If your friend challenged you, would you dare? Charlie Blundell cannot get over the tragic death of her only daughter. She drifts between her job at the Art cafe and her hospital radio show, the only things which give her life purpose. Her best friend, the madcap Mercedes, cajoles Charlie into writing a ‘carpe diem’ list, but then swaps Charlie’s list with her own. Now, each must complete the other’s challenges, and the outcomes will astound both of them. The challenges begin as a series of relatively harmless, fun activities. Soon, though, the stakes increase when Charlie has to complete her challenges to save the hospital radio station. As the tasks become more demanding, a handsome stranger takes an interest in her, but he is not what he seems. One challenge causes a secret buried deep within her to surface, which may prove to be her undoing. Three Little Birds is a story of love, friendship and discovery, laced with hilarity and topped by a wickedly funny parrot called Bert.
Here’s Carol’s story behind her latest novel, Three Little Birds.
Three Little Birds was a book I wanted to write for some time. There is quite a bit of personal stuff hidden among the pages and it has a clear message – one of hope. It is more than just a story about two women and two bucket lists. The title alone is a giveaway of that fact. Not only is it to do with the lyrics of the Bob Marley song but there are three birds (parrots) in the story that provide much of the light-hearted humour and on a deeper level, the title has a relevance that I can’t divulge but will touch the reader and quite probably make them shed tears.
I set the book at a hospital radio station because I wanted to highlight the importance of those presenters who give their time freely and whose role is more important than you may realise. It is no secret that I spent a fair amount of time in hospital, undergoing treatment for spinal problems when I was younger. I had operations and treatments over a period of several years. At one stage, I spent 11 weeks on traction which involved being laid at an angle in bed so my head was at the lowest point, with heavy weights attached to my legs that were then dropped over the end of the bed. The idea was to stretch the spine and move a trapped disc. It didn’t work. All I managed to do was be sick, drop food and drink all over myself and feel depressed. Hospital radio kept me sane. I tuned in first thing in the morning and listened until lights went out. I would have howled every day in frustration had I not had hospital radio to keep me company with its cheerful presenters and request shows.
More recently, I met fellow author and hospital radio presenter Charlie Blundell on FB. She is such a cheery lady and so positive. She epitomises the sort of presenter who lifts patient’s spirits. She became my inspiration for Charlie in the book. There the similarity ends though as my character’s life is very different to Charlie Blundell’s.
The book offers a tale of friendship, love and moreover hope, even when there seems there is none. I liked all the characters, even the lesser ones such as Peggy who owns Bert the parrot and Susannah, a middle-aged woman who Charlie meets at belly dancing class. There is more than one person’s story in the book.
The thread that runs through the book is of course, the challenges that both friends have to complete. Each character undergoes a journey that is only made possible through the challenges. Of course there is much hilarity and the results are often unexpected. Even the slightest challenge sends the character on a different path and it was that message that I wanted to get across. Whoever you are and whatever your situation, be brave. Have a go at things that you would ordinarily not try even if it is not an adrenaline-filled challenge. Maybe it is as simple as learning to swim or have a go at cooking something adventurous.
Last year, I wanted to take up something from my Grumpy Old Menopause book to prove it would help women like me. I really fancied pole dancing but as I had a painful frozen shoulder that wasn’t possible, so I went for something I knew would terrify me but could be rewarding—I did a crash course in stand-up comedy!
The results were surprising all right. Having done one gig to a sell-out audience, I was soon booked up to tour the Black Country doing my comedy routine, Smile While You Still Have Teeth and then was invited to do it at the Isle of Wight Literary Festival on main stage! I’m not bragging, merely pointing out that you don’t know where these things will take you, so have a go. At worst, you will feel you have achieved something. If you have no idea of what you want to do, check through the list of 100 ideas at the end of the book. I’m sure you’ll find something there to amuse you.
So, for this book, I had to prove the point and embark on some of Charlie’s challenges. I’ve chosen four of them and a bonus challenge—indoor skydiving! How did I get on? You need to check the videos and photographs to find out. So, what are you waiting for? Carpe Diem!
Three Little Birds had me hooked from the opening page. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down until I finished. It’s filled with laugh out loud moments, a few you evil woman, you’ve made me cry moments, intermingled with suspense, sexual tension and everything you’d expect to find in a romance novel, plus the ‘feathered’ man of the hour, that lovable parrot, Bert.
About the Author:
When her son finally left the nest a couple of years ago Carol took up writing full time. She has written articles and novels which generally encourage others to age disgracefully and enjoy life.
Carol blogs at Facing 50 with humour.