Welcome to my special guest author, the lovely Sarah England. Sarah originally trained as a nurse in Sheffield and then worked as a medical representative for nearly 20 years, specialising in mental health. She had always wanted to write fiction, but did not begin until around 8 years ago, prompted by a house move and relocation to the South coast. Since then she has published 140 short stories, mostly in national magazines and various anthologies; and most recently a 3 part detective serial in Woman’s Weekly. ‘3am and Wide Awake’ was released in May 2013 by Alfie Dog Fiction - a collection of 25 thrillers, many supernatural or medically based - two of her predominant themes. (It was one of their bestselling books in June) She lives in Dorset with her husband, Don, and spaniel, Harry.
‘Expected’ is Sarah’s first novel - a comedy launched by Crooked Cat Publishing on 28th June, 2013. (An excellent and auspicious date – it was the Indoor Writer’s birthday)
Q: What can we "expect" in your new novel Expected, can you tell us more about it?
'Expected' is a contemporary comedy about a modern girl from a council estate, who is trying to have a crack at independence and making something of herself, but is getting more and more into a mess as she makes so many mistakes. It is, if you like, a comedy of errors, as my girl, Sam Sweet, appears to be her own worst enemy.
First, she's with the wrong man (slimy Simon the surgeon), but hasn't really realised just how peevish he is until it's way too late and the wedding is booked. Also her mother is desperate for grandchildren, and as Sam has a morbid fear of childbirth this isn't going down too well with either her mother or her fiance- both now using manipulative tactics to make Sam do what is expected of her. So why doesn't Sam just leave? Well she's a failed psychiatric nurse (bit of a problem with the patients running the place when she was in charge) and now she injects facial fillers and it's going lumpy. Because of her the whole company seems to be in free-fall and her job is on the line. To cope with all the stress she starts to eat chocolate like supplies are about to run out, and shops like a demon on one credit card after the other. Pass the woman a JCB because the hole is getting deeper and deeper.... and only then, when she is trapped, in debt and fat, does she meet the man of her dreams...
Q: You've had a lot of success with writing and selling short stories, particularly to women's magazines. Did you have to change your writing routine to work on the novel?
No I am still as erratic as ever. I can tap away for 5 hours on my laptop and not notice it's gone dark and the husband is starving... or do nothing at all and lie around like a drama queen...
Q: Many of your short stories are incredibly funny (they make me laugh-out-loud). Is humour a big part of Expected? And can you share any top tips on writing humour?
Oh thanks - I am so glad I made you laugh! Yes well I am a bit bipolar in the literary sense - veering from either comedy at the one end of the scale to horror at the other ('3am and Wide Awake'), and very little in between. 'Expected' is definitely comedy - the Sod's law variety - the 'if it can go wrong it will' type - poor old Sam. It is also contemporary and already a tad controversial.
Writing humour - well I'm the kind of gal who gets stuck in revolving doors, flies out of the car with my foot wound up in the seat belt, or says the wrong thing - loudly - at the exact moment the room goes quiet. I grew up being an object of enormous amusement to my parents. I remember being taken pony riding when I was about six. The pony sneezed and I flew over its ears. I looked up, bawling my eyes out, only to see my parents pissing themselves laughing. So I'd say it's kind of natural for me to see the humour in everything.
Q: If you were planning a summer garden party which of your characters (if any) would you invite from Expected?
Well Sam would get drunk on cider but she'd be a good laugh and an endless source of 'thank God that wasn't me' kind of amusement, so definitely Sam.
And Joel - the hunky American dream man - oh boy yes, let's have gorgeous Joel!! Um ...and Minnie, Sam's best friend and boss - she's funny! Now that she believes her boyfriend, Toby, does not fancy Sam (God he's such a liar)...
Q: Who would you choose to play the lead roles from the novel in the film/TV series?
Christina Hendricks for Sam. Like a lot of young women Sam has no self -esteem and sees herself as a fat, ginger girl with no prospects and no class. But Joel sees a va-va-voom Christina Hendricks kind of gal - and so if Christina could dress down and then vamp it up....yup - that should do it. Now when it comes to Joel - well I'd have to have a casting couch, I think, and kind of take my time interviewing prospective male candidates....hmm... tough job but ya know...
Q: Expected is published by Crooked Cat Publishing, can you share how you the deal came about? And most importantly: where can we buy copies of Expected?
Crooked Cat are an upcoming modern, young company who specialise in online/digital publishing but also offer print-on-demand for paperback options. I had 'Expected' accepted about a year ago with an American company, which disbanded on the eve my book was due out - did I mention I was Queen of Jinx? The co-owner took me with her as she left to be an agent, but I didn't hear anything for months and then she said she was no longer an agent. A year had passed while I continued to write for magazines. I then sent it to Crooked Cat and they took it straight away... hurray! I just want to make people laugh... and here it is!
You can find out more about Sarah on her website. Why not tweet her at @sarahengland16 and Sarah is also on Facebook and Linkedin.
Sam Sweet stars in her own tasty trailer here (look out for the topless hunk!). After watching this I can’t wait to read EXPECTED.
And finally Sarah is giving away a FREE short story download from Smashwords here (coupon = SP93M), a short comedy called ‘Desperate Women’. Thanks Sarah!