Bookboodle is delighted to welcome Romantic Comedy and Chick Lit author Carol E Wyer.
After completing a degree in French and English, Carol E Wyer became a language teacher. She actually
began her working life abroad, in Casablanca, Morocco, where she taught English as a Foreign Language in an American Language school. It was soon discovered that she could speak French rather well, and she became a translator and teacher to large organisations and companies such as ‘Regie de Tabac’, Morocco’s largest cigarette company, and the Mediterranean Shipping Company.
After a few years she was ‘head-hunted ‘to run the English as a Foreign Language department of a private school in the UK. (Imagine Hogwarts without the wizardry.)
Carol taught English up to, and including ‘A’ Level, along with English as a Foreign Language. She also qualified to teach pupils with Dyslexia and became Head of English for Special Needs.
In 1988, Carol set up her own language company called Language 2000 Ltd and worked in schools and for companies. She taught a variety of languages, including basic Japanese, to all ages and translated documents.
A recurrence of spinal difficulties that began when she was a teenager, forced her to give up teaching and choose a new direction. In order to deal with her health problems, Carol attended a fitness course (Premier), took the qualifications to become a fitness instructor and became a personal trainer. That led her to become a trainer for others, particularly for older people who, like herself, had undergone major surgery.
Thanks to older age, Carol now no longer trains people, but she is currently writing a series of novels, articles and books which takes a humorous look at getting older. It is her hope that they will educate through laughter and help others appreciate life.
Carol has written several short stories over the years, including humorous books for children which served to teach them French. She was not able to fulfil her desire to be a full-time author until two years ago when her son flew from the nest, leaving his bedroom which Carol turned into her office.
Since then, she has written two novels, Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines and Surfing in Stilettos, both of which have enjoyed media attention and success, becoming best sellers and winning awards.
Carol writes regularly for author websites and she has recently become a contributing author on a help guide entitled Tutorials and Tools for Prospering in a Digital Age.
Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer
I fell in love with France when I was eleven years old. We went on a school trip to Boulogne. I came home with a large baguette and a box of matches for my mother, proud that I had bought them using my schoolgirl French.
It was therefore no surprise that after working in Paris for a while – in the Bois de Boulogne no less. I’ll leave my occupation up to your imagination – I ended up living in rural France, well, part time anyway. We bought a little summer cottage in 1991 and became one of only a few British people to live in the picturesque region of the Tarn and Garonne, governed by magnificent gorges, the river Aveyron and stunning countryside.
It is this region that has captured my heart, and although we sold up over a decade ago, we still regularly visit the area. I do much of my writing there. When I finished Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines I knew immediately that Amanda Wilson would be headed for France in the sequel, Surfing in Stilettos.
The intention had been for her to manage an entire year in a camper van with her dreary husband Phil but fortunately for them both, the camper van breaks down in France and they have to stay in a gite for a while.
France is the perfect place for Amanda. There is an abundance of wine and she gets the chance to find out what she really wants from life. She decides to take up writing. France is tranquil, that is until she teams up with the effervescent Bibi Chevalier who drags her into danger through her own folly.
Somehow, being in France makes me more creative. I am able to think clearly without distractions. A walk among green fields carpeted in poppies will produce endless ideas. I feel revitalised.
When I lived in France, I walked for miles every day, and as I walked, I thought out stories for a series of books that taught French to children. The books were humorous tales about animals that lived in France: Hugo the wild pig, Larry the “loir” and so on. Each story taught some French, so by the end of the series, children had a command of basic French. There was even a series of songs which taught the same language points to accompany the stories. At the end of one long summer holiday, I had written ten stories. My best friend in France, Sue Phillips, illustrated them beautifully and when I returned to the UK after that holiday I sent the first, Hurrah For Hugo, to several publishers.
I was invited to send in all the stories to a well known publishing house. They were very interested in producing them under their education label. This story doesn’t have a happy ending though, because Sue tragically and suddenly, died and I pulled the stories.
I couldn’t publish them without Sue. In my mind they were our project and I couldn’t let another illustrator take over. I am sad that the little stories didn’t get published and maybe one day I’ll publish them in her memory, but they still had an important part to play in my life.
It was thanks to their “success” that I felt confident enough to continue writing and indeed began writing for adults. The humour I employed in them, along with “morals” have now been put into more grown up language and punctuate all my novels, books and articles.
France holds many happy memories for me. I shall continue to visit my favourite region as long as I am able, and I hope to write many more novels there. I am very glad that Amanda also visited.
When I wrote about her adventures there, I was transported back to that time in my life when I lived there. Surfing in Stilettos is more than just a funny book about one woman’s journey in France. For me, it holds a vast collection of memories of people I knew and places I still know. When I read the story, I am transported to those days when I walked beside golden fields of sunflowers and had a dream to be an author. Sue may no longer be part of my real life, but she is still in my heart and hidden behind the pages of my book. So, for those of you who have suffered a setback in your writing, I can only say one thing – never give up. And, if you can get to France, go and rent a gite. It’ll do wonders for your muse!
Thanks to Carol for sharing with us her French experience which sounds idyllic and I for one am looking forward to reading Surfing in Stilettos.