Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Carol Wyer

A former teacher and linguist, Carol Wyer began writing full-time in 2009 and enjoyed much success with several comedies and humorous non-fiction books, one of which, Grumpy Old Menopause won her the People's Book Prize Award in 2015.

January 2017, saw her move into police procedurals with Little Girl Lost, the first in the DI Robyn Carter series, that featured in USA Today Top 150 best selling books and became the #2 best-selling book on Amazon. The books, set in Staffordshire where Wyer has lived for over 30 years, earned her acclaim as a crime writer and in 2018, a new team lead by DI Natalie Ward was introduced to her readers.

Her new novel, An Eye for an Eye, introduces DI Kate Young.

My Q&A with the author:

How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

I was very pleased to have been consulted about the titles in this series and chose them all. The relevance will be obvious from the off, but given I love playing with language, there is a more subtle meaning behind An Eye For An Eye as well as the obvious connection which will come to light towards the end of the novel. The book's working title was The Death Whisperer which was spooky, yet didn't convey the contents accurately. I spent weeks coming up with new titles and had a list of four by the time it was ready to go to my agent who decided immediately that An Eye For An Eye was perfect.

What's in a name?

Ah, every character's name and very book title is chosen with huge care. As an ex-English graduate who studied linguistics and etymology, I am fascinated by language, so I select names with care. Naming a character is as important as naming a child and should help the reader form a picture of that person. Kate is a strong female lead name and Young compliments it - short, snappy, easy to remember. It was the same for Emma. I deliberately chose a two-syllable forename rather than repeat a monosyllabic one, so she would stand apart from Kate. I keep a notebook of names I want to use in my work, picked up from acquaintances, random nametags or even Facebook, and Morgan Meredith was one such name. I asked permission from the real Morgan to use it and was very pleased when he agreed. It is a super strong name and unusual. I liked the alliteration of the 'M' with his forename and surname.

How surprised would your teenage reader self be by your new novel?

My teenage self would have their jaw hanging. I lacked in confidence and was very much an average child who did not appear to excel at anything. My school records would often bear comments about not stretching myself to my full potential yet my mind would say I had no further potential to reach. As an adult, I have constantly challenged myself and aimed higher, worked harder and An Eye For An Eye is one of my best novels to date, which is saying something, given I've written twenty-four of them.

Do you find it harder to write beginnings or endings? Which do you change more?

Beginnings. I always write a draft beginning then change it once the book is written. It is imperative to hook the reader so I will fiddle about with it numerous times before it feels right. The beginning of An Eye For An Eye came from a nightmare I had about a shooter on a train. The original prologue was quite different and the book underwent several rounds of edits before it became the version you have today. Do you see much of yourself in your characters? Do they have any connection to your personality, or are they a world apart?

Although there is invariably a part of me buried in most of my characters, this book is the exception to the rule. All of the characters are a world apart from their creator and have their own backstories and lives written in my notebooks so I can help bring them to life for my readers.

What non-literary inspirations have influenced your writing?

My writing has been heavily influenced by ordinary people. I'm a people-watcher (and eavesdropper!) and have a memory like an elephant's, so if I see or overhear something that I think I might be able to use in my writing, I mentally file it away. I don't base characters on real people; however, I amalgamate bits of their lives, attitudes and mannerisms to fabricate individuals. I am fascinated by human nature and am drawn to what makes people tick. Even though I studied languages at university, I also took a psychology module which began my fascination with human nature. I am drawn to what makes people tick and read a great deal of material on the subject.
Visit Carol Wyer's website.

--Marshal Zeringue