Surfing in Stiletto begins where Mini Skirts and laughter Lines ended. Amanda Wilson a desperate housewife who believes there should be more to life than cooking, cleaning and putting up with a grumpy old husband sets off on a gap year with the aforementioned grumpy, Phil. They intend having a romantic gap year travelling around Europe in a camper van. It isn’t long before they both realise that this is all a huge mistake. Fate intervenes, the camper van breaks down in France and Phil has to return to the UK to deal with a drama back home.
Amanda is now free to enjoy her time away and her life suddenly becomes much more interesting when she meets and makes friends with Bibi Chevalier, a woman whose own love life is problematical.
Life improves hugely, then an ex-lover becomes determined to track down his beloved Amanda, and a case of mistaken identity on the internet leads Amanda into sudden danger.
The novel is full of twists, surprises, and mirth. There are though moments of surprising poignancy so be prepared to have tissues by your side.
Where did the inspiration come from?
Surfing in Stiletto came about because people loved Amanda and her mother so much that I felt I should write about them again. The setting was easy because I lived in France for over a decade and know this region the novel is set in very well.
When I lived in France, I had a very good French friend called Solange. I used to write about her exploits on my blog, Facing 50 with Humour, and the response to those posts was amazing. People adored her and asked me to feature her in a new book. I didn’t actually feature Solange, but I used her as a basis for Bibi Chevalier. There are certainly similarities.
I wanted to add danger into this story too so the whole Facebook plot was conjured up because I have an obsession with the internet. I think I need therapy. I’m always on line on various websites. This whole social networking thing fascinated me so I wanted to bring that into the book. There is definitely a moral in it all for us all.
Which comes first, the characters or the plot?
Plot. I need to have a skeleton of a story before I can start envisaging my characters although there will always be a hint of a character in working out a plot.
Are you able to give us a hint as to what your next novel is about?
Ooh er! I shouldn’t really. It’s hush hush. Let’s just say it’s spicy in parts, dark in others and will surprise you.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
The simple answer is yes because I have written stories since I was in my twenties. I didn’t know how much I wanted to be successful at it until a couple of years ago when I suddenly decided that I was going to “make a go” of it.
Have you ever had writer’s block? And how did you overcome it?
I have been really lucky. So far I have had no block, in fact I have the opposite problem and can’t stop the ideas from flooding my tired brain. I wish I could type faster or indeed clone myself. That would help.
If you weren’t a writer, what career path would you have chosen to follow?
I’ve been a linguist, translator, teacher, personal trainer, a magician’s assistant, and MD of a business, so I have had a few jobs already. I think I’d have really liked to have been a chat show host or a television presenter.
Being a writer appears to be such a solitary lifestyle, especially when you’re in the midst of writing, so do you consider the influence of social Media, Facebook and Twitter, a blessing or a hinderance?
I think I might have touched on that earlier. If it weren’t for social media I would have no friends at all so I consider it a blessing.
How long did it take you to get your first book published?
Eleven months from finishing the final edits to getting into print.
Do you have a set daily writing routine?
I try and type every day, even if it is just posts for my blog or a short story to keep up my writing. I usually do that from 2pm-5.30pm every day, but if I am working on a book I’ll work all night every night until it is done. I can’t leave it alone.
How hard is it to keep coming up with fresh ideas for new books?
So far, so good. My brain has been like a muscle. The more I seem to use it, the more it wants to come up with ideas. I guess the ideas will dry up at some stage, however, at the moment I have four more books floating about in my head that need to get out soon.
Would you say that any of your characters are like you? If so, which one(s)?
It is no secret that I am like Amanda Wilson. The problem has been trying to convince everyone that I am not exactly like her. I used experiences from all my on line friends to create her and from overheard conversations, so she really is an Every woman character. I like to let people guess whether the books are actually about me and my husband or not. It adds a flavour of mystery.
If you could write another style of genre, what would it be and why?
Crime without a doubt. I adore thrillers and crime novels. I’d really enjoy writing a good old murder. I can do blood and gore with devious characters. They’d have to be humour too, of course.
Have you got a favourite out of all the books you've written, if so, which one and why?
I am quite neutral about them. Funnily enough I’ve really enjoyed writing the only non-fiction book to date, How Not to Murder Your Grumpy, which will be out in June. It was challenging and huge fun.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Edit…edit…edit. I had a rotten experience with an editor when I first started out and it has made me very cautious. Never be in a hurry to get your work out and compromise on your editing. I don’t care what people may say, you are very unlikely to be able to edit it well yourself. Get a professional and if you can’t afford a professional, ensure you send it to as many beta readers as possible.
If you could invite any three authors, alive or dead, to a dinner party who would you choose and why?
Janet Evanovich, Ben Elton and Douglas Adams. What a great party that would be. Lots of laughs.
Do you have much spare time to read books? If so, what was the last book you read or what are you currently reading?
I am a speed reader and read a lot of books when I am on holiday. I have just finished reading Sylvia Massara’s book The Gay Mardi Gras Murders (a Mia Ferrari Mystery). Sylvia and I met on line. She read my books and enjoyed them so much that she asked if she could borrow Amanda Wilson for her novel. It’s nice to know that while we are both friends, so are our characters.
Do you prefer to read physical copies of books or e-books?
Physical copies, although at least with the iPad, I can read ten books on holiday and take clothes to wear instead of filling up my case with books.
Are there any books you’ve read that you wish you’d written?
Too many to mention!
If you were going to be stuck on a desert island and could only take 3 books with you, which ones would you choose?
A La Recherche de Temps Perdu by Proust. It’d take me a decade to read it all, especially if it were in original French. At least I’d be occupied for a while.
Chart Throb by Ben Elton for a laugh.
Any Jilly Cooper novel. Can I have a compendium of all her novels?
Can you describe Surfing in Stilettos in 20 words or less?
Amanda Wilson discovers that life can sometimes be a little too exciting.
Carol is running a giveaway for the duration of the blog tour, 25th March until 6th April, so you've only got a couple of days left for the chance to win one of the prizes below:
- 3 x Handmade Belgium chocolates (stilettos and handbags)
- 2 x Scotch stiletto tape dispensers in pink
- 1 x stiletto key ring
- 3 x copies of Surfing in Stilettos
To enter the giveaway click on the following link and follow the instructions:a Rafflecopter giveaway