Monday, 23 July 2012

Facing 50's Spotlight On...


I have a huge treat for you today at this blog. Today sees the start of a new feature entitled 'Facing 50's Spotlight On...' where I get to realise an ambition and interview some particularly entertaining people. Hubby is sitting poised in the corner with his camera so we can bring you photographs too to accompany the interview. So without further ado...


I am tremendously excited to begin it with the talented and extremely funny Sheryl Browne, author of Somebody To Love here. In all honesty I should tie her to the chair (maybe with those handcuffs she brought along with her) and not let her back out into the wide world after this interview because I see extraordinary talent and humour in this lady which quite frankly, outshines my own. 

Facing 50: Sheryl, a very warm welcome to Facing 50 With Humour (even though you are some way off joining that club.) I have a few light-hearted introductory questions for you, just to let people get to know a little about you.  

Who is your favourite comedian/comedienne?  
Dawn French

In keeping with the spirit of this blog could you please tell us a short joke? Our followers enjoy a good chortle.
I was going to do a sensible one: What word is always spelled incorrectly? A: Incorrectly.
But this one keeps making me giggle: Where does a king keep his armies? A: In his sleevies.  Sorry. Sorry.  Tee hee.  Dysfunctional SOH disorder.

What makes you laugh? 
Classic sitcom – The chandelier scene!  Can you guess which sitcom?

I would like to inform you that at this point Hubby is smiling. It's one of his favourite sitcoms too. Hats off to Sheryl. She's only been here five minutes and in that brief time she has succeeded where so many have failed. 

You are at a circus – what would you enjoy the most there? 
Going home. 
  

What was your favourite?
Are you a Sherbet Dib Dab person or a Malteser sort of person? 
As a child, Sherbet Dip (that’s the one with the liquorice in, not the Dip Dab with the lolly).  I liked to stick my tongue in the sherbet.  Not nearly enough to go at in the Dip Dab bag!) Nowadays, Maltesers – who wouldn’t love chocolate you have to suck slowly?
Did you ever own one of these?


Did you ever own a Space Hopper? 
Yes! But mine was blue – and not that bouncy.  I liked to pretend it was a ‘special edition’ Space Hopper, but actually it was a cheapo version.  My parents had seven children!  Give them a break. Boing, boing, pssssst.




     *     *     *     *     *


What great answers! Hubby is nodding wisely at your last comment. I don't think he had a Space Hopper but he certainly knows about Sherbet Dips. (And chocolate.)
*     *     *     *     *

Now, lets talk about your writing. What genre do you write? 
I write Romantic Comedy, a title I’m comfortable with because romance and comedy are the key elements.  My recently released book, Somebody to Love has been described in an excellent five star review (please excuse the blatant self-promo) as fabulous, funny and heart-breaking. The reviewer went on to say, “The special needs thread running through this book will tug at your heartstrings.  Sigh with contentment, scream with frustration.  At times you will weep”.  I’ve had quite a few similar lovely heart-warming comments since and I’m obviously delighted (as well as a little bit overcome), as they perfectly encapsulate what I was trying to achieve.  Though I do write boy-meets-girl, falling in love stories (and love, as we know, never runs smoothly), I feel drawn to look at the relationships of people whose lives may be little more complicated than most and therefore their emotions a little more tangled. Simply, In Somebody to Love, my protagonist, Mark, has a special needs son, ergo a lot riding on any relationship he might enter into.  The story was inspired by a real life event around ‘a lost little boy’.  An autistic little boy, who wasn’t lost at all, it turned out, but on a mission to throw his shoes over his neighbour’s garden fence in order to facilitate a meeting with her three-legged dog.
I think when we laugh at characters in a rom com, we’re actually laughing at ourselves. We’re amused because it’s a familiar, comedic or embarrassing situation we could – maybe have – found ourselves in.  I also believe there are highs and lows and humour to be found in most life events, albeit they might be traumatic at the time.  My next book, Warrant for Love, touches on depression, for instance.  My main protagonist is from a broken home, his wife is divorcing him, he’s losing custody of his son… Sounds heavy, but he ticks the good-looking box, he’s clumsy, inarticulate, inept at relationships.  In short, he’s bound to end up in all sorts of embarrassing, ergo amusing, situations.  
In my next book, due out in the New Year, my heroine works as an Art Therapist so I have a cast of older characters.  Alzheimers is therefore something that can’t really be ignored (would that it wasn’t in ‘real life’).  I’ve been assured the book is hilarious, though, that the humour shines through, and the story deals with real-life issues sensitively.  I hope so.

Who is your favourite character in your books? 
Ooh, now that is a difficult one.  I think when you write, you adopt you character’s persona, so they are all favourites, for a while, even the baddies.  Fave of the mo, though, has to be Mark, PC Mark Evans.  Someone emailed me to say she could totally relate to Mark’s euphoria experiencing the highs as well as the lows of parenting a special needs child, so as the character I’ve researched, lived breathed and slept with(!) most recently, he’s my current crush.

Why? Well, you have to love a man who’s prepared to drown your moody abusive ex in the swimming pool, don’t you?  Oh, not such a good quality?  Hmm, well, maybe not.  He is caring though.  He has a reasonably honed body that comes perfectly gift-wrapped in blue, and a bone-melting smile.  Ooh, hang on, I think I may need to suck slowly on a Malteser.

Where do you think up your ideas for stories?  
Occasionally I get ideas from newspapers, mags or TV, but more often they are triggered by real life events, as in Somebody to Love.  True life relationships with all their trials and tribulations can a rich source of inspiration.  What I try to do, hope I do, is make the reader laugh with the character rather than at them as they stumble over the obstacles life throws at them.

What do you do to help you concentrate on writing?  
Leave home. OK, I don’t, but don’t you just sometimes wish…  I have to switch off to write.  Music can set the mood, but to actually write I have to be tuned out - and relaxed.  A nice long bath sometimes helps, but you know what inevitably happens then?  Yep, the ideas start to flow while you are neck deep in water, annoyingly. 

Could you please put a few brief words about you - something that doesn’t show up on the loveahappyending.com website. Surprise us!  
Something different about me that sums up who I am?  Hmm. OK, well, you know what I write and why.  You’ve probably gleaned I’m a determined sort, writers have to be.  That trait in mind, you may have read that I do other crazy things, having made up my mind one day I wouldn’t be a slave to my phobias or fears.  Ergo, I tackled my arachnophobia, even at risk of throwing myself out of a third storey window if the cognitive therapist bought an eight-legged beastie within a mile of me.  I’ve sky-dived, abseiled, hung from a ski lift high in the sky over the slope (I forgot to let go).  One thing I haven’t mentioned is my attempt at deep-sea diving.  I’m not talking scuba diving.  I’m talking DEEP SEA – as in on the bottom of the ocean with ballast to weigh me down.  Except it didn’t.  Being petite – but perfectly formed, not – ballast plus bodyweight wasn’t enough to keep me grounded.  I floated off.

I am, however, one of those I-Will-Survive sorts, so here I still am, mad but happy and alive and well to tell the tale. 

Facing 50: I, for one, am very impressed by those revelations.Sheryl, thank you so much for being such a good sport. You are definitely welcome here any time at all. I have to admit at this point that I read Somebody to Love, which is featured below, a few weeks ago and I couldn't put it down. I  thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait to read more of your books. 
Uhm, could someone please tell Hubby to take his chin off the floor and stop drooling please?
*     *     *     *     *

Somebody to Love

How do you tell her?

After that idiot of a husband ran off with that broomstick of a girl, single-mom Donna thinks there's no sunshine in her future.  What she needs now is a hunk of a guy who loves her and her three-legged dog with no complications.
PC Mark Evans is a single dad with two big worries – protect and serve, and his autistic son Karl. Desperately he wants someone who'll love him and his son without question and with no complications.  He's been hurt before and Karl needs stability – not short dates.  So he'll do anything for his kid – even lie to protect him.
Can these two get it together and get together?  Is Mark the hunk Donna needs? Is Donna the rock Mark can lean on?  If they look hard enough, can they find Somebody to Love?
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Somebody to Love has been made with love... love of animals. Sheryl Browne has done excellent research on assistance dogs, specifically their use with autistic individuals. With a focus on romance with police officers, appealing to all readers who love our boys in blue, the author's "teasing but not telling" style makes this read appropriate for anyone, including young adults and older teens.
Somebody to Love is endorsed by Danemere Animal Rescue Centre and OurDog Publications.


*     *     *     *     *


To purchase a copy of Somebody to Love click on any of the links below:
Safkhet Publishing
Amazon UK
Amazon US

You can find out more about or connect with Sheryl at these websites:





Twitter: @sherylbrowne

37 comments:

  1. Great new feature and good to find out more about the lovely Sheryl.

    I love that scene in the sitcom. The other classic from that sitcom is the Yuppy episode where Del is trying to act cool in front of some Yuppy girls and he falls thru an open bar.

    carol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Dizzy C. I am really enjoying meeting all these super people and 'chatting'to them.
      I was so glad Sheryl chose that particular sitcom. It made me grin the whole time I was going though her answers. The episode where Del falls through the bar is hilarious too. I'd forgotten that one. Thank you , now I am grinning again.
      Nothing like a good laugh to keep you youthful.

      Delete
    2. Yes! That was the other scene that had me hysterical. You just knew he was going to do it, but... Haw, haw! Masterful. They don't make 'em like they used to! Thank you, two lovely Carols! :) xx

      Delete
  2. Congratulations on the new feature Carol! Sheryl - I love you - you are always hysterical. :) At least I know that that bouncy-thing was called a space hopper. We couldn't afford one, but we used them in gym class.!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mine came with a puncture outfit, Steph. Didn't work very well. Boing, boing, squelch. Thanks for comment, sweetie! ;)xx

      Delete
  3. Love this!! I had an orange space hopper - I wish I still had it! Great feature girls!

    Mandy xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trying to imagine what we'd be like, let out to play, Mandy. OMGod, the Mad Mums gang is on the rampage. Run! :) xx

      Delete
  4. Great interview. I'm still laughing up my sleevies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Titter. I have a very juvenile sense of humour, Anneli. You have to laugh though, don't you? It keeps you sane. Um...?

      Thanks so much for popping by! :) xx

      Delete
  5. OoooH Sherbert fountains and spacehoppers - what fun. Though never did the spacehopper thing - was too old when they came around. Hoola hoop and pogo sticks in my day. Fun interview and great feature, ladies, thank you for laughs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now I have an urge to go roller-skating, Kit. I think I need to get out more! Thanks for commenting! :) xx

      Delete
  6. Thank you for my lovely post, Carol! I love your site! Inspiring m'dear. Now have the urge to 'chillax' and enjoy. :) xx

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a great fun blog - and super interview. Love the questions and the inspiring answers but still reeling in horror at your deep sea diving experience Sheryl!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not an activity I'll be volunteering for again, Janice. And to think, my biggest worry before I went down was whether the funny helmet thing would dislodge my fake hair scrunchie! (It did!) :) xx

      Delete
  8. I'm still laughing, and Sheryl, I think you'll need more than one malteser to suck on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh, yeah! Well, you can't stop at one, can you? :) xx

      Delete
  9. What a fabulous interview, ladies. Sheryl, you always make me laugh out loud. Love the joke (one of my kids' favourites, even though they retell it time and again without actually getting it. The armies one, I mean) and the deep-sea-diving anecdote. You crack me up, in a good way! Well done Carol on posting such a great feature. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Nicky! I have no idea why these thinkgs make me laugh so much. The child within striving NOT to grow up, possibly! :) xx

      Delete
  10. Thank you all for such super comments. It was a pleasure to have Sheryl here. there is no doubt that the lady has a terrific sense of humour.
    I hope to be welcoming you all here over the next few weeks so get your jokes ready please.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Love this new feature, Carol and so enjoyed Sheryl's hilarious answers. (Best part about the circus: Going home. Ha! Totally agree!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Bonnie. It's true, I'm afraid. Not quite my cup of tea, I'm afraid. Could never understand why anyone would want to run away to join a circus. But then, I've never been much good at juggling. Sheryl promptly burns dinner whilst posting on FB, again! :)xx

      Delete
  12. Great new feature Carol :-) really enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Eva- glad it has gone down so well and thank you for taking time to leave me a comment x.

      Delete
  13. Hi ma cherie! What a terrific wheeze you have come up with here, interviewing famous and funny people like that very nice Sheryl lady. She does sound a good sport, doesn't she?! Loved the joke about the king and the armies!! My favourite joke is "why did the monkey fall out of the tree?" "Because he was dead!!" I know, at 65 you would think I would have moved on from that childish humour by now, wouldn't you?! Loved the chandelier scene from Only Fools and Horses and, also, the one where Dellboy falls into the open bar. Hilarious!! Hope the sun is shining on you at last, you leetle mynx xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Salut my naughty leetle mynxy friend! I think you and Sheryl would get along very nicely indeed. I am only allowing people with a silly sense of fun to come along to our blog - we wouldn't want it to get too serious, would we?
      You are never too old to have fun and have a laugh...
      Sun is shining at last. Hubby is now complaining because he is too hot!

      Delete
    2. Ooh, life is far too serious as it is, Carol. I vote for silly every time! I literally just spat out my tea at the monkey joke! You know something, girls... kids know how to have fun. Love it! :) xx

      Delete
  14. Great interview!
    Hope you got the gremlins sorted!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mimi.
      I think I've worked out the problem. It was my fault for attempting to do something I am certainly not qualified to do. The blog will gradually take on its new look but I am proceeding with caution.

      Delete
  15. She sounds like one funny lady, good idea for the blog :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She certainly is...as you know we only have the great and the funny here. By the way those recent photos of your chihuahuas were wonderful. I should invite them here. They look huge fun.x

      Delete
    2. Love the blog, Alessandra. This one is going to be a runner. Thanks for stopping by! :) xx

      Delete
  16. Fun read! That space hopper pic had to be photo-shopped - did anyone manage to stay on one EVER? Loved dropping by!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me! Me! I did! Mind you, the fact that it was a bit deflated helped. Thanks for comment, Linn! :) xx

      Delete
  17. Hi Carol and Sheryl. You are both hilarious and I'd love to meet up with you both over a glass of wine. I love Sheryl's writing, I've now read two of her books and they are so much fun and so entertaining. I've just started Carol's latest too which is brilliant. I love this feature Carol - a great idea!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Kim! We love you, too! You inspire us, truly! :) xx

      Delete
  18. On the morning Carol posted her fab blog, I got bitten – by a cat. No, not a BIG cat, just a wee tiddly domestic cat, black in colour – and not so lucky. The poor thing had been injured and had managed to wedge itself between fence and tree, probably while fleeing in panic. The cat is now recovering nicely. Me…? Well, after determinedly trying to soldier on, typing with fingers growing worryingly more sausage-like by the second, attached to a hand the size and colour of a beefsteak tomato, I reluctantly rang the doctor, to be told to get myself the emergency surgery fast. One tetanus/diphtheria jab and a truckload of antibiotics later, the inflammation has subsided... phewie ...and I’m feeling not quite so wobbly. I’d just like to thank Carol, therefore, for stepping into the breach and commenting for us! Thank you also for my fab piece, Carol. If you ever invite me back, I’ll try to avoid crossing the path of any unlucky black cats. :) xx

    ReplyDelete

Please leave me a little comment and make my day!