Good morning Mary and welcome. Can I begin the interview by asking you a little
Good morning and thank you very much for inviting me to take part in the Tuesday Talk Interview.
At the moment I live on the Isle of Wight with my husband and slightly manic cocker spaniel called Pepper. We have two children who have been to university and are both at the point of making the next choices in their lives. It is a beautiful island and I am fortunate to be able to take our dog each day to the beach or woods or up on the Downs (maybe not so magical in the rain!)
I grew up in Wales and set much of my writing there, even though it is many years since I lived there. Before writing full time I taught deaf children in Croydon, Hastings and here on ‘the island’.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? How did your journey begin?
I came to writing a lot later than many writers. My creative outlet was always music. My real journey to becoming a writer began at a creative writing class. Initially I was very nervous and worried about what people would think about what I was writing. . It was when I started to have the courage to write what was in my heart that writing really took off for me. Once I discovered what I wanted to write about I was hungry to learn the skills and disciplines needed to write a novel. Advice such as reading widely, writing daily, with encouragement and feedback form more experienced writers has been invaluable. I read a wonderful book called ‘Bird by Bird’ by Ann Lamott on writing. She talks about the importance of truth in writing and has a wonderful chapter entitled ‘shitty first drafts’ which I just love.
You’ve written a full length novel ‘Free to be Tegan’ and a short story compilation,
‘Catching the Light’. What are your plans for your next book?
I am working really hard on my second full length novel. This is set on the Gower Peninsula in Wales and in particular the incredibly stunning bay at Rhossili. It is a wonderful setting and it is here a complicated and intriguing family saga unravels.
Which authors have inspired you and why?
Joanna Trollope was one of the first authors to inspire me. She has wonderful characters who drive the story. A Particular favourite of mine is Anna in the “Rector’sWife.”
I recently re-read “Rebecca” by Daphne Du Maurier and was so excited and inspired by her extraordinary use of language to create atmosphere and character.
I love the novels of Victoria Hislop . She works incredibly hard at research which I enjoy as I love to learn new things when I am reading. She has a wonderful gift of weaving this into her stories so that it never feels like it’s ‘cut and pasted’ in but an integral part of the story.
Finally I have to mention Agatha Christie. I re-read her books for good plots and for comfort. She is not afraid to help her reader, recapping and reminding you of things .
If you weren’t a writer is there any other career that would appeal to you?
That is hard. I did lots of interesting work before becoming a writer; teaching ; nursing; and office work. I feel so fortunate to be able to do what I am doing now.
I think if I had to change career I would want to work with books maybe in a library or a bookshop.
Where is the one place you would most like to travel to?
I would love to visit the Galápagos Islands, but am not sure if they are being visited by too many people now. I’d also love to visit the Alhambra Palace in Spain after reading about it in Philippa Gregory’s book about Catherine of Aragon, “The Constant Princess “.
And lastly, you can select five celebrities as guests for dinner. Who would they be
and why would you invite them?
Actress Amy Poehler She is a fantastic comedian and not ashamed to call herself a feminist. She is inspirational for younger girls without being over earnest or condescending. She seems to me to be a thoroughly good kind of person and I would love to talk about her work and her experiences.
Writer Jill Mansell I heard her speak at the Isle of Wight Literary Festival. She was wonderfully honest, funny, in touch, and full of practical advice for writers.
Actress Brenda Blethyn I think she is a remarkable actress who worked for twenty years before achieving success and recognition. I find her inspirational and also very down to earth and funny.
Writer J.K.Rowling I would love to ask her about her early years, about what kept her going and how she copes with the fame she now I think reluctantly experiences. These are two of my favourite quotes by her that i would love to talk about.
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default”
“We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”
Musician Evelyn Glennie, a Scottish virtuoso deaf percussionist; she has had a remarkable career. She has fought a battle for deaf people in a hearing world and has had the courage to change and adapt her views. I would love to talk to her about her career, perception of music and also about her recent decision to learn to sign.
MORE ABOUT MARY
I was born in Cardiff and have retained a deep love for my Welsh roots. I worked as a nursery teacher in London and later taught Deaf children in Croydon and Hastings.
I now live on the beautiful Isle of Wight with my husband, where I walk my cocker spaniel Pepper and write. I have two grown up children.
‘Free to Be Tegan’ was my debut novel. It is to be the first of a series of novels set in Wales. The second will be set on the spectacular Gower Peninsula. I have also published a short book of short stories ‘Catching the Light’.
Do send feedback to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Books and Links
Free to be Tegan
Catching the Light
also available on Smashwords, , Barnes and Noble, Ipad and Kobo.
Social Media Links
Author Mary Grand