Hello there, Welcome to my Authors Let’s Chat – An Interview with… Feature. If you want to know more about the authors I feature, please carry on scrolling.
We are so very lucky to have authors in this world. Books are an essential need. We find or lose ourselves within the pages. But while we are reading their books. We would also love to know the person, the genuine person behind their writing.
So without further ado, Let me introduce you to CAROL WYER and let’s get to know her together. I am honoured to have you here on Reading Through The Pain. And Thank you very much for being interviewed.
1. Please tell my readers a little about yourself?
Hello! I’m Carol, an ex-teacher and linguist. I published my first novel in 2010. A decade later and I’m working on my 25th book. My crime novels are set in Staffordshire, where I’ve lived for over 30 years, and I currently live on a windy hill with my husband, Mr Grumpy, who is very, very grumpy.
2. What inspired you to become a writer/author?
Like many writers, I was an avid reader at a young age. Ill health and major surgery on my spine kept me bed bound for many months, during which time I managed to read almost every book in my local library! English was my strongest subject at school and being an only child who moved house and schools regularly thanks to my father’s work, I lived ‘inside my head’ a great deal of the time. I found it difficult to make new friends because every time I joined a school, friendships had already been formed and I was an outcast. That changed when I was 14 and my then English teacher read out a humorous short story I’d written and the class fell about laughing. She declared one day I would make a great writer. Because of that day, I made friends and finally, became accepted.
When I found myself once again in hospital and unable to walk, I wrote pithy, amusing letters to my friends and family about life behind the scenes on a hospital ward, who begged for more. I recovered and went to work in Casablanca where I wrote children’s stories about camels and dustbin cats, none of which I sent for publication. They were more for self amusement but later, when living in France I wrote a series of educational books that taught French to young children. They were accompanied by songs, mercifully not sung by me.
I never thought about becoming a full-time writer until my son flew the nest and I transformed his bedroom into an office and began work on a novel, determined to see it in print. At the time, I only expected to write one book but the rest, as they say, is history.
3. What is the best thing about being a writer/author?
Everything! Seriously, I love writing and almost every aspect of it, but I especially love planning a book, conjuring up twists and turns, and creating the characters. Each book is a film in my head way before pen hits paper so I get entertained, night after night, with scenes from what will be turned into a novel. Each character is brought to life in those scenes so when I write, I’m almost copying what I have been conjuring up for months.
4. What is your writing routine like?
Oh dear, you’re going to think I’m a bit mad now.
I wake when Mr Grumpy gets up (around 5 – 6 a.m.) And either deal with social media or if I’ve had ideas in my head overnight, get them onto paper.
I work until breakfast at 8 a.m. then afterwards, depending on where I am in my schedule (editing, proofs, research, writing), I’ll either do housework or writing until 11 a.m. when I have to take some exercise for an hour. I had serious health problems again to do with my spine in 2016, and it took a good year to get back on my feet, so I try to walk for up to an hour a day and then follow up with gentle stretching exercises.
After lunch, I hunker down for the afternoon, stopping for dinner at 6 p.m. and I spend some time with the Grumpy One, watching television. He’s an ‘early-to-bed’ sort of person so when once he’s settled asleep and around 10 p.m., I head back to my office to write until I get tired, usually about 2 -3 a.m.
5. How much time is spent on research?
It depends on the book. For What Happens in France I went on television game shows to get a better idea of behind the scenes and travelled around France so that book took two years of research. For Take a Chance on Me, I completed all the challenges Charlie faces as part of a swapped bucket list, and did a ‘Bush-Tucker’ challenge, belly dancing and zorbing. I also went down a zip wire and dived with sharks. That book also took over a year. Crime novels are different (you’ll be relieved to know – I don’t actually get ‘hands on’ with those.) I spend a great deal of time online or talking to experts, reading reports and so on. I spend a month or two on each book.
6. How much of the book is planned out before you write it/them?
All of it. That didn’t use to be the case, but now I have to submit full synopses of each book to my editor and have them approved before I can begin work. It can take weeks just to get a synopsis right and they are my least favourite part of the writing process.
7. What do you think is most important when writing a book? The characters, plot, setting, etc?
They’re all important because readers need settings and good plots, but unless you have realistic characters, certainly realistic lead characters, the rest can be a waste of time. I invest heavily in each of mine and they all have back stories which the readers don’t know about. I’ll write about each of them on a sticky notes which I adhere to a cupboard, so I have not only physical details about them but also information about what they like to watch or listen to, their families, how they speak, any special expressions they use and so on. It all helps create a ’rounded’ character.
8. What is your latest book about?
Somebody’s Daughter is the 7th in the DI Natalie Ward series, though it can be read as a standalone. It is probably the grittiest in the series and deals with bullying, drug-taking and sex-workers. I’ll just drop the retail description here to give you an idea:
One by one the girls disappeared…
When the frail body of a teenage girl is discovered strangled in a parking lot, shards of ice form in Detective Natalie Ward’s veins. As Natalie looks at the freckles scattered on her cheeks and the pale pink lips tinged with blue, she remembers that this innocent girl is somebody’s daughter…
The girl is identified as missing teenager Amelia Saunders, who has run away from home and her controlling father. Natalie’s heart sinks further when it becomes clear that Amelia has been working on the streets, manipulated by her violent new boyfriend Tommy.
A day later, another vulnerable girl is found strangled on a park bench. Like Amelia, Katie Bray was a runaway with connections to Tommy, and Natalie is determined to find him and track down the monster attacking these scared and lonely girl.
But when a wealthy young woman is found murdered the next morning, the word ‘guilty’ scrawled on her forehead, Natalie realises that the case is more complex than she first thought. Determined to establish a connection between her three victims, Natalie wastes no time in chasing down the evidence, tracing everyone who crossed their paths. Then, a key suspect’s body turns up in the canal, a mole in Natalie’s department leaks vital information and everything seems to be against her. Can Natalie stop this clever and manipulative killer before they strike again?
9. What inspired it?
A hard-hitting newspaper article about vulnerable teenagers, who ran away from home, and who were then groomed to become sex-workers. I collect a lot of articles I think I can use in novels and build stories around them.
10. Why did you pick the genre or genres that you write in?
I started out writing humour because I wanted to make people laugh. Laughter is definitely a medicine and has helped me through trickier parts of my life. It came naturally and I’d often regale people with ridiculous anecdotes about Mr Grumpy or my octogenarian mother who was living a crazy, fun-packed life in Cyprus.
Friends encouraged me to write the anecdotes as they were apparently ‘hilarious’, so I did. More comedies followed but after writing Life Swap which has an incredible twist that you won’t guess, I felt it was time to try my hand at another genre I loved – crime fiction. It lent itself to twists and surprises and allowed my darker side to emerge.
Writing crime is satisfying on many levels. I’m fascinated by human behaviour and what makes us act the way we do. This genre not only tests my skills but also allows me to learn so much during the process. Beforehand, I knew nothing about forensic science, psychology or police procedural and now my books are acclaimed for the accuracy of such details. I really love learning new facts and subjects, so it’s a win-win for me.
11. How did you go about getting a publishing deal? Or how did you become self-published?
My first novel was self-published. I’d only intended writing one book and when no publishing offers came forward, I became impatient and published through Smashwords, Amazon and You Write On. I was amazed when the book did well and I appeared in Woman’s Own magazine in an article about best-selling authors. I was then accepted by a small publishing house who published the sequel to that first novel. Soon afterwards, I was taken on by another small publishing house who went on to publish the original books and another five but went into administration and shut their doors in 2015. At the same time, I’d just signed with Bookouture/Hachette to write Life Swap so my luck changed again and I’ve been writing for them ever since.
12. Would you be enthralled in making your books into a movie or TV series?
Oh, would I? I yearn to have my crime novels adapted for television. When I began writing, I made a list of writing goals I wanted to achieve and I’ve ticked them all off except
a) sell a million books and
b) get an option for television or film.
To date, I’ve sold around 800,000 copies so my fingers are crossed I’ll be able to reach one, if not both of those targets.
13. Any new books or plans for the future?
I have a three-book new series coming out in 2021 with Thomas & Mercer. It is a darker series featuring a new detective, DI Kate Young. The cover and retail description for the first book, An Eye for an Eye has already been revealed and it is up for pre order. I’m very excited about the whole series and am currently working on Book 2. There’s also another comedy mapped out, waiting for me to begin along with a short story, giving my readers closure on DI Robyn Carter. They were left hanging in Book 5 of the series, and although there’ll be no more in that series, I’ll be offering this story free to them.
14. What authors have been an influence on your writing?
I’ve been influenced by a number of authors, some from my university days like Voltaire who wrote ‘Candide’, a hilarious satire that helped shape my own view of comedy, and others like Agatha Christie, who I read for pleasure. Every time I really enjoy a book, I take away something to adapt to my own style. I have a passion for Scandinavian Noir so authors like Jo Nesbo, Stieg Larson and Samuel Bjork or writing duo, Lars Kepler, have helped me fashion a darker, bleaker approach in my most recent series.
15. What writing advice would you have given yourself when you started?
Be more organised and set up social media platforms, build up relationships with other writers and bloggers and seek advice in Facebook groups. I didn’t even know such groups existed and yet now I get a huge amount of expert help and support from them.
16. What writing advice would you give to an aspiring writer or a new author to the block?
Be patient. Being a writer is a journey not a race so, once your manuscript is completed, don’t be too quick to send it to publishers or agents. Put it away for a couple of months and then go back to it. You’ll most likely want to rewrite passages. Send it to beta readers to get their opinions, and make sure it is edited properly before you submit. I was fortunate my first book did well, but if I had my time again, I would have taken even more care over it and who knows? It might then have been accepted by a publisher and performed even better.
17. What has been your favourite book so far this year?
I’ve been so wrapped up in writing I haven’t read much at all. I enjoyed Chris Merritt’s Knock Knock and as I say in my review for it:
“Knock Knock has all the ingredients of a top crime thriller: superbly drawn main characters, married with a scary, toe-curling killer, a cracking plot and plenty of suspects and… dash it! I didn’t guess the murderer!”
18. What is your all-time favourite book and why?
It isn’t a crime novel.It’s Lord of the Flies by William Golding which I read when I was 11. Later in life, I taught it for GCSE and was once again mesmerised by how man (or in this case boy) can transform when there are no rules. I related to underdog Piggy and the mysterious Simon who comes across a pig’s head, buzzing with flies – the Lord of the Flies. Both are outcasts and experience dreadful fates. The draw of the book for me comes from Golding’s portrayal of the dark side of humanity.
19. What genre do you read?
Scandinavian noir and psychological thrillers.
20. What are you currently reading?
The Boy in the Headlights by Samuel Bjork. It is the third in the series and I’m halfway through it.
21. What is on your To be read list?
Mr Grumpy knows how much I love reading and buys me paperbacks of hardback books whenever he see something methinks Id like to read. Because I was so busy last year (I wrote 7 books) I had no time to catch up so I now have a cupboard of books to read and a loaded Kindle of those I chose. The list is way too long to post here but contains:
- Hunting Evil Chris Carter
- Run Away Harlan Coben
- The Last Widow Karin Slaughter
- The Never Game Jeffery Deaver
- Red Snow Will Dean
- The Knife Jo Nesbo
22. Anything else you would like to add?
Other than a huge thank you for having me here – no : )
You can find Carol Wyer on the Social Media Links below:
Thank you so much carol for this extraordinary interview. Honestly, I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing you, getting to know you and all about your books.