If you enjoyed “Sex In The City” and “Bridget Jones’ Diary”, then you’ll definitely will enjoy “Dating Daisy” by author-doctor-blogger-book reviewer- agony aunt columnist Daisy Mae. I caught up with the bubbly Daisy to find out more about her chick-lit novel, her writing, her doctoring, and her love of dancing! Hiya Daisy!
Boo! – now that I have your attention! – I’m Daisy Mae, doctor, author and writer. In fact Daisy Mae is my pen name. I have kept my real doctor’s name a secret to help maintain patient confidentiality etc… I’ve been a Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare specialist for far too many years! – prior to this I was a GP. My special interest is Menopause (take a look at my Dr Daisy Blog at www.menopausematters.co.uk).
What was the inspiration behind your novel “Dating Daisy”?
I started writing my first novel “Dating Daisy” in 2014, and it took 3 years to finish. Although it’s a fiction book, it’s based on my own internet dating experiences. Most people say they read and laugh at the internet dating scenarios, and then laugh again at my tales of working as a doctor in a sexual health clinic. That’s so good – as I love to laugh – don’t you? I didchange all the details in my book – names, times, places etc… and embroidered the story of course – so the only person who knows the real truth– is me! So it’s a humorous fiction book, but with a difference!There are emails, jokes, limericks, poems and even a recipe for love! Don’t miss dating Daisys’ Kissing Tips and Anti-snoring Tips! One of my reviewers wrote “YOU COULD DIE LAUGHING READING THIS BOOK!” yes – in capital letters! Thank you Mahiraj! https://www.datingdaisy.net/mahirajjajedareviewofdatingdaisy
Congratulations on being self-published – how does it feel to get control over your book sales, etc? What was your main highlight and what proved most frustrating?
In 2014, aged 52, I found myself divorced after a 27 year marriage. Both my parents also died quite suddenly around the same time. It was a very low point in my life. We had been a close, and I thought happy family. Suddenly all my hopes, dreams and memories were shattered. I was completely devastated. However … being me, I managed somehow to pick up the pieces. Life is very much for the living. There are no dress rehearsals. I was already 52. I decided to turn my life around –took the plunge and started internet dating. I hadn’t had to think about dating for nearly three decades. I wasn’t confident even about how to use the computer! Things like writing a profile and uploading a photo seemed monumentally difficult. I had to get over the embarrassment of people seeing me on a dating site! Grim! – But the things that then happened to me wereso unique and so funny, I felt I had to write them down! So “Dating Daisy” was created – a diary of my life events at the time.
I chose to pay for a publishing deal. This is because aged 52, I did not have time to sit around and wait for the inevitable rejections which all authors have. I wanted to be a writer, and I needed to see my work in print, and fast. I also knew nothing about the publishing industry. This seemed the quickest and most straight forward way to seeing my book for sale in a book shop. I never sent my book to any traditional publishers so I have no idea whether it would have been published or not. I do dislike the snobbery about authors and publishing and I wish other writers would realise that “vanity” publishing is not always a last resort – it may be a very positive choice. I am now however publishing by myself on Amazon KDP and I have parted from my original publishers. I had been pleased, especially with the publicity they organised for me. However eventually, I wanted to be in control of my book sales, advertising, book promotions etc... Publishing by myself gives me so much more choice and flexibility.
“Dating Daisy” has been described as a cross between “Sex In The City” & “Bridget Jones’s Diary” – about a middle age woman who starts online dating who also happens to be a doctor in a sexual health clinic. Being a regular blogger yourself on Huffington Post & on your own blog, writing articles about internet dating & sexual healthcare interspersed with book reviews – did you find writing your novel harder or easier than you expected compared to your serious factual articles?
“Dating Daisy” flew out of my head and onto the paper! It was easy and in fact I became addicted to writing and couldn’t stop! I made myself laugh all the time. And when something happened I couldn’t wait to get home and write it down! I used to tell my dates I was writing a book about internet dating and wait for the reaction! It was all quite hilarious at the time.
Writing as a blogger is more difficult than writing a novel, because you do still need a “voice,” but a different kind of voice. Even though you are imparting information, it’s not the same as a text book piece. It’s more of an opinion piece, but also it needs to be engaging and factually correct. I don’t feel I always get this right.
I also write web content for a medical online agency, and this is different again – I have to stand in the shoes of the person who has just clicked online, andwho may be worried or frightened. This means explaining medical conditions in everyday language. I try very hard to write empathetically. (Do contact me if I can help you as I am always looking for more web writing options.)
For each role, I have to wear a very different hat!
You are a NHS doctor working in the field of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare, specialising in Women’s Health & the Menopause. Do you feel that writing factually about a condition or symptom in a novel helps spread awareness, eg sexual diseases & associated consequences?
I am passionate about sexual health, contraception and menopause. In “Dating Daisy,” as this has been my major interest for nearly 30 years!, I just couldn’t help myself write one whole chapter on contraception, and one whole chapter on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s). In a way, this may seem strange as this is a fiction book, but in it, there are two text book-ish chapters. However, as it’s my book, I decided that I could put in whatever I liked! This may be the first novel/text book cross breed! I rather hoped that anyone reading it, might decide to go and see their GP and make some good womens’ health choices. If they do, then I will have achieved something really worthwhile – through publishing a novel.
Growing up, did you always hope to have a career connected with writing or the medical field or were your dreams directed elsewhere?
My parents were huge believers in a good education, and they sent me toboarding school for seven years, just because they honestly thought this was best for me. I wasn’t so sure. However, I did well at school and got into medical school. As a young person, I always thought that I wanted to be a doctor. However, languages were naturally my strongest subjects and I was sorely tempted by English, French and possibly journalism. I do have regrets as medicine is not the sort of career most people might imagine it to be. Now, I am lucky to be able to combine both medicine and writing.
Apart from your medical articles , you also write a lot of book reviews. Where do you prefer to read – in bed, in a comfy chair, in a library surrounded by books or elsewhere? Do you prefer hardback, paperback or kindle? Favourite genre?
Reading is a fantastic pastime. I marvel at other writer’s creativity and powers of expression. I love to read, and my favourite novels are always the humorous ones! I have just read “A Man called Ove,” by Fredrik Backman, and it was hilarious. https://www.datingdaisy.net/bookreviewamancalledove
One of my other most favourite genres are psychological thrillers – for example by author Barbara Vine. I have read all her books and adore them. It’s the chilling feeling in the spine that I love as something happens in the plot that’s often quite macabre. You will hear me say time and time again, that I just love a good story well told, and some of all time favourites are “The Book Thief,” by Marcus Zusak, “A Thousand Splendid Sons,” by Khaled Husseini, and “The Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett. If you don’t read these books, you will be hugely missing out. They are incredible. I enjoy doing Daisys’ Book Reviews on my website. I run “The Fabuloous Book Club” with 7 girl friends, and then post reviews on my site. Its super fun. I do review other books as well.
Have you seen one of my latest book reviews – it’s about the new best seller – “Little Miss Shy Goes Internet Dating,” by Roger Hargreaves!! Do read it, both the book and my review! Hilarious!
Hmm … I do prefer to hold a real book in my hands, however, I am so busy now reading and reviewing, I use the kindle on my phone. This means I can read while I am queuing in the supermarket or on the train for example – I don’t need to waste a minute! I usually read before bed time. I also listen to audiobooks while out walking. I love this! Audiobooks are such a great invention for busy people. I can’t recommend this highly enough. I do save books up to take on holiday and adore my holiday reading. I have a stash by my bed, one of which is the new Ken Follett, “A Column of Fire.” I will be reading this on my cruise to St Petersburg!
Where can people purchase “Dating Daisy”? Is there worldwide availability?
My novel “Dating Daisy,” is now only for sale on Amazon, as an ebook, paperback and an audiobook. It is on Amazon.co.uk, and Amazon.com. The iBook is in process.
When you are not reading, writing or working, I hear you are a bit of a dance fan! I love watching the Argentine Tango on Strictly Come Dancing. What types of dancing do you enjoy?
Dancing is absolutely my most favourite pastime in the world! I used to dance with Voldemort – my ex-husband– but when we split up, I lost my dance partner and didn’t dance for a few years. When I met Edward, we started together again from the beginning – as he had never danced a step! It has given us such incredible fun and joy to dance together. We have done all our medals: social dance, bronze, silver and gold and now we are doing gold bar one –in Ballroom and Latin. Our favourite dances are Foxtrot and Quickstep, although Edward is mad on Argentine Tango. I also love sequence dancing. I have written about dancing in Dating Daisy and in my new book, “Daisys’ Love Secrets” – due for publication any day soon. My poem “Learning to Dance,” has caused a lot of laughs at the dance school. – Yes, it’s in my new book!
We dance regularly, being part of a dance school (DM Dance Centre).We have made fabulous friends through dancing, and not only have group nights and private lessons, but we go to dinner dances, on dance holidays and to watch dance competitions. It’s given us so much to do together. Our highlight was doing the Viennese Waltz at The Johann Strauss Viennese Ball in Vienna in 2016! Next on the agenda is an Argentine Tango in Buenos Aires! … watch this space. I always do what I set out to do!… and I’m looking!
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Fashion is an issue for all women. You can’t get away from it. I suppose I have my own style?! – On an average day working from home I will be in jeans or leggings and a T shirt/round necked top – usually I like bright colours like fuschia pink or red. Over the top I wear a variety of comfy sloppy jumpers. In the winter I usually wear slouchy boots – black or grey suede. I prefer plain colours to floral prints. I often stick my hair up to get it our of the way. I like to think I have vaguely Goldie Hawn sort of look – but probably not! However, I love getting dressed up for a black tie event or a Ball. I have some beautiful long dance dresses and a fabulous array of sparkly dance shoes. Edward and I always try to be colour coordinated! I love the fact that I am now 56, and have a lovely lifestyle with lots of champagne type events – at a time when I might have been having cocoa and slippers!
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
I am quite a traditional shopper. With clothes I do always prefer to try them on and rarely buy clothes on line. I tend to go to John Lewis if I’m looking for something special. It’s hard to find nice dance dresses and I have a tailoress who I go to who will adjust the length for me in my dance shoes. My favourite dress is a full length, evening dress in bright red, satin from Damsel in a Dress. I have a favourite Cha Cha Cha dress that actually I bought having hired it first, in a fancy dress shop! I have a beautiful Hobbs, long black dress, with nude, embroidered back panel, and it’s gorgeous. There is a taffeta underskirt so the skirt swirls out when you are walking or dancing. I adore it.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe/accessory wish list?
We are off on a cruise for our summer holiday to St Petersburg – Yikes! – so I will be getting busy soon compiling a cruise wardrobe. This is exciting as there several black tie formal nights at sea, and it a great excuse for a few, new long dresses! I love putting together the colours and the bling! On a cruise ship – the more bling the better! Of course it’s also important to have nice day wear and sightseeing clothes etc… so I will be looking for thin, light weight summer tops and shorts/dresses. I always love bright colours. You can usually see me coming! Then in September we are going on our dance school holiday to Portugal – so another week of dance clothes will be required …. so much shopping … so little time! Accessories are more difficult. I love earrings and bracelets, but for some reason I find necklaces difficult. I like my neck bare. Rubies are my favourite jewels, and Edward bought me a beautiful ruby ring last year. I don’t know if nails and hair are accessories but I regard them as such! I always have my nails done – acrylics and shellac. For women, beautiful hands are essential. I have had hair extensions for the past two years, and loved them, but I recently had to have them out for a while to give my scalp a rest. Actually they were really good for my own hair and helped the condition of my hair enormously. Instead I have a clip in pony tail which is great fun. My friends and I have started a habit of giving scarves to each other for birthdays, so I now have quite a collection, all bright colours of course! I love snoods, for the winter. And fake-fur wraps for my ball dresses.
Boots Or Shoes?
Shoes can make or break an outfit and are actually very important. I am tall – 5ft9, but so is Edward, so when we are together I can still wear heels, and often do, as I’m often wearing wearing dance shoes. Putting on a beautiful shoe does something to your insides doesn’t it? It’s a Cinderella feeling! However, I am sensible! If we have a day out for example in London, I will be in my flatties! I like to wear close fitting straight trousers, sometimes with a stirrup and little flat suede shoes in a contrasting colour. I have two pairs of suede boots that are old friends! I only wear them however with trousers, never with skirts or dresses. I’m very fussy about shoes – they have to be comfortable, fashionable enough not to be square, but not outlandish – I don’t like wedges, trainers or anything clumpy. I like shoes in plain colours – my favourite pair for going in at present, are bright red! Yes – I do try to match the handbag don’t worry!