Lots of excitement at Romaniac HQ today, we’ve done our best cleaning and tidying and even baked a cake. (Thanks Celia) What’s the occasion we have a man on our sofa, Ian Wilfred, writer of women’s fiction.
Hi Ian come on in, we’re on our best behaviour – honest!
I hope not there’s nothing more that I like then a good gossip and thank you for inviting me, it’s very exciting being here I was expecting biscuits but I feel honoured as you have made a cake, is it one of Celia’s?
Oh definitely one of Celia’s – she has a bit of a reputation – for cake that is.
Now, we got to know each other on Twitter recently and your tweets are always upbeat and chatty but often early in the morning – how do you manage to be so cheerful at 6am?
Oh, I really want this to be a fun and upbeat interview, but the reason I’m on Twitter early and also the reason I wrote my book is a little sad. Four years ago I moved my dad from Devon to live with me and my partner Ron in the Midlands, over the four years his health has not been good.
He is now 87 and in bed 24/7 and can’t do anything for himself, so just over twelve months ago I had to give up my job to be his full time carer. I can be up in the night anything between two and twelve times with him, once I’m awake that’s it so by six in the morning when we talk on twitter I’m buzzing. Don’t get me wrong family life is very good and I have wonderful support from friends, family and the NHS, and in the four years I have written two books.
I’m glad you’ve got plenty of support and it must be nice for your dad to be with you.
I was intrigued to find out you wrote women’s fiction, what brought you to this genre?
Well I wrote my book ‘Putting Right the Past’ and at the end that’s the genre it fell into. I really don’t know what other genre I could write in, perhaps one day I will give it a go. But somehow if there’s not a bit of glamour, love and gossip, I don’t think it will interest me.
Can you tell us about your novel?
My main character is Carole Harding she is in her 50s, her husband cheated on her and she got divorced, then she inherited 2 million pounds from her uncle.
Carole moved to a very nice apartment in Tenerife, no one knows about her inheritance, but it seems all her neighbours have problems and secretes. Carole finds herself helping to change their lives…
Nadean is the actress who hit the headlines and had to go into hiding, Victoria is a top model but why did her family turn against her? Hamilton spent his life traveling the world, earning so much money, but was so lonely; Riley gave up everything for love… Then there is Peter and Paul, who only seem to be happy when having a crisis and Jeremy … who has secretes not just from his wife Felicity, but also from the law.
As Carole gets involved with the lives of her neighbours, she blossoms into the woman she’d always longed to be…. When she meets Robson, can this be the biggest transformation of her life?
Do you feel any pressure writing as a man in a heavily populated woman genre?
No, not at all, I just love writing and feel very lucky to be in the position of having a book published. OK I would love my book more they anything to be liked by the readers, but at 52 (39 in my head) I have had enough knocks in my life to realise it’s not the end of the world if it’s not a success.
Do you have a favourite author?
Now this is the bit you are going to think I’m a little bit strange, the thing is I have what I call my SUNDAY BEST books, let me explain. You ladies are far too young to remember, (that’s very kind of you to say, but sadly not true! Sorry, carry on …) but in the old days when I was young we had clothes that were only for Sundays and special occasions, never worn during the week, always saved for best.
Well I have some authors that I save their books for special occasions like a holiday, the list of authors gets younger every year, at the moment there are about twenty of them.
It started many years ago with four authors, Marion Keys, Joanne Harris, Andriana Trigiani and Carole Drinkwater. Lots have been added since; one author which was added last year is Emylia Hall and her wonderful book ‘The Book of Summers’, such a beautifully written book, tissues are required when reading it. I don’t know what it is with this book but it’s had a big effect on me, I recommend it to everyone and give it as a present to friends.
Sorry to go on ladies but I could go on and on about my SUNDAY BEST authors.
Don’t be sorry, we love a good old chat
Do you have a writing routine?
Oh, I really wish I did, shall I tell you my dream writing day?
It would start at 5.30am with coffee and twitter, lots of coffee. Then ay 7.30am I would go off and write like mad until 12.30 when I would have my lunch sat in front of Loose Woman (my guilty pleasure) in the afternoon I would read what I had written, make changes also spend the time on emails etc. Then at 5.30 I would stop and pour a large glass of red wine.
That is my dream day; i will say it has only ever happened a few times.
Can you tell us three favourite things you like about writing?
This is a hard one, but I do love the feeling when you know exactly what you want to write in a chapter and it’s like being in a race, trying to get it on the lap top so quick.
Also a couple of months ago I finished the first draft of my second book, the working title is London/New York and I got to the last chapter, I knew for months how it would end , but then I changed the ending completely within an hour , that was a lovely feeling, and a big surprise to me.
Which means we do have to ask what three things you dislike
This is very easy, I hate it when all of a sudden you realise the 10 thousand or so words you have written don’t work. Since writing Putting Right the Past I have started four books that have gone nowhere, perhaps one day I will revisit them and try to do something with the story. But the thing is if a writer can’t get excited about what there writing, how is a reader going to.
One of the other things I dislike is writing about a character that has to be in the story but they are just boring, it always seems to take for ever.
If you could read three chapters of your novel at any venue, what would your choices be and why?
No I could never read my novel out loud to anyone, believe it or not I can’t be in the same room as someone if they are reading anything I wrote. But I would love to be in some of the venues I read about in other peoples novels. Can you imagine going back in time and being in a Lesley Pearce or a Victoria Hislop, oh you have really got me thinking now. But sorry that’s not really answered your question has it.
And just so you are in keeping with recent guests, I have to ask …. What are your thoughts on a Onesie?
I don’t really have any thoughts on it, there not for me is it wrong to say I think they are for young people. I know in my head I’m only 39 and have been for the last fifteen years and always will be, but the thought of getting in and out of one does seem a lot of trouble.
Fountain pen or biro——– biro
Lager, beer or wine——- red wine every time
Silence or music whilst writing——- silence
Early bird or night owl———-early bird
Valentine’s Day or birthday—–birthday
Car or motorbike —–car
Football or cricket—– neither not sporty but I do love Strictly Come Dancing
Okay then … Pasha Kovalev or Artem Chigvintev (SCD dancers) —Pasha every time
Thanks so much for popping by Ian; it’s been great fun having you here. Best of Romaniac luck, with your book.
And thank you very much for having me; I have really enjoyed myself, I’m sorry if I have gone on a bit, oh and by the way would it be ok if I take the rest of Celia’s cake with me. Also could I place an order for one every week x
Well, go on then – but don’t tell everyone I let you have the cake, they will say it’s favouritism. I’ll pass the request onto Celia, you never know your luck