Today I’m delighted to feature multi-skilled Tina Baker. You might recognise Tina from her TV work but she has more recently directed her talents towards writing. Her debut novel, Call Me Mummy, partly inspired by her own unsuccessful attempts to have a child, was a Number 1 Kindle bestseller. Her second, Nasty Little Cuts (be careful how you say it) is the story of how a marriage can break down to the point where no one might get out alive. Her latest, Make Me Clean is the tale of a domestic cleaner who helpfully cleans up dead bodies.
Tina was brought up in a caravan after her mother, a fairground traveller, fell pregnant by a window cleaner. After leaving the bright lights of Coalville, she came to London and worked as a journalist and broadcaster for thirty years. She’s probably best known as a television critic for the BBC and GMTV, but after so many hours watching soaps gave her a widescreen bum, she got off it, lost weight and won Celebrity Fit Club. When not writing she now works as a fitness instructor. She also rescues cats, whether they want to be rescued or not.
Over to Tina :
Which five pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
Creep by Radiohead – for the deep darkest most depressed bits of me. Play any Radiohead at my funeral along with…
Agadoo by Black Lace – a jolly track I teach in my fitness classes & featured as the wedding dance in my 2nd thriller, Nasty Little Cuts. It’s an ear worm – be warned!
Heroes by David Bowie. Sadly I never married him but he was the soundtrack for various decades & I adored him.
My Sweet Lord by George Harrison. One of the first singles I ever bought. (Remember singles!) Years later I interviewed him and got a hug from him so SWOON.
Giant by Calvin Harris & Rag’n’Bone Man – what a voice! So uplifting. Another one from my fitness classes, involving, not air guitar but air trombones!
What five things (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.
My cats. (A cheat as they are my family.) I have no children, so they’re it. Although I’m under no illusion that if they could open the food themselves I’d never see them again.
My inhaler. Literally. My childhood was plagued by asthma attacks & I had to shield during the worst days of Covid due to dodgy lungs. I can leap about in my classes, but strong emotions and viruses can put me in hospital.
Physical activity – be it dancing, walking, or teaching fitness. It helps my anxiety, I love the music and I always plunge into a dark abyss if I can’t move.
My phone. I’m like a teenager, glued to the bloody thing. I became addicted to social media during lockdown and haven’t outgrown it. Still, if I wasn’t I wouldn’t be doing this Q&A! I find it comforting.
Pillows – I’m propped up to sleep if I can’t breathe, with one between my aching knees & another beneath my shoulder (injured in a freak pole dancing accident!)
Give five pieces of advice to your younger self?
Don’t take things to heart so much. I was so self-conscious (& still am a bit) as a kid it was painful. (The only good thing about getting older is I care a bit less.)
Boy are not worth ALL that effort!
Have a bash at writing novels earlier, rather than leaving it so long to start.
Don’t start smoking. With your lungs!
Avoid the fat man who’ll steal your money & leave you in hospital. And the other fat man who’ll ask you to marry him and then change his mind and dump you a week later.
Tell us five things that most people don’t know about you
I was once escorted to a chemist by the ‘Tampax Police’ in Monaco when British Airways lost my luggage & the hotel where I was staying couldn’t help, & neither could the all male GMTV crew I was filming with. They persuaded a local pharmacy to open in the middle of the night & police had to be there for security reasons.
I once went out with a Lord.
I have hand fed a lion, a giraffe, an anteater & a lemur.
I once accidentally stole a budgie.
When someone tried to mug me, I hit him so hard I was worried I’d done serious damage and called the police to check on him.
Tell us five things you’d still like to do or achieve.
I’d like to earn enough money not to worry every single day of my life.
I’d love a radio, TV, or film adaptation of my books (See above.)
I’d like to have a dog. And I’m not ruling out a llama.
I’d love to get a handle on my anxiety, which is off the scale since Covid, despite antidepressant/ anti-anxiety tablets.
I want to regain my fitness levels before a bout of pneumonia and a collapsed lung set me back.
Many thanks for joining me today Tina. You brought some great music choices with you, I might have to exclude Agadoo in that statement though – fun though it might be. I loved Bowie, and Rag’n’Bone Man has a fantastic voice, plus, and on top of all that, you met George Harrison!! Cats are definitely not cheating, I count pets as family (I must revise that question). Sorry about the two fat men, they certainly weren’t worth your effort. I love the ‘Tampax Police’ story, I bet you’ve got some amazing tales to tell about your experiences – maybe they could go into a book? Here’s hoping you get to achieve your dreams and importantly regain your full health and fitness.
(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)
Make Me Clean
She will leave your surfaces sparkling.
But she may well leave you dead…
Maria is a good woman and a good cleaner. She cleans for Elsie, the funny old bird who’s losing her marbles, with the terrible husband. She cleans for Brian, the sweet man with the terrible boss. She cleans for the mysterious Mr Balogan, with the terrible neighbours.
If you’re thinking of hiring her, you should probably know that Maria might have killed the terrible husband, the terrible boss and the terrible neighbours. She may also have murdered the man she loved.
She didn’t set out to kill anyone, of course, but her clients have hired her to clean up their lives, and she takes her job seriously – not to mention how much happier they all are now. The trouble is, murder can’t be washed out. You can only sweep it under the carpet, and pray no one looks too closely…
Nasty Little Cuts
A nightmare jolts Debs awake. She leaves the kids tucked up in their beds and goes downstairs. There’s a man in her kitchen, holding a knife. But it’s not an intruder. This is her husband Marc, the father of her children.
Once, their differences were what drew them together. Him, the ex-army officer from a good family. Her, the fitness instructor who grew up over a pub. But now they grate to the point of drawing blood. Marc screams in his sleep. And Debs hardly knows the person she’s become, or why she lets him hurt her.
Neither of them is completely innocent. Neither is totally guilty. Marc is taller, stronger, and more vicious, haunted by a war he can’t forget. But he has no idea what Debs is capable of when her children’s lives are at stake…
Call Me Mummy
CALL ME MUMMY. IT’LL BE BETTER IF YOU DO.
Glamorous, beautiful Mummy has everything a woman could want. Except for a daughter of her very own. So when she sees Kim – heavily pregnant, glued to her phone and ignoring her eldest child in a busy shop – she does what anyone would do. She takes her. But foul-mouthed little Tonya is not the daughter that Mummy was hoping for.
As Tonya fiercely resists Mummy’s attempts to make her into the perfect child, Kim is demonised by the media as a ‘scummy mummy’, who deserves to have her other children taken too. Haunted by memories of her own childhood and refusing to play by the media’s rules, Kim begins to spiral, turning on those who love her.
Though they are worlds apart, Mummy and Kim have more in common than they could possibly imagine. But it is five-year-old Tonya who is caught in the middle…
What an interesting Five on Friday. I’m not thanking Tina for that Agadoo earworm though 😄
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Thanks Joanne and sorry about the earworm!
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