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Rita Lee Chapman

Rita Lee Chapman guest post

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Eden Gruger - 24 July 2022

This week it is my pleasure to interview Eden Gruger. Would you please introduce yourself to my readers and share something about your life.

When did you write your first book and how did it come about?

People who read my blog were always asking me when I was going to do a book. And as I have always written stories there was quite a back catalogue to choose from, so in the end it was more a case of choosing things that worked well as a collection and editing! You could say Down With Frogs (my first book) was thirty five years in the making.

Do you always write in the same genre or do you mix it up?

I write darkly comic modern fiction collections whose stories are based on real life events, which as you can imagine is such a lot of fun. And I create non-fiction guides to publishing and marketing your own books, which makes use of the twenty plus years I had in sales and marketing. They both use different parts of my brain, but the same skills of discipline and patience are needed to get them down on paper.

When you write, do you start with an idea and sit down and let it evolve, or do you make notes and collect ideas on paper beforehand?

All of the above! I often hear a snippet of something that sets off any idea and I’ll note that down on my phone. Eventually it might get fleshed out and become a whole story. Sometimes a few separate notes might join together to become something much more interesting than they were individually.

Would you like to give us a short excerpt from one of your books?

Deafness and Accents from my new mini fiction collection Funny Bird

Auntie Elda is a lovely person, I think, I say I think because although I have known her my whole life, I haven’t actually been able to understand the vast majority of what she has said.

This is because she is blessed with a beautifully, musical Southern Irish accent, it sounds totally gorgeous, but thanks to my dodgy hearing is absolutely impenetrable.

Meaning that the extent of my participation in our conversations has been nodding. And whenever she leaves an expectant pause muttering “hmmm” ad nodding or saying “um yes” in as neutral way as possible, just in case it was a no that was called for.

Because I have never properly answered her enquiries or added anything if interest to our ‘chats’ she must think I am quite bonkers. And after each visit I imagine her going home and saying to my Uncle “ahh poor girl” while shaking her head.

The one upside to this whole situation, and one that I cannot lie I find quite gratifying, is that Auntie Elda has always confused me with my sister whom she rarely sees, and generally calls me by my sister’s name, so at least she thinks it is Laura who is the idiot.

Who is your favourite character and why?

My favourite character is the narrator, who is always a woman but doesn’t even get called by her name. She is blunt, and funny with no sense of embarrassment. But if you read between the lines and you’ll see how vulnerable she can be. Many readers have told me they identify with her, which is lovely.

Which of your books gave you the most pleasure to write?

Oh my, this would be like picking a favourite child, and I just cannot do it. They have all given me great joy, sometimes frustrating me, but ultimately allowing me to express myself and share my voice, so I have to love them all equally, don’t I?

What is the best marketing tip you have received?

It would be not to spend any money on advertising until you have released a few books, the Alliance of Independent Authors suggest six. It makes sense, then you can sell your back catalogue to your new readers.

How would you describe yourself?

A proudly eccentric, eclectic middle aged woman. Yep, that just about covers it!

What do you do when you are not writing or reading?

I have an absolute obsession with my garden, and my allotment – I literally dream about them! Watching things grow and getting to eat things that you have tended to yourself never ceases to thrill me.

If you could holiday anywhere in the world, where would you choose and why?

There have been places that I have seen on TV or read about that briefly capture my attention – Japan for one, and Canada being another. But the truth is that I am a real homebody, so if I ever do go away I stay in the UK so that I can take my dogs and never have to travel for long. Plus as my granny used to say “we do have some amazing scenery here you know”.

If you have owned pets, do you have a funny story you would like to share with us?

Oh, my goodness there are so many to choose from, I guess the latest one is that I was in an obedience class with my big dog, and had his lead attached to a carabiner on my training vest. Everything had gone well in the class, and the owners were just chatting at the end, when he saw something on the other side of the hedge and took off, so mid-sentence I was suddenly lifted off my feet landing flat on my back in the mud.

What is the biggest factor for you when selecting a book to read?

I definitely judge a book by its cover, but then ultimately it’s the blurb that engages me, or not.

Are you working on a new book at the moment?

I am! I have three non-fiction books based on my masterclasses going through their final edits. And the fourth fiction collection is heading for its final draft. So 2022 is going to be a busy year for me.

Do you have any events or book promotions coming up that you would like to tell us about?

My third modern fiction collection Funny Bird is available to buy in eBook – but free to all my VIPs, who help me choose covers, get to read my works in progress, and get invitations to all my events. So if you would like to be a VIP and get free access to Funny Bird here is your link https://bit.ly/FunnyBird