And last up today is a Meet the Author interview with the lovely Eden Gruger. We’re talking (and giggling) about going back in time to give her younger self some advice, dog training, escaping the world to her sanctuary, autocorrect problems, her most recent book, Laughing at Myself and much more….
My genre is semi-fiction, so I use events and incidents in my own life and give them the Eden twist. So, it isn’t quite memoir, but you never know it may move more in that direction as the books go along.
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I live just outside London, in the surprisingly green Essex, with 2 dogs, 1 cat, and 1 husband. As well as being an author and blogger, I’m a speaker and creativity coach, and a bit of an eccentric, I’m the woman in unicorn wellington boots, wearing a rainbow jumper, who eats a pastry and ends up wearing most of it, wondering why people are giving me funny looks. But people can think whatever they want to!
I think it’s cool to be someone who challenges people’s preconceptions; I’m an author and blogger with Dyslexia and Dyscalculia, and a speaker and creativity coach despite having some serious issues that limit the basic abilities that people take for granted. The things I can do – well I just go ahead and smash them!
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
So many, so very, very many, there have been lots of admin and reception jobs, I worked as a telephone researcher, an appointment maker. As a sales assistant selling everything from mobile telephones, sweets, greetings cards, and in a bakery. During a particularly bleak phase I sold PCB design software (which I knew nothing about, still don’t). And have worked cleaning databases as well as actual cleaning.
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go and why? (Backwards or forwards!)
Oh goodness so many choices, after much deliberation, I think it would have to be back to see myself in the first couple of weeks at senior school. I’d take my teenage self to our favourite bookshop and tell her that there were going to be some tough times ahead, but that she should never be afraid to tell certain people to bleep off! and to call people out for bad behaviour. That everything that was going to happen would add up to make me a fabulous, tenacious warrior against injustice, and I was going to fulfil my wildest ambitions, and end up on the shelves of bookshops very much like the one we were in.
Other than writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
My two passions are gardening and dog training! I got a Border Collie in February last year (after losing my last one five years ago). We have worked through the Kennel Club’s Good Citizen’s awards which are as much about training you to be a good handler as they are about training your dog. Now he is a bit more mature we have started Rally training, which is a bit like an obedience obstacle course. We love it, and it’s such a bonding experience. My garden isn’t large, it 45ft by 65ft, but its plenty big enough for us! It’s like a crazy jungle of plant love! It was really important to me to create a sanctuary where we could escape the world, and after a few different incarnations we have ended up with a beautiful green oasis. I also have an allotment (always ask in your area, and in the neighbouring areas if there are any plots), and this is coming up to my fourth year as a no dig plotter. There was no way my neck and hands would cope with digging, and it’s been a great success, the pleasure I get from sowing a seed, watching it germinate, looking after it and then eating whatever it is, is just immense, and sharing the produce is one of life’s great joys. I can’t even speak about it without a huge grin on my face.
If you could give your younger writing self any advice what would it be?
When you are getting ready to leave school people will keep on telling you that being a writer or an author isn’t a job! And sure, it isn’t a regular job, but so what! that’s not how your life is going to pan out anyway. Carry on writing, and do whatever job you enjoy enough to stick at to pay the bills until you can afford not to have to.
If you were given a boat, what would you name it and why?
Oh definitely ‘The Vomit Catcher’, I am afflicted with motion sickness, so sadly boats are one of those things that need to be admired from afar, while standing on firm ground. And if I had to go aboard, then there would sadly be a lot of vomit to catch.
If you were a genie, what wish would you refuse to grant and why?
I seriously love this question, and it was so hard to decide, but in the end I decided not to grant power wishes, so no make me the richest, make me the more powerful, make everyone do what I want type wish. In my humble opinion no-one should be that power hungry that’s plain scary, and it doesn’t sit well with my inner hippie.
You win a million pounds – you give half to charity. Which charity do you pick and why? What would you do with the rest of the money?
Without question the charity would be one that supported people to process trauma, rather than just giving them psychiatric drugs, they would be offered therapy with a fully qualified practitioner (one who has studied for four years, had to spend four years working out their own stuff, had to have worked 100 client hours with supervision by an appropriately qualified therapist, and have had their own therapy as part of this process). Yep, I’m super passionate about this issue! Mind you don’t trip over my soap box, wow there is a whole different view from up here….
The rest of the money, I would buy some log cabins, put them in a field and have my very own friend commune – btw my friends are all aware of this plan, and this may be the reason why some people have stopped speaking to me. Lol.
What is something you can’t live without?
I cannot pick one thing, I did try, promise. But it couldn’t be done, I got it down to two! Number one must be my computer, because I can work from it, talk to people, look at all my photos, learn through it, listen to my favourite radio station, and my audio book collection. Number two is a bath tub, I have to be able to take a bath every day, because without my soak my neck and hands get too tight and painful to do anything with.
What is the funniest typo you have ever written?
When we moved into our current flat I wanted a fake fireplace built so that we could have bookshelves on either side. Because I don’t like speaking on the telephone, I text the builder to ask for a visit for an estimate. “Can you tell me when you can do an estimate for my chimney breast?” unfortunately my phone very helpfully changed chimney breast to ‘breast feeding’. So, I had basically asked the builder to quote me for breast feeding…When I realised what had happened, I quickly said “so sorry stupid phone, I meant to say chimney breast of course! Sent it and realised the phone had done it again. He didn’t end up giving me a quote – for anything!
What is your favourite word and why?
I think it has to be Yes, it just does so many things, it can be used to reach out and grab life, love, and embrace change, and that’s very cool, no?
How have you spent your lockdown?
No surprises, in our garden! Which has never looked better, what was the old veggie garden before the allotment was sitting doing nothing, so we took down the trellis and gained an extra eight foot in the middle area, and a whole new perspective. And
I finished creating Out Of Your Head and Onto The Page, a series of courses covering everything from writer’s block, route to market, branding, cover and interior design, marketing, social media, author websites, mailing lists and interviews. It has been my dream to help and encourage other writer’s to make the book they have always dreamt of writing into a reality, and to help struggling authors to become more successful ever since I first published.
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
Laughing at Myself is a collection of stories about all the times that life conspires to make you look like an idiot, and how to survive the embarrassment. Based on events in my own life but given the Eden twist. With titles such as Cataract’s Toilet, Wheel of (Mis)Fortune, The World’s Worth Burglar and Fishing Socks and Sexy Boots you know you are bound to be in for a giggle.
Because it’s only been out a couple of weeks at the moment Laughing at Myself is only available through my publisher. But it will be available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Nook and ibooks any time now!
final words from chelle…
Thanks so much for a fab interview Eden, this had me constantly laughing throughout (breast feeding quotes & The Vomit Catcher in particular!). I’m glad to hear that you only have one husband! And also love that you’re happy to wear unicorn wellies – I’d be there with you! I think the fact that you’d go back in time to give yourself some advice is fantastic, and also love that you do dog training with your pooch! I’m always talking about trying to get Chewie (my baby) to do agility up the garden, I think she’d be great at it!! Finally, I absolutely love the sound of your book so will definitely be putting it on my wish list!
If you have any questions or comments for Eden then you know what to do!
Have a wonderful day my lovelies