I recently read Kerrie Noor’s series Bellydancing And Beyond: Sheryl’s Last Stand, The Downfall of a Bellydancer, and Four Takeaways and a Funeral. This series, set in a small town in Scotland, focuses on a group of women who love bellydancing. These ladies are bigger, older, stronger, smarter, raunchier, tougher, and more out-there than you might expect. I fell in love with them.
Today I’m interviewing Kerrie with ten pointed questions.
1 You write about a small town in Scotland. Tell us some things about the town that didn’t make it into your series.
Kerrie Noor: Let me think…
There are quite a few things, and I hope to add them into up-and-coming novels.
The local amateur dramatics, the pipe band, sheep dog trials, farming community, and maybe a few local pubs I used to work in. And of course, more bellydancing.
2 Which character have you written that you had to spank, to get ’em to behave?
Kerrie Noor: Hmm this is question I have never thought off. Spanking?
I think that Mavis and Lumpy deserved to be spanked, and I suspect they probably already do in secret.
I can’t make my mind up about Sheryl and Steven, but my next book is about them so maybe we will find out?
There is a character in the Downfall of a Belly Dancer – Beryl who I think could teach me a few things about spanking, I hope to explore her in her own story someday.
3 What zany things do your characters do that are actually things you have done yourself?
Kerrie Noor: I was at a book signing in the local library and someone asked a similar question. I would say that I tend to write what I know and then exaggerate it to the maximum for humour.
Apart from the wrestling in Sheryl’s Last Stand. That was pure fantasy. The closest I have ever gotten to wrestling is wrestling with tangled fairy lights at Christmas.
4 There’s some awesome discussion of Indian food in Four Takeaways and a Funeral. Where do you really stand on Indian food? And what’s your top heat level for spicy food?
Kerrie Noor: I recently married into a Bangladesh family and for a few years lived on top of the restaurant. Before I met my hubby I ate the same thing every time I went to an Indian. Potato and spinach curry.
Now I can take it as hot as a vindaloo and love chilies. But I don’t eat a lot of meat. In fact, facing a few fish heads pretty much sealed my fate as a vegetarian.
5 Voltaire says, “I do write about my friends, but I mince them in little pieces before I serve them.” Do you put friends in your books? Enemies? Family members? Care to confess? Which characters can you never name the real-person inspiration for?
My characters are a mixture of different people I have known and loved.
I have in the past lived and loved with bullying, angry people. I don’t now, but I use my past to create a story that I hope inspires others to not put up with bad behaviour in the name of love.
6 Do you find the third book in a series easier to write than the first, or harder? Explain.
Easier, definitely. I have better idea about plotting, a work pattern that suits me, and my writing muscles have developed. I also use Scrivener, a writer’s program which is so much easier than Word. In fact, it makes writing so much easier.
7 I love the raw, everyday naughtiness of your female characters and their raunchy mouths. Have you ever written or contemplated writing one of those ladylike heroines who languishes at the full moon, with her knees closed, wearing a diaphanous peignoir, thinking elegant thoughts? Or did you start writing in this delightful urban-Scottish-regular-gal voice from the beginning?
Kerrie Noor: Thank you, glad you like my characters. I have always wanted to write full-bodied women who are flawed, behave badly, and make mistakes. I don’t like stereotypes. I was brought up in a certain way which made me miserable. I want to write stories that say women are all shapes sizes and have a right to live as they want.
8 Who are your literary inspirations?
What Katie Did – as a child
Catcher in the Rye – as a teenager
Darling Buds of May – as a young woman
Just William – as a mother
Jeeves and Wooster – as a mature woman and budding writer of great British wit!
9 If you could make three mistakes over again, only harder and better, which would they be?
Kerrie Noor: Wow, you ask tough questions. I would like to perform stand-up again and be more outrageous and not so afraid to make a fool of myself. I would like to have shouted more at certain people who treated me badly. And I would like to have behaved even sillier in my sport class – I got a few laughs but could have got more.
10 How many times a day do you say (aloud or to yourself), “Ah, feck ’em if they can’t take a joke” and what was the most recent occasion?
Kerrie was born in Melbourne Australia in 1960 but has spent most of her adult life in Scotland. She arriving in Argyll in 1980s on a working holiday and “just ended up staying.” Kerrie works for Alzheimer Scotland. She is also a regular on Dunoon Community Radio, practising her comedy and storytelling skills while learning about obscure bands and the hidden night life of Dunoon. She teaches and performs Bellydancing and is currently trying to develop her talents as a storyteller. In the past she has “done” a little stand up and appeared at the Edinburgh Festival. She writes under the name of Kerrie Noor.
Take a look at Kerrie’s bellydancing ladies. The first one’s free! The third book is brand new this week.