Carol writes light-hearted humorous fiction and non-fiction aimed at those who wish to grow old disgracefully. Recent books caught the attention of the media and with the release of Grumpy Old Menopause, she appeared on BBC Breakfast television, over thirty radio shows, and now makes regular appearances on BBC Radio Derby as a Loud Mouth. (I can’t imagine why!)
My novels are full of twists and turns so it’s difficult to say they have one turning point. In reality there will be several moments where the reader will raise his eyebrows in surprise (I hope). Just Add Spice is one of those. It’s about Dawn, a middle-aged woman, who joins a writer’s group full of eccentric characters-and a young man who has a keen interest in her- in order to learn how to best write her first novel. She is advised to make her character as credible as possible by thinking and behaving like them. That’s fine, except her character, Cinnamon Knight, is an avenging Lara Croft type, out to exact revenge on every badly behaved male she encounters and who will happily murder them if necessary. Gradually, Cinnamon Knight begins to take over her creator, or has she always been there lurking in the depths of Dawns’ soul?
Through writing, Dawn discovers her own true identity and soon realises that she has been blinkered to the truth behind her own marriage. The complexity of relationships, love, marriage, danger, lust and confusion are all within the pages of the novel which might make you wonder if you should inject some spice into your own life.
Here’s an extract:
It was very late when she went to bed having completed the latest chapter. Jim was fast asleep and didn’t hear her slip quietly between the sheets. He was making that puffing sound he usually made, just before he burst into rhythmical snores that would increase in decibels until Dawn felt like screaming. She was tired now. Her eyes were sore from staring at the screen and she needed some rest before Jim decided that it was time for them both to wake up.
He was one of those, “early to bed and early to rise” people. About five o’clock he would start to become restless in bed which would inevitably waken Dawn. He would then yawn noisily several times and huff as if he didn’t fancy another day on the planet. Some short time after that, he would throw back the covers and tumble out of bed, clumping about the bedroom, opening wardrobe doors noisily and then running the bathroom tap for ages and flushing the toilet several times, oblivious to Dawn who was still bleary-eyed from tiredness.
Age was creeping up on him. She glanced at him. Light cast from the digital alarm clock glowed blue across his face. His mouth was open and he was dribbling slightly. She prodded him gently in the side to encourage him to move off his back and onto his side, where he might not make that irritating puffing sound.
Dawn pulled the covers up to her chin and nestled into the warm of the duvet. The puffs turned into gentle rumbles. Dawn burrowed further under the duvet. The rumbles became louder. Dawn gave him a prod. The rumbles stopped. Dawn sighed and covered her head with the duvet. Sleep wasn’t far away. She edged towards it relaxing and welcoming the night which would envelop her and leave her refreshed. She began to drift, floating towards that comfortable oblivion.
She was woken from the almost dream-like state by an almighty snore. Jim was at full volume. She shook him gently. Nothing. He continued to snore. She tried to move him. No way. He was out for the count. She hid her head under the duvet and fumed. She needed some sleep for goodness sake. It was 3 a.m. She needed those two precious hours.
Cinnamon suddenly appeared from nowhere. She was in Dawn’s mind whispering to her. Cinnamon wouldn’t listen to this holy row. She’d give him a sharp kick. As soon as the thought entered her mind, Dawn’s leg shot out involuntarily and caught Jim’s sharply on the tender portion of his calf muscle. The snoring stopped instantly. Cinnamon winked at Dawn. Dawn snuggled down again. A few minutes later the rumbling began once more. Cinnamon leapt up and grabbed the Tempur pillow from under Dawn’s head. It was weighty and sank in the middle. Straddling Jim with her long strong legs, she placed the pillow over his head and prepared to hold it over his face. Dawn shook her head. Too much Cinnamon. He’ll suffocate. Cinnamon blew a strand of hair away from her nose, nodded and got off Jim. Dawn leant across and instead pinched Jim’s nostrils together until he started spluttering. As soon as he started coughing, she feigned sleep. Jim coughed some more, then rose to get a drink of water. When he got back to bed he turned over onto his side and dozed back off.
Dawn smiled quietly in the dark and held her thumb up to Cinnamon who disappeared again into the recesses.