Meet Carol Wyer author of Somebody's Daughter

The seventh book in the DI Natalie Dwyer series is Somebody's Daughter and the author Carol Wyer took time out from her hectic schedule to tell us all about the novel and her writing career. Carol's books are available in ebook from Amazon.

TW: Carol, you’ve written a huge number of books, mostly thrillers. Tell us about your journey to becoming a published author.

CW: Although I’d written children’s educational books and dabbled with children’s stories, I didn’t start writing for the adult market until after my son flew the nest and I commandeered his bedroom as my office. At the time, writing a novel aimed at women around my age, was top of my bucket list and I’d long had an idea to write a humorous diary of a woman facing 50 and all that that entails. I chose the format of blog posts rather than a diary, and began writing about Amanda Wilson, her grumpy, retired husband, her wayward son who’d boomeranged back into the family home, and her octogenarian mother who was having the time of her life, partying in Cyprus.

A year later, I sent off the final manuscript to agents, publishers and anybody I could find who might be interested in publishing it and, thanks to the blogging community and their enthusiasm for my humorous, regular blog posts based on those in the book, began work on a sequel.

Like many, I was met with rejection after rejection. After several months, I decided to self-publish the book. Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines sold really well and entered the best-seller lists high enough to attract the attention of Woman’s Own magazine who featured me in an article about best-selling authors. The publicity was enough to garner interest from a small publishing house who took on both my debut novel and its sequel.

Another small publishing house who published a further three books from me, including the humorous non-fiction book Grumpy Old Menopause. It was a book that saw me interviewed on BBC Breakfast,  on  radio shows, won The People’s Book Prize Award and got me my name as an established writer. Sadly, soon after the publishing house shut its doors and I found myself without a publisher or a back catalogue. It was a trying time as I found myself back at the start, however, fortune smiled on me again when Bookouture, the digital arm of Hachette, saw potential in my book Life Swap, and offered me a two-book contract which turned into fourteen books!

I tend to write prolifically, so I also have books published by Canelo who picked up two of my comedies and will be published by Thomas & Mercer next year.

TW: What caused you to switch to writing thrillers and which is more difficult to write - humour or thrillers?

CW: The turning point came with Life Swap. I love writing comedy but I had an urge to write something darker and Life Swap is one of those books that is very funny but borders on the dark side and has the most surprising of twists. I’ve always enjoyed reading crime and thrillers, so I wrote a pitch for a psychological thriller about a private investigator, Robyn Carter. I sent it to my editor along with the pitches for the two comedies she was expecting. She loved the thriller and suggested I wrote not one, but an entire series not about a PI, but a police officer, and the best-selling DI Robyn Carter series was born.

Without doubt, thrillers are more difficult to write. A vast amount of time is given to research to ensure facts are straight and police procedure accurate. Then there is the added complications of weaving intricate red herrings and twists into a plot and maintaining time lines! Trying to remember where every suspect was at the times of a murder and keeping your time line straight can be frustrating. That said, I absolutely adore writing crime thrillers and although I occasionally produce a comedy for a little light-hearted relief, I get a huge sense of achievement with each thriller I produce.

TW: Are you a plotter or a pantser and how do you approach writing a new story?

CW: I used to be a pantser. I find comedy is easy to write. It flows readily and the plots and characters aren’t hugely demanding. Writing crime thrillers is a completely different ballgame. I spend weeks researching before I begin work. My wardrobes get covered in coloured sticky notes, each with character details written on them, (different colours depending on whether they are a suspect, a victim or a witness). I also fill notebooks with backstories for each character and will download and cut out photos of houses, people, places, to help me form a complete picture of each character. If I believe in them, I find I can write more convincingly, so I know information about each one of them that never hits the page but makes them feel more realistic to me. Finally, I have to get approval from my editor for a full synopsis for each book before I even get started on writing, so I have to think up the entire book before I begin typing.

TW: Of all the books you’ve written, do you have a favourite, and if so, why?

CW: That’s tough because each book is special but there are two that stand out for me: the first is The Blossom Twins, the fifth book in the DI Natalie Ward series. I can’t tell you why, because of spoilers, but once you’ve read it, you’d understand why that book is special. The second, is An Eye for an Eye, which will be published on February 1st 2021. I enjoyed every moment of writing that novel. It’s darker than my other police procedurals and I feel it’s more like a psychological thriller, wrapped in a crime novel. More often than not, after I finish a book I want to rewrite it and never feel satisfied with it. This is the exception. A couple of weeks ago, I read over the proof edits and actually enjoyed it! Ordinarily, by that stage of the writing process, I’m so heartily sick of working on a novel, I want to stab it all over with a kitchen knife and chuck it out of the window.

TW: How much research goes into writing about police detectives, and on the flip side, serial killers?

CW: Stacks and stacks. In fact, I always seem to be researching, whether that’s looking for new ideas for future books, googling ways to murder people or chatting in relevant writing groups on Facebook. I also have lists with names of ‘go to’ people who help me out with police procedure, technical information and forensics and as a member of the CWA I have access to experts. In fact, I’m really looking forward to a CWA Zoom meeting later this month because the speaker, James Grieve, Emeritus Professor in Forensic Medicine at Aberdeen University, will be speaking about facts and fiction in crime writing.

As for serial killers, I watch endless documentaries about them and read a great deal of books on psychology. I’m fascinated by the human mind and especially by what makes somebody commit such heinous crimes. To that end, I often write from the point of view of killers who are often driven to murder due to external influences and sometimes aren’t even in control of their actions. I feel it’s important for my readers to understand why the perpetrator has acted in this way and even for them to empathise with the murderer.

TW: What aspect of being a writer do you find most challenging?

CW: Retaining all the plot and character information in my head for weeks on end, before I can commit it to paper. It swirls around like a permanent fog and I am a nightmare to live with. I pay little attention to anything: housework, cooking, conversations with the family, television programmes. I go through the motions, but most of the time, my mind is elsewhere, going back over plotlines, giving my characters more identity and changing various scenarios. Secondly, typing! I am the world’s slowest typist and even after twenty-five novels still only type with four fingers.

TW: Which thriller authors do you like to read, or do you prefer a different genre to unwind with?

CW: There are so many great authors, well-known and lesser known, that to whittle it down to only a handful is very difficult, however, I’m really into Scandinavian Noir at present and have loved all of Jo Nesbo’s book. I also enjoyed Samuel Bjork’s series, especially I'm Travelling Alone and all of Ragnar Johnson’s.  I’m a massive Harlan Coben fan and pretty much enjoy anything written by David Baldacci, Karin Slaughter, Tess Gerritsen and Ian Rankin.

I also have also read quite a few of my fellow Bookouture authors’ books and highly recommend Angie Marsons, Sue Watson, Patricia Gibney and Caroline Mitchell. Actually, I’d recommend a whole bunch more of them, but there isn’t space here to do so.

TW: Tell us how you got your agent and did you have to deal with a lot of rejection?

CW: Like many authors, I thought the only way to get published was to first find an agent, so I bought a copy of The Writers’ Handbook and emailed every agent I thought would be interested in my debut novel. Each email was proceeded by an agonising, lengthy wait - months and months - until my inbox pinged with an incoming email. I’d eagerly open it, only to discover it was yet another rejection.

After eight months, I gave up badgering agents and publishers and self-published the book. I didn’t try again until after the success of Grumpy Old Menopause.  When I was picked up by Bookouture I decided I didn’t need an agent after all. Bookouture really look after their authors and I had no intention of looking elsewhere for a publisher.

After the publication of my first crime thriller Little Girl Lost I was approached by my now agent Amy Tannenbaum from Jane Rotrosen agency in New York. I didn’t have anything to offer her as I’d just signed a seven-book deal with Bookouture so I politely declined her offer to represent me along with another couple of other offers which appeared at the same time.

The other agents disappeared, but Amy didn’t. She followed me on Twitter and would retweet my tweets and congratulate me on every new release.

While I was working on the DI Natalie Ward series I also wrote a much darker script, one Bookouture weren’t so keen to publish. At the same time, Amy popped up on my timeline, congratulating me on selling over half a million copies. I emailed her and asked if she’d like to read it, with a view to giving me feedback (she was an editor before she was an agent) and maybe representing me if she liked it. Needless to say, she did both and on the back of it, secured me a three-book deal with Thomas & Mercer.

TW: What are your top tips for aspiring authors?

CW: Be extremely patient. You are likely to get knockback after knockback, so believe in yourself. 

Do not rush to get your book published. With hindsight, I wish I’d waited longer and made sure that first book was perfect. When I reread it, five years after I wrote it, I could see how it should have been improved. At the time, I was blinkered, keen to get it ‘out there’ and yet, if I’d put it away in a drawer for a few months and got some valuable input from beta readers or editors, it would have been an infinitely better book.

Edit, edit, edit. I can’t stress enough how important it is to make sure your book is professionally edited. You may think you can do it yourself but you will miss mistakes and a good book can be spoiled through poor editing.

When you finish your debut novel, start another. It will keep your mind busy while you wait to hear from publishers who can take months to get back to you.

Keep perfecting your art. You never stop learning or improving your skill. Even if you only have time to write short stories or blog posts, stick at it.

If you don’t enjoy what you’re working on, stop. Maybe go back to it later, or write something else. I throw away thousands of words every book.

Quick fire questions:

TW: If I wasn’t a writer I would be…

CW: An actress or television presenter. 

TW: My favourite fictional character is…

CW: Eeyore from The House at Pooh Corner

TW: The book I wish I had written is....

CW: Anthony Burgess’ dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange because it absolutely wowed me the first time I read it and even today, sends chills through me.

TW: My desert island read is... 

CW: The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone.

TW: My favourite book to film/TV series adaptation is...

CW: As a rule, I tend not to watch film or TV adaptations. I much prefer reading to watching films. One that I really enjoyed, however, was Lord of The Flies.

Thanks Carol!

More about Somebody's Daughter

One by one the girls disappeared…

When the frail body of a teenage girl is discovered strangled in a parking lot, shards of ice form in Detective Natalie Ward’s veins. As Natalie looks at the freckles scattered on her cheeks and the pale pink lips tinged with blue, she remembers that this innocent girl is somebody’s daughter…

The girl is identified as missing teenager Amelia Saunders, who has run away from home and her controlling father. Natalie’s heart sinks further when it becomes clear that Amelia has been working on the streets, manipulated by her violent new boyfriend Tommy.

A day later, another vulnerable girl is found strangled on a park bench. Like Amelia, Katie Bray was a runaway with connections to Tommy, and Natalie is determined to find him and track down the monster attacking these scared and lonely girls.

But when a wealthy young woman is found murdered the next morning, the word ‘guilty’ scrawled on her forehead, Natalie realises that the case is more complex than she first thought. Determined to establish a connection between her three victims, Natalie wastes no time in chasing down the evidence, tracing everyone who crossed their paths. Then, a key suspect’s body turns up in the canal, a mole in Natalie’s department leaks vital information and everything seems to be against her. Can Natalie stop this clever and manipulative killer before they strike again?


  1. Thank you both so much for inviting me along. I thoroughly enjoyed being interviewed by you. Alas, now edits are calling...

  2. A great read. Thank you Love Carol.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts