Miriam Wakerly is my first guest on this blog dedicated to authors and writing. Her first two books are about gypsies, and although the degree of warmth in the reception of gypsies in her English villages varies, Miriam’s depiction of the social and cultural interactions is done even-handedly, without prejudice. Her novels are told truthfully, yet with empathy on all sides.
Her latest book, Shades of Appley Green, is about life and love in a small English village.
Miriam will tell us a bit about herself and let us in on some of the secrets of how she chooses her setting and her characters.
Drop by for a cup of tea in Appley Green!
First of all, may I give a big thank you to Anneli for inviting me onto her beautiful blog. I am humbled by the wealth of spectacular photographs on wordsfromanneli and more recently on Anneli’s Place. Landscape is so much in the forefront of her books, it is not surprising that scenes of the natural world figure strongly, but these are really entertaining too.
I live in Surrey, England and I hope you are fond of English villages because that is where all my novels are set. My first two, Gypsies Stop tHere and No Gypsies Served go together but you could read either one first. As for their theme – well, the clue is in the titles.
“Appley Green is a charming English village. Everyone says so. But people are still people. With the emotional turmoil that comes with love, birth, and death, a close-knit community can harbour betrayal and guilt, as well as joy and laughter.” This is from the back cover of my third novel, Shades of Appley Green. Here’s another description from the Prologue. “Nestling quietly in a middle-England wasteland of sandy heath, Appley Green straddles the boundaries of two counties southwest of London.”
The beauty of creating your own village is that you can gather together the best features of places you know and blend them to make somewhere special, yet quite realistic: a sunny village green that is the community hub, a thriving row of small but inviting shops, a caring culture that discourages traffic. Although within easy reach of London, it is “…a village not blighted by the throb and fumes of through-traffic.”
Do you feel tempted to go there? Perhaps sample some buns from the local bakery or browse awhile in the gift shop?
But this is just the setting. It is the people and their fascinating lives, filled with troubles and joy, that bring the village alive. I have worked in the community for real, visiting people in their homes and have seen all sides of life, including secrets often kept behind closed doors. I never borrow real people to create my characters, but a few individuals have provided inspiration. I am interested in aspects of social change and community life as well as complex family relationships and, of course, romantic love. My books are not rose-tinted but … well, perhaps read some comments from other people who have read them, rather than what the author says. Readers know best!
So what genre are my books? I think genre is becoming less easily defined with the new freedoms that authors have nowadays. They are not romance, but have a love story; they are not thrillers yet, one reviewer says, “… the kind of gripping you only normally experience with crime novels.” http://bohemiacademia.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/book-review-shades-of-appley-green.html She also uses words like “tantalising” and “cliffhanger.” Perhaps they fall into that elusive category, “literary fiction.” Another author recently helped define this to me as a book “with a message;” so maybe they are. But they are not heavy reading, they are, to use a cliché, “page-turners.”
Shall we say they are popular/literary/village/family/community/easy-reading/social-comment with love story.
Thanks for sharing your time with me. See you in Appley Green.
All books are in Paperback and on Kindle
Here’s my blog www.miriamwakerly.blogspot.co.uk
Join me there too.
Shades of Appley Green is available for a few days at the special low price of $3.00 or £1.89 on Kindle.