I have always wanted to do but life got in the way’ list. My first novel Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines became a best-seller and earned me a lot of media attention including a whole page feature in Woman’s Own, one of our top magazines. The rest is history. The paperback version of my third novel is out 15th November and my second non-fiction humorous book Grumpy Old Menopause will be out 1st December with more books to come next year.

That sounds like you’ve really made things work for you, but to have your talent to spin a yarn in a way that makes you smile to say the least does help.

What is the best thing that could happen to you on any given day? And what is the best thing that happened to you so far?

I was tempted to say Tom Cruise popping by for coffee in answer to the first part of that question. This response is going to sound connived but in all seriousness if someone sends me an email or writes a review about one of my books, saying how much they have enjoyed it, I’ll be on cloud nine all day. Obviously, if I got a call from television centre saying they needed me for an interview on a prime TV show, then that would make me squeal loudly and frighten my husband. One of the best things that happened recently was discovering that my non-fiction humorous book How Not to Murder Your Grumpy has made it through to the finals for the People’s Book Prize in May 2014. I am ridiculously excited about that.

That’s not ridiculous at all, I’d be yapping about it all day to everyone if that happened to one of my books. So good for you!

For those that want to know more about you, Carol can be found online at:

Safkhet Publishing, her website, blogFacebookTwitter, and Goodreads

Thanks for answering my questions with such zeal. I love a woman who can handle a good joke. Hahahaha. But that’s not all you are here for, is it? I guess you want to tell us about your writerly things.

So, what is the title of the book you would like to talk about?

It must be an age thing. I had to check my titles to see which one we were talking about. Just Add Spice is my choice today.


Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?

I have to confess that I asked my followers and friends for ideas with this title and for confirmation that they liked it. I am the worlds worst at choosing titles. My first book was A Twinkle in Your Wrinkle until twenty-four hours before it was published. Writing the book is no trouble, but titles worry me. I become very indecisive. It’s because I know how important it is to have a gripping title. I go into meltdown and worry the title isn’t good enough.

I am very happy with this title though because I am someone who loves playing about with words so the title, as do all my titles, serve a dual purpose. Think “Sugar and spice and all things nice…” and you’ll be getting close to it. Cinnamon’s mother used the rhyme to name her daughter after a spice, but of course, life changes Cinnamon into a dark character. Obviously, Dawn desperately needs some spice in her life. Put the two together and read the end of the book and you will have the answer!


Tell me more! Give us a taste of it, pretty please?

We all need to inject some excitement into our lives from time to time, but if you, like housewife Dawn Ellis, whose sunny facade masks a lifetime of disappointment, then what do you do to escape from your reality?Demure Dawn Ellis, is trapped in a loveless marriage and a dull existence but is afraid to break away. Her escape comes in her writing and in the form of a character, Cinnamon Knight, a woman who does exactly as she wants and takes no nonsense from anyone. Cinnamon is an avenging angel, part Lara Croft, and part Wonder woman. She is bold and fearless, strong and independent—created solely by Dawn’s own imagination.Taking her writing mentor’s advice a little too seriously, Dawn works hard to create a more lifelike Cinnamon. She begins to method write and attempts to get into the character’s mind. However, it is clear that Cinnamon is the stronger of the two and soon she begins to take over her hapless creator. The more Dawn writes about Cinnamon, the more powerful Cinnamon becomes and soon the line between reality and fiction blurs. Cinnamon is about to break free from the pages and invade Dawn’s life, transforming it forever.Just Add Spice is a light-hearted read but hidden beneath the humour is the stark reality that life is short, relationships are not always what they seem and opportunities should not be wasted.

Chapter One

The windows in the old Golf GTI were almost completely steamed up, thanks to the activities of the middle-aged woman and the young man inside it. The sudden rapid barking of a dog in the distance made the woman jump. She was already sweating and aware of a rancid aroma pervading the car. It most certainly was coming from her partner–in-crime. He turned his head towards her and scowled.

“Hurry up, will you? I could have finished this twenty minutes ago.”

Dawn shrank at the reprimand. He might have been twenty-five years her junior, but he oozed menace. His dark eyes burrowed into hers.

“It’s not easy. My knees hurt from being in this uncomfortable position, and my glasses keep slipping down my nose, which makes it much harder to see. You wait until you get to my age. The world becomes all foggy, and then you start bumping into objects like doors and cupboards …” She trailed off. He continued to level his cold stare at her. She squirmed, then took a deep breath, and shoved her glasses back up onto the bridge of her nose for the umpteenth time. She scrabbled about again searching out the wires that had dropped down. “I should have stolen a motorbike. It must be easier than this. Or a mobility scooter,” she mumbled.

“You’re quite funny, you know?” he muttered, peering out of the window. “Keep low. There’s the old man from down the road, walking his dog. Don’t want him seeing us.”

They both dropped down in the seats until the pensioner had gone by. The dog stopped at the next lamppost and cocked its leg against it.

“Okay,” he whispered. He drew himself up a little, huffed onto the passenger window steaming it further with his acrid breath and then drew a smiley face on it. “Dodgy knees and bad eyesight. Suppose that’s why middle-aged women don’t generally try to hot-wire cars.”

She ignored the comment and continued to fumble with the wires. The smart arse lying next to her in the VW Golf, had been trying to teach her how to break into the car and hot-wire it. She could get in the car easily enough, but the hot-wiring was proving impossible. In the darkness, she couldn’t see which wire went where. Despite the specially insulated thick gloves he had demanded she wore to prevent shocks, she didn’t possess the same dexterity as MJ. Her left leg was going numb again because MJ also insisted she stayed in the obligatory slumped stance to avoid detection by passing Filth—his preferred name for the police. At that moment, she was regretting getting herself into this situation. Her back ached, and her right knee was beginning to throb.

“Almost there,” she whispered. At last, she had the correct wires grasped clumsily in her hands. She only needed to pull gently to ensure they would touch to get the car started, when a loud thumping

on the roof of the car made her shriek loudly and drop the wires.

“You’re supposed to be the look out!” she yelped at MJ.

MJ shrugged his shoulders. “They must have sneaked up on me when I dozed off with boredom,” he replied and grinned at her, revealing brown-stained teeth. “You’ve taken so long, it’s not surprising you got caught. It probably took less time to build the car than you to hot-wire it,” he added and smiled again. “Still, you didn’t do too badly. It took me a few months to learn how to do it properly.

My cellmate was very patient.”

A face appeared at the driver’s window.

“For goodness sake! Have you two not finished messing about in my car yet?”

Dawn took in a deep breath, which was probably a mistake, given the sour smell pervading the car. She opened the door and crawled out.

“Sorry, son. I thought I’d have cracked this by now, but I can’t get the hang of it. I can’t get the wires to touch. It’s like threading a needle and missing its eye with the cotton every time. My eyesight must be even worse than I suspected. I’d better get some new lenses for these glasses.”

“I need my car to collect Phoebe from her friend’s, so soz, but you’ll have to give up. Hi, MJ!” he added as MJ slunk out of the car with one stealthy, feline movement. They tapped fists together in a

show of camaraderie.

“I think I’ll have to forget it altogether,” Dawn continued, pulling off the gloves and handing them back to MJ. “I don’t think it would be viable for a woman my age to hot-wire a car like this. I’d need to be slimmer, younger, and a lot more flexible.”

MJ nodded in agreement.

“Don’t worry. I have faith in your devious mind. You’ll come up with another idea. You’d better get off home. Dad will be getting suspicious. I’ll drop MJ back off at his place, once he’s put the car

back together,” he added, surveying the mess of wires hanging out.

Dawn nodded. “It’s all right. Your father thinks I’m at a special meeting with the writing group. I told him we needed to do some research for our writing. This classifies as research. I must say I

thought it would be easier than this. It seemed simple enough, according to the internet, and MJ has been a very good teacher.”

MJ looked embarrassed by this compliment and pulled out a scruffy packet of tobacco from the back of his jeans, which hung low on his scrawny backside.

“I might have to try a different tactic now. MJ explained tonight that these old cars are the only cars you can hot-wire these days. The new models are impossible unless you have the actual key for them. I’ll have to work out a different way of stealing a car.”

Her son grinned back at her. “Yeah, right, research. I hope that’s all it is. I don’t want to have to visit you in jail.”

She smiled and hugged her son, then waved goodbye to MJ, who had wandered off away from them both, pulled out some cigarette papers, and was rolling a long thin cigarette.

“Cheers, MJ. Thanks for trying to help.”

“S’okay. Anything for the Big Man,” he mumbled, seeking out a well-used lighter from inside a jacket pocket. “You did okay, really. Another few lessons and you’ll get the hang of it.”

The Big Man—her son, Dan—grinned again.

“Night, Mum. Don’t worry, I won’t tell Dad you were here.”

If you would have to change the genre in order to be able to publish it, what would it be then? i.e. would you conform to the market?

I wonder if I could get away with calling it a light-hearted thriller? Conform? Me? I don’t generally conform to anything.

Can you tell me how you celebrate finally getting that tricky chapter (or para) right?

An air punch and Snoopy dance followed by a bag of Jelly Snake sweets. Mr Grumpy my husband doesn’t understand my excitement so I keep celebrations low key.

What don’t you like about writing.

Being disturbed I HATE being interrupted. My poor husband doesn’t appreciate that I am absorbed and I don’t want a coffee, walk, watch television or to eat dinner but insists on dragging me away from the computer.

What do you think you are going to do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to books?

It’s more a case of what haven’t I tried for marketing. You name it and I have had a go at it. I found that a good radio interview or major magazine article attracted the most attention to my books and I make good sales when I do virtual book tours. I’m doing two month long book tours in November. One is UK based and the other is USA based. That’ll keep me busy.

Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?

No, but scoff endless packets of sweets when I am writing. I used to eat Midget Gems, a hard chewy sweet, but after each book I had to go to the dentist and have my teeth fixed, so now I eat softer jelly sweets

What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe?

I am a lousy cook but I can do excellent stews, especially French stews. They are easy because you only have to throw all the ingredients into a crock pot slow cooker and leave it for a day or two. That means I can spend more time typing. Slow cooked Boeuf Bourguignon is my favourite dish. If you want the recipe, click here.

Would you be able to come up with a credible excuse why you haven’t written a whole day? Remember, I have to believe it!

The only reason I wouldn’t write would be because I had a mammoth hangover and the noise of the typing was making me feel sick. Or, I was diving all day. That sea water can play havoc with your notebook and pencil.

Okay now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something none has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂

I’m not sure I have any blab material left. I am always blabbing in my books and on my blog. However, because it’s you and I know you won’t tell anyone, I can divulge that thanks to my father’s connections, I once had Boxing day lunch at the Houses of Parliament. It involved a lot of wine and joviality and a private tour around afterwards. We were shown all the prestigious parts that the public generally can’t visit. I weaved about and we ended up at the House of Commons. We went into one particular area that is roped off and out of bounds to everyone–the throne that the Queen sits on when Parliament begins each session. Yes, before you could say “crown jewels”, fuelled by a bottle of wine and several glasses of port, I was on that throne, waving imperiously and imitating her Royal Majesty. There is photographic evidence of the event but my mother has that and periodically pulls it out to entertain her friends.

I am known for behaving mischievously. Another episode involved a day trip to Venice. I was on a bus filled with tourists for a trip. When we got off the bus we were told to follow the tour guide. She held up a large rolled up umbrella so we could see her in the crowd. She didn’t go anywhere I wanted to go and after a dull hour in front of some building listening to her monotonous voice, I thought I’d inject some fun into the proceedings, so while she was dealing with map and not paying attention; I casually picked up her umbrella and walked off waving it in the air. I managed to get most of the coach to follow me all the way to a smart bar on St Mark’s square before she caught up and took it off me. Seems I wasn’t the only one who was bored. 

Hahaha, that sounds like the end of a tour I would have enjoyed. Thanks Carol for being here and answering all these questions. Do come back if you have more news, or just a fun article you’d like to offer me for publication.

My question to the readers is, “Do you have enough humour in your life?”


8 thoughts on “Featured Author – Carol E. Wyer

  1. Many thanks indeed for hosting me here, Lucy. I am so sorry that I scoffed all the chocolate brownies! I hope you got the chocolate stains out of your cream sofa! It has been such a pleasure to be here. Thank you again. am now off to buy some more Jelly Snakes to celebrate the release of Just Add Spice in paperback…a writer needs sustenance!

  2. Carol, if I was hosting a party for authors, you’d be at the top of my list, I assure you. What a great interview! Lucy is a gracious host, isn’t she? Can’t say she played fair with me, though. She plied me with Bailey’s-spiked coffee until I spilled all 🙂
    Wonderful job, you two 🙂
    Duly blogged, tweeted, faced, linked, pinned, googled, tumbled, and stumbled!


  3. Pingback: Lucy Pireel features the delightful (and best-selling author) Carol E. Wyer…it’s a hoot! | Thomas Rydder

  4. There are people that say I laugh too much, but sometimes things look or become so absurd that there is no alternative. Great interview. I envy you all that traveling. The best of luck to a happy person. Oh, I did Tweet for you. And one more thing. You cannot be old if the eighties music is your preference. That is my children’s era. I’l go with the happy rock melodies of the 50’s.

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