Hi Mary, I know you write both Victorian and 20th century sagas but do you encounter any problems shifting back and forward a century?
Hi, Jean and everyone. Thank you so much for hosting me today, Jean. Lovely to be here
I love all era’s in history, and so never find it a problem to slip into one of them.
Once I have an idea, and a setting, I‘m away with the story, building it with research, and characters to fit the time period, and soon immerse myself as if I am living the story.
- Why do you think these two periods dominate the Saga market at the moment?
Back in the day, when I tried to get published and was submitting manuscripts, pre-2009, I was told: “There are enough clogs and shawl books, and interest in them is waning.” (I gave up for a while and worked as a creative writing editor on other author’s books)
Then, along came Downton Abbey and the saga market lit up once more as readers wanted to read similar stories – I don’t see that waning just yet, although the market is getting flooded once more.
I think that interest in war stories was triggered by reaching significant anniversaries of the two World Wars. And, in particular when we liberated women of today wanted justice for our grandmothers. We wanted their deeds recognised, and in the process, everyone learnt more about Land Girls – Bletchley Girls, SOE’s – very courageous girls who worked behind enemy lines as spies, VAD’s, Red Cross Nurses, Munition workers, and so on. Suddenly there was wealth of stories with a real buzz around them and the genre took off.
- I know you live in both Spain and England but does traveling back and forward interfere with your writing at all?
I try make sure that I haven’t a work-in-progress, and my desk is clear for the journey and at least a week after.
Once there and settled, I work so well. The warm sunshine allows me to sit outside with my laptop and beaver away.
I usually write two books during my winter break. However, I am now writing for two publishers and edits began to pile in at the same time, and so I only managed one and a half – I’m on catch up now.
- I know you get your first draft done in super quick time, so does that mean you have to do lots of re-writing once the stories down?
It varies. Sometimes two or three scenes need to go, or be added in. Then I may need to bring some scenes to life as I find that I have under-dramatised a scene, or maybe, overdone it, so tweaks are needed.
Along the way I will have left myself lots of notes of things I need to know, and these have to be researched and slotted in. For instance, I might need to set one of the character’s homes in a street that looks a certain way, but instead of finding out this information while I am writing, I post a comment to myself to research the area to find the street, and place it in when re-writing.
Same might go for a station, particularly if a character is leaving London and I need to know which station and tube etc that she will use for her destination. I have to start by putting the journey in to google, then find out if any of the stations were there over one hundred years ago and if not provide alternative transport.
All of this work can take a week of many hours work to fix. But I love this stage as the pressure is off – I have my story down, I have a beginning, a journey and an end. Polishing it all is a pleasure.
- Do you have the whole story in your head before you start or does it evolve as you write?
I always think that I do, as I write a detailed synopsis, and this can be a comfort as you always know the direction you are heading. But, what emerges is sometimes quiet different, as the story goes along paths that are not in my planning at all. I love these moments. It is like watching a film and not knowing what is going to happen.
- What has been the highlight of becoming a published author?
All of it. It has been just as wonderful as I always imagined – meeting readers, making friends with them, meeting professional ‘book-people’ in the industry, and being verified by them – they actually think I am a good author…wow!! Meeting other authors and the support we give each other. Going to meetings and publishing parties, book-signing, and giving talks – I love it all. And there are experiences still awaiting me as I haven’t yet managed to attend any of the wonderful Romantic Novelist Association events, or a book fair. Cannot wait for the time to be right that I can do these things too.
- Apart from writing what else do you do in your spare time?
I relax with hubby. We love to go out to dine. And to spend time with our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and of course close friends.
I do have many interests, but not much time to give to them – reading, crosswords, days out exploring, and having picnics, playing scrabble, sewing, cooking . . . sigh, just to lists them makes me wish I had time to do them more often.
- Will you give us a little taster of your new book The Street Orphans?
The Street Orphans is an emotional story set in 1850s Lancashire, from Mary Wood, the author of In Their Mother’s Footsteps and Brighter Days Ahead.
Born with a club foot in a remote village in the Pennines, Ruth is feared and ridiculed by her superstitious neighbours who see her affliction as a sign of witchcraft. When her father is killed in an accident and her family evicted from their cottage, she hopes to leave her old life behind, to start afresh in the Blackburn cotton mills. But tragedy strikes once again, setting in motion a chain of events that will unravel her family’s lives.
Their fate is in the hands of the Earl of Harrogate, and his betrothed, Lady Katrina. But more sinister is the scheming Marcia, Lady Katrina’s jealous sister. Impossible dreams beset Ruth from the moment she meets the Earl. Dreams that lead her to hope that he will save her from the terrible fate that awaits those accused of witchcraft. Dreams that one day her destiny and the Earl’s will be entwined.
The book will be on sale in WH Smiths, Waterstones, Morrisons, Tesco, Boyes, and on all ebook outlets – for Amazon the link is: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Street-Orphans-Mary-Wood/dp/1447267516/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1516787224&sr=1-1
Thank you so much, Jean, I have really enjoyed this interview. Much love to you and to all your followers. Mary x