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Monday, 6 January 2014

WHY MR GRUMPY MAKES CAROL VERY HAPPY!

 

Carol with Bill and Susannah


Who are the Seven Dwarves of the Menopause? Itchy, Bitchy, Sweaty, Sleepy, Bloated, Forgetful and Psycho, according to novelist Carol E Wyer whose latest book Grumpy Old Menopause caused quite a stir recently, following her appearance on Breakfast Television. The book follows  the success of How to Murder Your Grumpy, her light hearted look at men and retirement.  Carol, pictured above with presenters Bill and Susannah, has agreed to come on my blog today to talk about her writing life  and, of course, the day she sat on that famous sofa.

You’re already a successful author, but your book The Grumpy Old Menopause has thrown you into the spotlight. What was it like to be on Breakfast Television?
It was such fun. I could wax lyrical about the whole experience but that would take up far too much time.  I knew I was going on a few weeks before the date but I didn’t tell anyone and I didn’t dare allow myself to get too excited because there is no guarantee you’ll be on air. It only takes one major news story and you’ll be replaced.
I went up to Media City in Manchester the day before the show and was met at the station by a driver who took me to the hotel. I was then phoned by the BBC. They arranged for me to speak to a researcher later that afternoon. It was at that point, I started to feel like a minor celebrity.  The researcher went over my life and background thoroughly, so Bill and Susannah would know what to ask me.
The next morning, I was met at the BBC reception and escorted to the Green Room where I joined the other guests including June and Leon from Gogglebox. They were very entertaining and we all chatted about travel, cricket and television.  There’s food, drink and a large television screen so you can see the show. Half an hour before I was due on, I was taken to makeup where a young lady performed miracles with my face transforming it from a baggy, grey wrinkled mess to something passable. From there, I was escorted to the sound technicians who miked me up and then I waited outside the studio on a settee to be taken into the studio.
The studio is very dark and surprisingly small. It’s dominated by a raised platform on which is the large red sofa. I was aware of cameras and people and wires and of course, the presenters. I can’t remember much of what was going on, only the feeling that it was like being at a huge friendly party and being introduced to some really nice guests. Bill and Susannah couldn’t have been more welcoming or charming. They instantly relax you and you forget what is going on. You’re focussed on what is being said and the people interviewing you.
I was one of the last guests so I was allowed to sit outside the studio until the show ended and have my photo taken with Bill.

Have you any more television appearances planned? Not at the moment, but I did twenty-seven radio shows last year, most of them after the TV appearance, and have another three lined up over the next couple of weeks. I’ve even got myself a regular gig at BBC Radio Derby now as one of their ‘Loud Mouths’ where I talk about a subject chosen for me an hour before the show. Should be fun.
You clearly have a strong sense of humour. Where does it come from and how has it helped you in your life?
I blame my parents, the Dandy and Beano comics, seventies television and Ken Dodd. My parents always tuned into comedy shows on the radio and television and my earliest memories are of sitting listening to The Navy Lark or The Clitheroe Kid as a small child. They installed a good sense of humour into me. My dad had a very dry wit and was quite a tease.
Humour has seen me through dark days. I spent some considerable time in hospital in my late teens and early twenties, and at one point was paralysed.  (Only temporarily as it happened.) Humour saw me through that time. I wrote letters and stories filled with amusing events that occurred in hospital and tried to make light of the whole affair.
In Grumpy Old Menopause you intersperse good advice with humour – or should I say humour with good advice? Do you think this makes the book much easier to read?
I have a strong belief that humour helps educate people. They are far more likely to remember something of they found it funny than not. I learned that technique when I taught languages. Imagine, if you can, me teaching a group of accountants to speak German using three puppets and a teddy bear! It worked.
Your regular readers are already familiar with ‘Mr Grumpy.’  How does your husband/partner feel about his reputation?
I think he secretly likes the fame. Seriously, he is very good natured about it all. I have checked with him. He admits he is a grumpy and may as well be famous for being one. He feels he is a role model for all grumpies everywhere.
What sort of books do you like to read when you are relaxing?
Thrillers. I love thrillers.  I like to try and guess who has committed the murder before halfway through a book. If there’s a twist I haven’t spotted, I am extra delighted.
You’ve worked as a teacher, linguist and physical trainer a well as running your own language company. Did have time for writing earlier in your life?
I actually began writing in my twenties. My first stories were set in Morocco where I lived and were for children. Titles included Humphrey the Camel and the Dustbin Cats! I wrote a series of animal stories for children in my thirties. They were used in schools to encourage and help young children learn French and boasted titles like Hurrah for Hugo and Noir and Blanc - Two Naughty Cats.
Following my appearance in Zest magazine and newspapers as a ‘success story’, I wrote a fitness guide filled with advice, recipes and exercises for people to lose weight and get healthy. My timing was poor though and a celebrity brought one at the same time as I was touting mine around publishers.
What advice would you give to someone who is still trying to get a book published?
Be patient! Ensure your work is very well edited. Follow publisher’s guidelines to the letter. Make sure you keep writing while you are waiting to hear from publishers as it can take months to get a response. Build up a social platform online. Persevere. Don’t give up.
Do you have a favourite childhood book?
I read all of the Famous Five and Secret Seven Books. Loved them all. I think I still have them in a box in the shed. Maybe I should get them back out.
We know you wouldn’t change your Mr Grumpy for the world, but what famous person would you like to spend the day with?
It would have to be a comedian. There are so many I would like to meet. If I had to choose it would be either Rowan Atkinson or Lee Mack. I probably would spend the day in stitches with either of them. Rowan Atkinson’s face makes me laugh and I love Lee Mack’s sense of humour. I’d like to spend the day with Jon Richardson too, but I’m sure that would only encourage me to behave very badly as I attempted to flirt with him in a highly embarrassing manner.
Finally – can you tell us about your next book?
I’ve got some short stories coming out next. They will surprise my readers as some are very dark revealing a hidden side to my personality. After that, I have a new light-hearted novel set at a Hospital radio station that involves a couple of interesting presenters, some awkward challenges and a scary moment.  And, my much awaited third Amanda Wilson novel should appear this year. I’ve been promising to release it for over a year and held it back for long enough.

If you want to know more about Carol's books  or see a clip of the show, go to http://www.carolewyer.co.uk/
 

8 comments:

Bouncin Barb said...

Wonderful interview Carol. You are surely famous now. Don't forget us peons! So excited for you! X

Carol E Wyer said...

Barb, I woul dnever forget those who have travelled this path with me. We bloggers have known each other some time now and enjoyed each other's successes and held each other's hands when we've needed to. That's what I love about this community. It is so supportive.
Marilyn, thank you so much for inviting me to your sofa. Next time, I'll bring Mr Grumpy to say hello too.

Guernsey Girl said...

I think you might have to name him Mr Proud, Carol. Either way, I'd love to say hello! Great to have you on here, by the way-my daughter just phoned to say she loved the post. I can see I'm going to a lot to live up to as a fellow Safkhet author x

Anonymous said...

Glad to know I am not the only Mr Grumpy!!!

Guernsey Girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Guernsey Girl said...

Oh, Mr Anonymous - one day maybe we'll find out who you are!

clo said...

Good advice from Carol for those people who are still trying to get published I'm sure you'll agree?

Guernsey Girl said...

Yes, Clo, I'm sure you're right. It's obviously very important to stay positive about your writing - and to keep smiling!