This week I was fortunate to be interviewed by David Alan Binder who asked all manner of questions and cajoled me to answer questions about when I started writing, tips for others, my favourite book, and questions I would most have liked to have been asked. Here’s the beginning of the interview. please click on the link below the interview if you’d like to find out more.
1. How do you pronounce your name?
Wire. Everyone pronounces it “wee–er” or spells it incorrectly. I should have married someone with a simple surname like Jones.
2. Where are you currently living?
I live on a very windy hill surrounded by fields in Staffordshire, UK.
3. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Although I liked writing stories at school it was during a lengthy spell in hospital that I discovered I had the ability to make people laugh. I spent over a year in and out of hospital, stuck in bed paralysed following a procedure on my spine that didn’t go according to plan. I used to write to my friends and family and describe life on a ward in hospital. Admittedly, the anecdotes were exaggerated but that added to the humour. The letters (some of them thirty and forty pages long) went down exceptionally well.
4. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
From conception to completed book takes a year although the non-fiction books can take longer due to the amount of research I have to do. I also try out a lot of the suggestions I propose in them such as zip lining, belly dancing, zorbing and stand up comedy, so that adds to the time element. The comic travel book “Grumpies On Board” took a very long time to research as me and my grumpy old man had to go on many of the adventures to write about them.
5. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Get up at 5am. Write. Stop about 8am and do housework, eat breakfast, spend time with grumpy husband, go shopping and so on. Start again at 2pm. Work until 6pm. Cook. Eat, Watch two hours of television with husband. Start again at 9:30pm. Work until 3am or all night. I suffer from insomnia. It has advantages!
6. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
It’s not interesting but I am addicted to gummy jelly bears and chewy jelly sweets. I gobble packets and packets of them while I am writing and yes, I have to go the dentist after every book is completed and get new fillings! I really should give them up.
7. Did you self publish or have a publisher?
I have two publishers – Safkhet publishing who have published seven of my books. They are Americans based in Germany.
Last year I signed my next two books with Bookouture, a British publishing house based in London. “Life Swap” will be out 22nd April and the second book in September.
8 How do you feel about eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
I like both eBooks and print editions but given some of my books are aimed at “older people” or are “gift books” I like to offer print editions as well as digital. Many of my readers prefer paperbacks and although lots have a Kindle, I frequently get emails saying how much they enjoy thumbing through a paperback copy. On a personal level, I am a speed reader so an eBook reader means I no longer need an extra suitcase for my holiday reading.
I self-published my first book in 2010 and it was quite a journey. Although I personally prefer working with publishers, I know some excellent authors who have made far more money than me and who are extremely successful. For a couple of years I wrote many popular articles and tutorials to do with self-publishing for website Indies Unlimited that sets out to help and guide self-published authors.
9. What process did you go through to get your book published?
The answer to this could be extremely long depending on which book we are discussing. I have trodden every possible route over the years I have been writing. Many moons ago when I wrote a series of illustrated children’s books that taught French, I typed out, copied and posted full scripts to hundreds of publishers in the UK. I got back enough rejection slips to fill an entire book.
Thanks to the Internet, it is much easier to seek a publishing house that might be interested in publishing your script. However, you need patience. Bucket loads of patience.
Last year, having completed the novel, I wrote to a few literary agents. Two had already expressed interest in representing me following several television appearances I had made, so I thought that might be the best way to go. It wasn’t. I heard nothing from three of them and one told me their books were full.
I then sent a synopsis, a letter and the first chapters to two major publishing houses. One expressed interest immediately and requested the full script but some considerable time later rejected it saying it didn’t fit in with their catalogue.
So having spent several months waiting for agents and publisher to respond, I decided to look for a publishing house that was energetic, had a good author list and was keen to support its authors and readers alike. I knew of and admired the team at Bookouture but lacked the confidence to send them my script. I thought it would not meet their high standards. I knew several of the authors published by them and had read their works. Nothing like reading a superb novel to crush your own morale! A conversation with a friend changed my mind and I submitted the script for “Life Swap”. Within two weeks I had a wonderful email saying how much they had enjoyed it and offering me a two-book deal. I’m still over the moon about it.
10. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Most of it comes from my crazy life, people watching and a ridiculously over-active imagination. For the non-fiction books I track down information in libraries or the Internet as well as doing groundwork. For “Grumpy Old Menopause” I contacted experts, doctors and women to compile a guide that would entertain and help get women through “that” time of their lives. It won The People’s Book Prize Award in 2015.
11. When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote a series of books for children when I was thirty-one but my first stories were written when I lived and worked in Morocco at the age of twenty-four.
12. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Travelling! Me and the old grumpy guts get away as often as possible. I am a linguist so I love chatting, practicing and learning new languages although Polish completely foxed me last year when we travelled to Krakow.
13. What does your family think of your writing?
My husband puts up with it. He isn’t easily impressed although when I announced I had just written my tenth book last week, he did raise his eyebrows! Actually, some of the funny gags and lines have come from him and he loves being “Mr Grumpy” in the grumpy series of books. He has many fans on social media and when I tell him how popular he is, he evens manages a smile.
14. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Holding down CTRL A will allow you to highlight your entire script! I had no idea how to type or how to use Word when I began writing so I am completely self-taught. I still write out all my books in long hand first. Maybe one day, I’ll start by typing them out.
15. How many books have you written?
I’ve just completed my tenth book although one is collection of short stories that look at the darker side of love.
16. Which is your favorite?
I would have said “Three Little Birds” all about hope, love, fun and bucket lists until recently. Having completed all the final edits on “Life Swap” and giggled most of the way through doing it, it is now officially my favourite.
Read the whole interview by clicking HERE