I found Sheila on Twitter. She’s a supportive fellow indie author and an amazing writer whose books have made me laugh out loud in the middle of a coffee shop. I hope I can meet her in person someday soon because her Magic Vodka Wardrobe series is fun and crazy and I have a feeling that she’s fun and crazy too!
So let’s find out more about this cool woman.
Sue: Thanks for joining us today.
You have a very interesting work history. Tell us how you became a writer.
Sheila: I’ve always enjoyed telling stories. Two years ago, I decided to start writing some down. My stories are based on real life observations of the world around us. I have a Whatsapp group with my nieces. Two of them live in Yorkshire over a corner shop and the oldest one lives in Sydney. We share daily stories of work, shop life, city life and of course my crazy life. My ideas for my short stories developed from this chat group. I decided to publish on my 50th birthday, my huge Indian family believed I had finally lost the plot!
Sue: I’ve read all three books in your Magic Vodka Wardrobe series and I couldn’t stop laughing. Are you this funny in person? And how was the idea for this series born?
Sheila: I’ve always been the crazy one in the family, seeing the funny side of most things and carrying out pranks. I enjoy throwing parties with lots of drink, loud music, dancing and karaoke. As I get older,I am trying to be more sensible. My sons are total opposites to me, very sensible, I often think I brought the wrong babies’ home!
The idea for the book series came from all the secret drinking stories I hear in the Indian community, young people are literally adding vodka to their Coca Cola at weddings, parties and religious ceremonies.Traditional parents still don’t like seeing their children drinking alcohol, so therefore it’s getting kept in the wardrobe and creating all kinds of social and health problems.
I let my imagination run a bit wild with the stories, it is very much about escapism and all very much tongue in cheek. The characters are all fictional, but I have made the books a bit more personal by including references to Yorkshire streets and landmarks that were part of my upbringing.
Sue: What kind of writing rituals do you follow?
Sheila: I only write when I am inspired by something, I don’t sit and write every day to tight deadlines. My whole writing career started as a hobby, but as I read more and chat to more authors in the writing community, it’s become a bit more addictive. I only write short stories so it’s important I set the scene and get the punch lines in, timing is important in comedy writing, the funny stuff has to be bold and punchy.
Sue: What do you think are the pros and cons of the author life?
Sheila: The pros are the flexible working hours, getting away from the daily grind and being able to use your creativity to produce something wonderful.
The cons are, if this is your number one passion in life, then it can be a long slow process before you get a publishing deal and start making any money. I think it takes a lot of patience and commitment to reach your goals.
Sue: Time for a quick fire round.
Your favourite authors…
Sheila: Lee Child, Sue Townsend, James Patterson, Amitav Ghosh
Sue: Your favourite fictional heroes…
Sheila: Mr Darcy from Pride & Prejudice
Sue: Your favourite fictional heroines…
Sheila: Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Eyre, Josephine March
Sue: Current read…
Sheila: Storytellers by Bjorn Larssen
Sue: What can your readers expect from you next? And when?
Sheila: I am working on book number four in the series. This should be ready in the autumn. Again, book 4 is full of colourful characters, all inspired my multi-cultural upbringing. Shaz and Trace once again escape their traditional backgrounds and boring accountancy jobs by drinking and dancing in the magical land inside the bedroom wardrobe.
Sue: I am dying to read Book 4! Good luck, Sheila 🙂
Get your copy of Sheila’s latest book here: https://www.amazon.com/Magic-Vodka-Wardrobe-Book-ebook/dp/B07NJ285BM