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Why being Born is important: the author explains

Born of Nothing Book Cover Born of Nothing
(The Fae Games #4)
Jill Ramsower
Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Jill Ramsower
Publication date: March 5th 2019

It was over before it began. A druid woman and a Fae man—we were two people from different worlds, only by chance did our paths happen to cross. He was beautiful and damaged and totally captivating. If only I could have continued to buy into the propaganda of fear and hate my people had taught me about the Fae, then maybe I would have believed him to be the savage he appeared to be. Instead, I offered the cryptic man my help. The time I spent with him allowed me to see the man he was behind the chiseled, formal exterior. What developed between us was tender, intimate, and totally unexpected. My druid family was not as enlightened as I was. My mom didn’t want me near the Fae; she certainly never would have understood that I had developed feelings for a Fae man. I tried to keep my private life a secret. I tried to keep the peace, but my mother’s threats and intolerance left me with no choice. I had to make the hardest decision of my life. I had to leave the only family I’d ever known. I just never imagined what I’d face when I didn’t make it out in time…

Questions for Authors:

  1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

The Fae Games Series encompasses a number of genres. The duet that started the series is more traditional Fantasy Romance, however, each spin-off evolved into its own story. When I began to write Ashley and Cat’s books, I wanted to be true to their characters rather than write a story that “fit” in the exact same style as the first two books. That makes my series a bit tricky to categorize because the books vary as the series progresses. Cat’s story in Born of Nothing is substantially more emotional than the other books while her love story is more tender and sweeter than Rebecca and Ashley’s. Similarly, the same action-packed adventure would not have befitted Cat as it did the other ladies. I think this makes my books somewhat unusual because most series tend to stick to a certain formula. Fortunately, as an indie author, I have the freedom to dictate my own path, and I love how the series has unfolded.

  • How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time? How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

I haven’t been at this long, but so far, I tend to focus on one story at a time. I do have a collection of story ideas set aside, but I only delve into an idea once I’ve decided on it as my next project. I thrive on organization. Developing multiple storylines at once sounds entirely too chaotic for my taste. I spend a couple weeks developing a story, then a couple more fleshing out the outline and researching. Born of Nothing came together faster than any of my other books; it practically wrote itself. I had the book fully outlined in about a week! I’ve started outlining the next book, but its plot is more complex, and the outline process is taking substantially more time.

  • Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist? Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?

I don’t have any experience with acquiring an agent or traditional publishing, so I can’t speak on that endeavour. However, I’ve quickly become well-versed at self-publishing. What I would tell a new author is to enter publishing like you would any other business—come with start-up capital. There are so many options out there for readers, you will have to spend money to get your work in front of those readers (not to mention production costs). I’ve been extremely fortunate that at six months from publishing my first book, I am covering my expenses—that is to say, I’m breaking even. While money is coming in, it’s not going in my pocket. AMS sponsored product ads are crucial in my experience, and I would recommend keeping your prices low to encourage sales, which boosts your rank (helps your placement in Amazon algorithms). There’s so much involved in publishing, it’s definitely an art in itself.

  • What do you read when you are ill in bed? What is your favourite genre?

I love all things romance. I often quit reading a book if there’s no obvious romantic thread. I’ll read historical, contemporary, new adult, erotica, paranormal… However, I’m not a fan of insta-love or super sweet romance. I love a bad boy, anti-hero and complexity to my characters.

  • What have you done with the things you wrote when in school?

I had no aspirations of writing earlier in life, so I have no secret manuscripts tucked away from school. That would be nice, but no. My parents were stunned when I called to tell them I’d written a book and planned to publish it myself. At 40, I did an about-face and changed careers from university contract attorney to romance author—who would have thought?!

  • Do you have any pets?
    • If so, what are they?
    • And what are they called?
    • Do they help you write?
    • What is the funniest thing they have done while you are writing?
    • Do you want to add a photo of them to this Q&A?

Golden Retriever—Joker

German Shepherd/Poodle mutt—Harley

Siamese cat brothers—Batman and Robin

(pics below and thanks for having me!!)

The picture below is Joker. He’s a giant baby, always in need of attention—he even carries around whatever he can fit in his mouth like an offering. Look what I have brought you, please love me.


Calico cat—Willow (she’s short so we named her after the movie Willow)

This is Robin, my momma’s boy. He is super affectionate and often interrupts my work for cuddles.

Author Details

Jill is a Texan, born and raised. She manages the hectic social calendars for her three active children and occasionally spends an evening with her dashing husband. Aside from being an author and a mom, she’s an attorney, travel junkie, and voracious reader.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18150241.Jill_Ramsowerh

https://twitter.com/JRamsowerr

https://www.facebook.com/jillramsowerauthor/

https://www.jillramsower.com/

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In Which Nick isn’t Trapped

Trapped Book Cover Trapped
Nick Louth
murder, mystery, police, thriller
Canelo
28th January 2019

Two desperate criminals. Something she never saw coming. A searing suspense thriller from bestselling author Nick Louth

In Manchester, two hardened gang members on the run take Catherine Blake and her one-year-old son hostage at gunpoint. She is in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Held in a Transit van, Catherine needs a plan fast. But it means diving into her captors’ risk-drenched world, and playing them at their own game.

Catherine has been through cancer, miscarriages and five draining years of IVF in order to have her son Ethan. He is the most precious thing in the world. She may be terrified out of her wits, but she’d do anything to protect him. Anything, no matter the cost...

Brace yourself.

A nerve-shredding suspense thriller you won’t believe until you have experienced it yourself, Trapped is perfect for fans of Cara Hunter, JP Delaney and Rachel Abbott.

Author Interview with Nick Louth

The book ideas I get flow most strongly in the time when I’m just waking up and I lie in bed turning them over in my mind. Sometimes the ideas come very quickly, almost tumbling over themselves in their hurry to emerge, but sometimes it takes a lot longer for me to see how they would work. For example, I have just been devising a piece of misdirection for a future DCI Gillard crime thriller, one that will send detectives and hopefully the reader in and entirely wrong direction when looking for the murder victim. The course is particularly challenging when the title of my books offers a clue: The Body in the Marsh, The Body on the Shore and so on. This particular idea I’ve been working on in the back of my mind for two or three days, and I’ve yet to write down any part of it. But it’s still there ticking over, like an engine kept warm.

I do write notes, I have a notebook that I have with me at all times, and if it’s an inspiring name for a character, or a place, I need to write it down quickly. But the big concepts, the reversals, the misdirection, ideas that give the book a ‘bang’ I tend not forget.

In the case of Trapped, the basic story on the idea for its creative tension came to me all in one go. It’s the contrast between black and white, not just the evil of the gangsters and the goodness, or at least the normality of Catherine the hostage, it’s a bit extra. I wanted to contrast two ways of living a life. Our heroine is an extraordinarily risk averse woman, who plans everything in her life, even more so now she has been blessed with the child that she took so very long to conceive. For her, nothing is left to chance. But the gangsters are seemingly driven by impulse. They plan very little, certainly not far ahead, and rely on quick reactions drive and energy to live the life they want. I really wanted to smash together these two life philosophies, and pack them into the smallest possible space to see what would happen. That space is the back of a dirty, smelly transit van, surrounded by armed police. Total claustrophobia. For a long time I thought that would be enough, straight story that would have the reader on the edge of her seat, particularly given an innocent one-year-old child was in danger. I had written the book thus far almost 8 months before I got the idea for a very strong twist. I’m particularly proud that I was able to pack in to what is a bit particularly short novel all the action and a series of shocking twists.

I’m a journalist by training, and meticulous research underlies everything I do. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to make contact with a retired senior detective with extensive experience from drugs, murder, Special Branch work and undercover operation, plus a government forensic scientist who has allowed me to come with him to an occasional murder trial. I’m also fortunate to have a very senior criminal defence lawyer who has helped me extensively with work on my next book The Body in the Mist. The role of research isn’t to dump on the page everything you have learned, rather it is to convince the reader that you know what you’re talking about. Approaching those in authority is something I’ve done for many years as a journalist so it doesn’t make me nervous or intimidate me. However that doesn’t mean to say that I was good positive response. PR people for police forces or corporations, for example, often need quite a lot of handholding before they know what it is you really trying to get from them. But others fall into your hands, so delighted are they to be involved in the process of creating fiction.

I have been rejected countless times by many literary agents, amazingly even after I had a number one UK bestseller the previous year. I sometimes struggle to find what it is that agents are looking for, but feel I have a better rapport with publishers. In the case of Canelo, I was lucky enough that they approached me after a former agent of mine, now a non-fiction publisher, recommended me to them.

Author Name: Nick Louth

Previous Books: The Body in the Marsh, The Body on the Shore and Heartbreaker

Genre: Thriller

Links to Book:

Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

Author Bio:

Nick Louth is a best-selling thriller writer, award-winning financial journalist and an investment commentator. A 1979 graduate of the London School of Economics, he went on to become a Reuters foreign correspondent in 1987. It was an experience at a medical conference in Amsterdam in 1992, while working for Reuters, that gave him the inspiration for Bite, which was self-published in 2007 and went on to become the UK No. 1 Kindle best-seller for several weeks in 2014 before being snapped up by Sphere. It has sold a third of a million copies, and been translated into six languages.

The terrorism thriller Heartbreaker was published in June 2014 and received critical acclaim from Amazon readers, with a 4.6 out of 5 stars on over 100 reviews. Mirror Mirror, subtitled  ‘When evil and beauty collide’ was published in June 2016. The Body in the Marsh, a crime thriller, is being published by Canelo in September 2017. 

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Why Rachel isn’t Bitter at all!

Bitter Edge Book Cover Bitter Edge
DI Kelly Porter #4
Rachel Lynch
Crime Fiction
Canelo Escape
Release Date: 25th February 2019

DI Kelly Porter is back, but so is an old foe and this time he won’t back down... When a teenage girl flings herself off a cliff in pursuit of a gruesome death, DI Kelly Porter is left asking why. Ruled a suicide, there’s no official reason for Kelly to chase answers, but as several of her team’s cases converge on the girl’s school, a new, darker story emerges. One which will bring Kelly face-to-face with an old foe determined to take back what is rightfully his – no matter the cost. Mired in her pursuit of justice for the growing list of victims, Kelly finds security in Johnny, her family and the father she has only just discovered. But just as she draws close to unearthing the dark truth at the heart of her investigation, a single moment on a cold winter’s night shatters the notion that anything in Kelly’s world can ever truly be safe. Don't miss this gripping crime thriller featuring a phenomenal detective. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Patricia Gibney and Robert Bryndza.

Interview with Rachel

Questions for Authors: choose from list

  1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?
    The crime genre is something that has fascinated me since I was a teenage reader. It’s something about the ancient battle between good and evil that captivates me and urges me to create my own protagonists and antagonists. I think my approach is unique because the protagonist remains the same (Kelly Porter) but the plot line changes dramatically from one book to the next to keep readers attentive. I’ve tackled subjects such as sex slavery, teenage drug abuse, domestic abuse, PTSD and aristocratic angst, and each book can stand alone.
  2. How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?
    An idea can come from something as simple as climbing a mountain in the Lakes, or visiting a waterfall; and that becomes my next backdrop. The baddies and their dark deeds come as I’m writing.
  3. How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?
    My research never stops. I’m always reading about police procedural methods and forensic science, as well as criminal psychology and profiling. Before I start, I guess I spend around four weeks planning what shape the book might take, but this could be in the form of day dreaming about it on a train journey into London.
  4. What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?
    The best resource available is the internet. It’s quick, quirky and I can pretty much find out anything I need to from there. Occasionally, I’ll refer to a history book (I used to teach the subject), or check a map of the Lakes. I also like talking to people and I interview police officers regularly.
  5. How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience?
    Police officers, in my experience, are more than happy to chat about what they do. It’s one of the most satisfying elements of my work, because they share their instincts and passion for solving a riddle.
  6.  How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?
    Before publishing with Canelo, my biggest achievement was finding my agent: Peter Buckman of the Ampersand Agency, in 2016. Before that, I reckon my work had been rejected at least fifty times.
  7. Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up?
    No.
  8. Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?
    It depends what you’re trying to achieve. If you want exposure then you need a team behind you and so the first thing I would recommend is reading the Writer’s and Artist’s Yearbook and getting an agent.
  9. Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?
    No!
  10. What is the funniest thing that happened to you on a book tour?
    I’m digital only until my books are released in paperback later this year, so I’ve never done one, apart from Twitter. Generally reviewers are lovely on Twitter.
  11. What do you read when you are ill in bed?
    Cookery books!
  12. What is your favourite genre?
    This question is a bit like I approach art: it has to touch me, so if I connect with it; any genre. It might make me laugh, cry, recoil or dream about it, but it has to grab me else I’ll put it down.
  13. If you recommend a living author – who would it be? A dead author?

    Living author- Stephen King. Dead author- Thomas Hardy
  14. Which author had the most influence on your writing? Your writing style? Your writing genre?
    I have developed my own style through hundreds of edits and good old fashioned hard work. If I tried to be like anyone, else I would fail. I reckon I wrote about a million words (ten books) before I produced anything any good.
  15. In your opinion who is the funniest author now writing?
    Ben Elton
  16. Have you ever tried to imitate another author’s style? And if so, why?

    No. It wouldn’t be convincing.
  17. What have you done with the things you wrote when in school?
    Lost them!
  18. Do you have any pets?
    1. If so, what are they?
    2. And what are they called?
    3. Do they help you write?
  1. Yes, a dog, she’s called Poppy and she’s a border/Jack Russell cross. She watches me write and guards my door! She scared the life out of me one day when she started barking and scratching the door- she’d seen something in the garden. I let her out, after tutting loudly and probably swearing like Kelly Porter, and she caught a squirrel! Oops. Instinct: it can’t be tame

Links to Book:

Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

Author Bio:

Rachel Lynch grew up in Cumbria and the lakes and fells are never far away from her. London pulled her away to teach History and marry an Army Officer, whom she followed around the globe for thirteen years. A change of career after children led to personal training and sports therapy, but writing was always the overwhelming force driving the future. The human capacity for compassion as well as its descent into the brutal and murky world of crime are fundamental to her work.

Twitter: @r_lynchcrime

Previous Books: Dark Game, Deep Fear and Dead End

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Animals and Farms – what’s not to like? The author explains

ReInventing HillWilla Book Cover ReInventing HillWilla
Hillwilla Trilogy #3
Melanie Forde
Literary/Women's Contemporary
Independently published
(November 4, 2018)

Life on a llama farm, set in remote “Seneca County,” West Virginia, transitions from contented to chaotic in this final novel in the Hillwill trilogy -- all under the watchful eye of canine guardian Ralph. Five years after we first met northern urban transplant Beatrice Desmond, she is finally adapting to her mountain hollow among the wary “born-heres” and is more open to the blessings in her life. She has developed a rewarding mother-daughter relationship with troubled local teenager Clara Buckhalter and is inching toward marriage with dashing, but complicated entrepreneur Tanner Fordyce. Meanwhile, Clara sets off on a productive new path, one that would have been unthinkable had Beatrice never come into her life. All of that progress is suddenly jeopardized by Clara’s scheming mother Charyce. Ultimately, the upheaval touched off by Charyce’s schemes serves as the catalyst for new beginnings for the Seneca County misfits (even Ralph).

Questions for Authors:

  • How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

There’s been no set time-frame for thinking through novel ideas. Once an idea seems to have legs, I set up a “fermenting file,” which will collect odd bits of research (90 percent of it never used) and random notes to myself. My initial idea may change dramatically even before I start writing, as well as during the writing process. I’ve published four novels now (and am currently working sporadically on two at the same time) and with every one, I start out knowing how the novel should begin and how it should end. So far, that certainty has not changed. It’s that large space in the middle that gets tricky. After the first few chapters, I inevitably get stuck. This is probably because my novels are so character-driven and the characters start having minds of their own and taking me places I didn’t anticipate going. If I let them talk to me, without my losing control completely, the workflow changes halfway through the novel. At that mystical halfway point, I suddenly know how to get to that previously envisioned final chapter. Suddenly, I’m able to chart out six or seven chapters at a time. The main challenge then becomes keeping up with the flow. I may still get stuck occasionally, but nowhere near as profoundly or frequently as in the first half of the writing process.

  • How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

The research time frame varies with every book. My first two books were non-fiction, ghostwritten with a deadline and overall subject area someone else proposed. That was a much more structured process than for fiction writing. With both of those non-fiction projects, I had six months to deliver the draft. In both cases, I spent four of those months researching and two months writing. Although there was some spillover, the research and writing phases were largely segregated.

With fiction, there’s much less compartmentalization. Reinventing Hillwilla required the least amount of research time of any of my books. Even though I wrote it as a standalone, it is, after all, the third in a series, with the same venue and same principal characters. So those characters were well-developed by the time Chapter 1 ended up on paper. Nevertheless, there were lots of facts I had to check — for example, about the legal system, about the exotic locales Tanner visits, etc. And before I plunked Clara in the middle of Wellesley College, I trekked up to Massachusetts and chatted with students to get a better sense of the current campus culture. That way I had something firmer than memories of my own college years, and I learned about some key changes in campus venues and dormitory life.

One final comment about research… My most valuable research tool is bald observation. A favorite pastime is to park myself, solo, in a restaurant, in a region that will be the venue for part of a novel. Then I shamelessly eavesdrop on conversations at nearby tables. I’ll make mental notes of vocabulary choices, pronunciation, phrasing. At one point, I overheard a local speak about the need to “ponder” something before finding the solution to a problem. That verb struck me as downright eloquent, uniquely West Virginian. And you’ll hear it coming out of Ben Buckhalter’s mouth.

  • What is your favourite genre?

My favorite genre? Hmmm, depends on my mood. I’ve certainly had my cop-shop whodunit phase, cozy mystery phase, family saga phase, biography/autobiography phase and period novel phase. Literary novels are a constant, however. Especially those involving flawed, complicated characters with dark pasts. Not surprisingly, those are the kind of novels I want to write, too.

  • If you recommend a living author – who would it be? A dead author?

Recommendation of a living author? When it comes to wordsmithing chops, the first name that pops up is Alexander McCall Smith, author of the Botswana lady detective agency series and the Scotland Street series (my favorite), among many, many others. That man can string words together so eloquently, combining both economy of language and lyrical flow, he just makes my jaw drop. He also has a talent for delicately tweaking certain social trends, without coming across as preachy.

As for dead authors, oy, so many. If I focus on economy of language, John Cheever and Emily Dickinson come to mind. Both could pack so much into so few words, in very different ways. Both had an appealingly dark sense of irony, too. Writers who stretched my brain — but made that painful effort worthwhile — include such greats as Shakespeare, Goethe, Rilke, Eliot. I’m sure I’m forgetting others who had a major influence on me.

  • Have you ever tried to imitate another author’s style? And if so, why?

No, I’ve never tried to imitate another writer’s style. But I’m sure I’ve subconsciously absorbed elements from other authors. Perhaps because I spent most of my professional life as a nonfiction ghostwriter, it’s really important for me to speak in my own (unique, I hope) voice as a novelist.

  • Do you have any pets?

Do I have pets? Is accounting boring? The numbers are down to a precious few these days: one soft-eyed English setter who looks a lot like Ralph (but was born years after Ralph); one English cocker spaniel with the swagger of a rhinoceros and a great sense of irony; and one gray barn cat who has staff.

  1. If so, what are they?

Over the years, my life has been blessed by llamas; a string of English setters, one Old English Sheepdog (hmmm, there seems to be a pattern here of English-bred dogs), one mutt; one ginormous Newfoundland; a bunch of rescue and feral cats; a series of fancy long-haired cats (Himalayan and Birman); one Peruvian guinea pig (whom I named Fash, short for Fascist Pig); and two parakeets, who got me through the terrible five-year era when my childhood family was dogless.

  • Do they help you write?

Yes, my pets help me write. I can’t remember how many dog-walks have freed up writer’s block. Mainly, my animal companions have safeguarded my sanity, which fiction-writing constantly undermines.

Do you want to add a photo of them to this Q&A?

If you’re interested in pictures, you need look no further than the cover of Reinventing Hillwilla. My current setter Finnegan ably stepped up to portray the spectral Ralph. But, yes, I had to bribe him with treats.

Author Details:

Melanie Forde is a veteran writer, ghosting in diverse formats—from academic white papers to advertising copy. Under her own name, she has published numerous features and commentaries about the natural world, as well as the first two novels in the Hillwilla trilogy (Hillwillaand On the Hillwilla Road). She lives in Hillsboro, West Virginia.

Connect with Melanie:

Website:  https://bit.ly/2Aokmfm 

Facebook: https://bit.ly/2LLPOsj

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2Vnr2TS 

Twitter: https://bit.ly/2C0dJjA 

Purchase Reinventing Hillwilla on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2QkqLgH 

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What happened in France: The author’s story

What Happens in France Book Cover What Happens in France
Carol Wyer
Women's Fiction
Canelo Escape
28th January 2019

Book Blurb: She stood and took her place in front of the camera... It was now or never”

Bryony Masters has been looking for her long-lost sister, Hannah, for years, but when their father has a stroke her search takes on new urgency. So when primetime game show, What Happens in France, puts a call-out for new contestants, Bryony spots the ultimate public platform to find her reality TV-obsessed sister, and finally reunite their family.

With the help of handsome teammate Lewis, it’s not long before she’s on a private jet heading for the stunning beauty of rural France. With a social media star dog, a high maintenance quiz host and a cast of truly unique characters, Bryony and Lewis have their work cut out for them to stay on the show and in the public eye.

Yet as the audience grows and the grand prize beckons they find that the search that brought them together may just fulfil more than one heart’s wish…

This heartwarming romantic comedy of friendship, family and laugh-out-loud adventures is perfect for fans of Kirsty Greenwood, Colleen Coleman and Marian Keyes.

  1. How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

I write in two different genres: crime fiction and romantic comedy and ordinarily, I’d say crime fiction requires a lot more research. I spend weeks on the internet checking details and facts and also speaking to experts in Forensics or those in the police force. However, given What Happens in France hinges around a crazy game show set in France, it required a substantial amount of research in the form of applying for auditions and then actually be selected to get onto a few televised game shows, as well as several weeks driving around France, learning about the regions in the book. It took almost two years in total to gather all the information I needed.

I met some extremely interesting characters during auditions and on shows who gave me the inspiration for some of those in the book although I never met anyone like ballet dancer Oscar, owner of the show-stealing pug, Biggie Smalls.

  • What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?

I use the internet all the time and am a member of various crime writer groups where I can post questions for the experts in the group, but for this book I drew on my own experiences. This is how I invariably write romantic comedies. If a character does something in one of my humorous books then the chances are I’ll have tried it out first. One book saw me doing a zip wire, belly dancing, eating locusts, zorbing, and diving with sharks, while another saw me take up stand-up comedy. This book was a breeze by comparison although I did have to go one those game shows and make an idiot of myself. (Again!)

  • How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?

Goodness, I could paper every wall in my house with all the rejection slips I’ve received over the years.

My first efforts were children’s stories aimed at teaching 3-5-year-olds French. It was back in the days, before you could do everything online, when you had to plough through the Writers and Artist’s Handbook to find agents or publishers you thought would be interested in your work, write an accompanying letter, then remortgage your house to pay for the printer ink and stamps so you could post your weighty manuscripts to them.

When I turned my attention to the adult market in 2010, things had changed and I submitted to various publishers online. After nuerous rejections, I gave up. I didn’t want to wait years to get it accepted. I’d only intended writing the one book, Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines, because it was on my bucket list. I had no idea it would be the start of a new career for me. I looked at self-pubbing and I was given the chance to self-publish it with FeedaRead for a very tiny fee, I chose that route. I also published it with Smashwords and Amazon and could never have imagined how well it would have performed. Five months after publication, I found myself featured in Woman’s Own Magazine as a best-selling author and following that, a small publishing house took me on. The rest, as they say, is history and I now write for Bookouture/Hachette and Canelo. What Happens in France is my 18th book to be published although I’ve managed to write a further four books since I completed it which are yet to be released. 

  • Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?

Although I chose the self-publication route, I wish in many ways I’d been more patient and waited for a lucky break with a publisher.

The workload involved in self-publication is huge. You not only have to write, edit, format, design covers and get your book published, you have to market it. I found marketing took up all my time and prevented me from writing further books.

I would agree it is imperative to build an audience before you self-publish or approach a publisher. I ran a humorous blog (like Amanda Wilson in my debut novel) for over a year, writing posts daily until I had several 1000s of followers. When I launched my debut novel, I held an all-day virtual party on the blog with games, competitions and jokes. I spent all day and night, chatting to the virtual guests. That party sold copies, got reviews and propelled Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines into the limelight and gave me the start I needed. Without my followers and the friends I made online, that wouldn’t have happened.

Publishers like to see you have an online presence – that you are committed to your brand, if you like, and are active on social media. It is something that every author should continue to keep up, no matter what stage they are at in their career. Your readers deserve interaction and social media gives them that chance.

  • Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?

If you’d asked me this 3 years ago, I’d have said an emphatic no. The first 7 years, I made a dismal amount of money, in spite of success with my first novel and my non-fiction humorous book, Grumpy Old Menopause which not only won The People’s Book Prize Award but saw me sitting on the BBC Breakfast red sofa, chatting to Bill Turner and Susanna Reid about it. Even with the air time and further magazine exposure, I still only brought in enough to pay for a decent holiday. The turning point came in 2016, when I signed with Bookouture. Because they’re a digital publisher (like Canelo) they can turn around books faster than a traditional publisher. So in theory, the more you can write, the more you can potentially earn. 2017 was the first year I earned sufficient to actually pay household bills. It came at the right time because my husband is now retired, and we live off his pension, so my writing income is a real boost.

  • What is the funniest thing that happened to you on a book tour?

Not so much on a blog tour but in my early days when I did my own publicity, I managed to secure several radio interviews during the launch of one of my books. I had all the times and dates written down in my diary (very professional) and had agreed to be interviewed on a popular radio show in the USA. The interview was to take place by phone and I was very excited about the opportunity to chat to new, potential readers in the United States. On the actual day, I suddenly realised I had agreed to be on a show that would be broadcast live at 2 a.m. my time not 2 p.m. as I had thought. It was too late to change the date and I didn’t dare tell my husband, Mr Grumpy, who goes to bed punctually at 9.30 p.m. every night and does not like being kept awake, so I stayed awake and tiptoed downstairs at quarter to two in the morning to wait for the phone to ring. I was frightened to talk loudly and wake up my family, so I whispered to the presenter who kept telling me to speak up and then halfway through the interview, Mr Grumpy turned up in a foul mood, shouting, ‘Who the f*** Is on telephone at this time of the morning. Tell them to f*** off’ Unfortunately it was a live broadcast and the listeners got to hear every word. To cap it all, he grabbed the receiver from my hand and shouted a few more obscenities before putting it down. I emailed my apologies but I wasn’t invited back on the show!

  • Which author had the most influence on your writing? Your writing style? Your writing genre?

Alison Kervin OBE and author of The WAGS Diary (2009) and WAGS at the World Cup WORLD (2010) I picked up her first book from a ‘living bookcase’ while on holiday and it had me in stitches from start to finish. When I finally put it down, I decided I wanted to produce something that entertaining. I spent the next few months writing my first novel and emailed Alison to tell her she had inspired me. She replied with a very encouraging email. Had I not read that book, I doubt I would have had the confidence to start writing.

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Author Bio:

As a child Carol Wyer was always moving, and relied on humour to fit in at new schools. A funny short story won her popularity, planting the seed of becoming a writer. Her career spans dry cleaning, running a language teaching company, and boxercise coaching. Now writing full-time, Carol has several books published and journalism in many magazines.

Carol won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction (2015), and can sometimes be found performing her stand-up comedy routine Laugh While You Still Have Teeth.

Twitter: @carolewyer

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