Friday, 3 January 2014

FUNKY FRIDAY - with author Anne Ullah

Fanfare please as I welcome Twitter buddy and fellow Indie, Anne Ullah, the fabulously funny author of the Toff Tower books.  If you haven't read them - DO IT! 

Anne and I settled with a bottle of bubbly and some olives by her stunning pool in Cyprus.  Here's what she revealed.

Anne, describe yourself as a writer in five words.

I can't help but write.

Your writing is very funny - how important is humour to you and do you like to read books which make you giggle?

Humour is extremely important to me and I have been known to find it even in the blackest situations. Yes, I do love a funny book but, conversely, I love a grisly murder too.

Tell us about your ideal writing day.

Ideally I like to get up early and start the day with some form of exercise - it always seems to inspire me. If I go to the gym I'm almost guaranteed to come up with an idea or two whilst riding the stationary bike; I've even been tempted to prop up a notepad on it and jot ideas down as I pedal. If I'm at my yoga class it can be a little embarrassing if I think of something funny and fail to stop myself laughing (this happens quite often actually and I have included a yoga scenario in my comedy novel "Trouble At Toff Towers II: Another Heap" which is based on actual events). I consider myself very lucky to be living in Cyprus where I have a pool in the garden and, if I go for an early morning swim, I never fail to get a flash of inspiration whilst I'm in the water. Obviously I can't take a notepad into the pool with me so I end up dripping through the house to my laptop to get my thoughts down quickly.

Once my exercise is done I like to be alone in the house so I can tap away undisturbed but by the time six o'clock comes around I'm happy to chill out on the terrace with my partner and a cold glass of Pinot.

You're invited on a chat show to discuss your books.  Whose would it be and why?

Can I please appear on two chat shows because I can't decide between Alan Carr and Paul O'Grady? Why Alan Carr? He's camp, he's irreverent and he's cheesy; what's not to love? Plus he usually plies his guests with alcohol which would help with the whole TV trauma. Doing a show in front of a live studio audience would terrify me. Paul O'Grady is also a firm favourite. I'm a great fan of Lily Savage and I love the Liverpool sense of humour. Mr O'Grady has a unique blend of warmth and comedy crossness which he has honed to a fine art. I've recently read both these stars' autobiographies and you can hear their voices loud and clear throughout each. Amazing autobiographies from amazing entertainers.

Dream time.  Ultimate dinner party? You can have anyone dead or alive there - who would you have and why?

I'm going to have to set myself a limit here or things could get out of hand. OK, I'll be practical; my dining table seats six so I have space for myself and five guests. Sorry Mike (my partner) you're not invited to this particular soiree. Here's my guest list:

Al Pacino - My favourite actor of all time; the man who brought the character of Michael Corleone to life. I have lost count of the times I have watched the Godfather movies. I could probably recite most of the script. The Corleones were, of course, the inspiration for the Codleone family in Trouble At Toff Towers.

The late great Peter O'Toole - Another actor I have always admired; absolutely amazing on film and I also managed to catch him live on stage in Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell by Keith Waterhouse. Perhaps Mr Waterhouse could join us for after dinner drinks? The parts of his book, Soho,  which were written in Yorkshire dialect were the inspiration for me to do similar for my character, Edna Bucket. Anyway, I believe Mr O'Toole has raised a fair bit of hell in his time so he will be good company for guest number three ...

Keith Richards - Hellraiser extraordinaire (I do like a bad boy). I hope he'll bring his guitar along and entertain us but if he just wants to tell tales of his trials and triumphs that's fine by me. His is another autobiography I would highly recommend.

Peter Kay - We're back to the northern sense of humour again. I'm a huge fan. I've just finished watching the box set of Phoenix Nights and haven't laughed so much for ages.

Victoria Wood - British institution and comedy genius. The soup sketch is one of the funniest things I have ever seen in my life. I'll be seating her right next to me in the vain hope that some of her genius might rub off.

Catering will be by Nigel Slater and entertainment will be provided by Margarita Pracatan (I'm hoping she'll do a duet with Keith)!

If you were offered a squillion pounds to never write again, would you take it?

Absolutely not. I don't need a squillion pounds; I feel as if I have won the lottery already. I'm lucky enough to be able to travel between Cyprus and the UK so I have the best of both worlds. I have time to write and time to read. I'm not rich financially but I'm definitely rich in lots of other ways. Plus you could say I'm addicted to writing and addicts can't easily quit. What if I said I'd take half a squillion quid and try to cut down a bit?

A cheeky answer and one I wish I'd thought of myself!


Planner or Winger? 

Night or Morning? 

Doer or procrastinator?
Procrastinator right up until the minute I begin to actually do then obsessive doer!

Writing/first draft or editing?
Write edit repeat, write edit repeat until the end then edit again and again.

Tea or coffee?
Coffee please. White, no sugar.

* * * *

Get into Trouble at Toff Towers here.

Follow some of the characters from Trouble At Toff Towers on Twitter:

Drop into the website or find Trouble At Toff Towers on Facebook. 


* * * NEWSFLASH * * *

The 'Stilettos & Stubble' three day freebie went exceptionally well and saw me at #3 and #11 in various categories here and in the States.  Sales have most definitely been on the rise since then and I'm, once again, delighted with the decision I made to run this promotion.  

The teen came up with an excellent idea as a way of keeping the momentum going with sales and I will be hitting the desk next week to see if I can put it in to action.  Watch this space ...

Happy New Year to all Mummy Misfit readers and to those who follow FUNKY FRIDAY.  Please let me know if you'd like to feature as a writer, reader or reviewer - or if you have news for the NEWSFLASH section.

Remember all of my chicklit books can be bought here for less than the price of a coffee.

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