1. Tell us something about your latest book. Is it your debut? What genre does it belong to?
My latest novel is something a bit different, well all my books are perhaps a little unusual, I hope in a good way. The fourth one, Secrets in Appley Green, is set in the Sixties and, although essentially a love story with a twist and classed as Romance, it is also full of what you might call ‘social realism’. Hard to slot it firmly into a genre. It is village novel, and it has a lot to do with ‘coming of age’ in a bygone era – an era that I can remember!
2. Is your book part of a series or can it be read as a stand-alone?
It can stand-alone, but all four novels are interconnected. There is a big question mark hovering over the end of Shades of Appley Green, my third book, set in around 2012 when it was published, and Secrets in Appley Green very thoroughly answers that question. I hope I have got you intrigued! They are all set the same English village and although you could read them in any order, you will see the characters at different times in their lives as a few of them appear in all four books. So I guess they are a series but you can take them in any order depending on what your particular interest is. I recommend you look at the descriptions and reviews on Amazon.uk to help you choose. Gypsies Stop tHere and No Gypsies Served clearly have a particular theme and belong together.
3. Which character of your book was the hardest to write?
I suppose the key male character, Walter, was the least straightforward. Though charming and eligible, he is not an entirely perfect hero and yet I wanted readers to see things from his point of view so that they would empathise with predicaments he faces. I think he is likeable enough for the reader to care what happens to him, although ultimately you may wonder if he can possibly be forgiven. To say more would be a spoiler.
4. If you’re not writing, what do you love to do?
Various festivals such as the Edinburgh Fringe which I have done four times now and will be going again this year with husband and friends. Great fun. I am retired so have time to take a few holidays a year which, by definition, must be enjoyable! On the domestic front I like trying new ideas to cook healthy, tasty meals and knitting rather bizarre garments for my grand-daughters – bright colours, striped, fur-lined etc that I am told are a hit in the nursery playground! Then the usual things, music, theatre, films, TV, being with friends and family, always reading books, country walks with our English Setter. Life is good!
5. Did anyone inspire you to start writing or did you always knew you just had to write?
Always wanted to write. Most jobs I had involved writing one way or another – PR, marketing, teaching and freelance articles. The first time I saw myself in print was aged 13 in the school magazine. It was the first issue and I was the youngest contributor!
6. Any advice/tips for newbies?
Decide what you want out of writing. Is it for pleasure and to write what you feel passionate about, or is it to be commercial? If you can combine the two then hats off to you! Also, before submitting or publishing, make sure several people read your work and give you feedback, which will give you pause for thought but you ultimately decide whether to make changes.
7. Are you already writing a new book? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
I am not writing a new novel at the moment. I am waiting for inspiration to strike but meanwhile have set myself the task of compiling 24 stories I had published in magazines in the Eighties and putting them into two Kindle volumes. Handy reading for on the train, perhaps! I do have a regular monthly column in a glossy magazine, Surrey Life, about people who put life into village life, so I am writing something fresh, but not fiction, each month. Lovely tootling around Surrey finding unsung heroes and heroines! Am also a long-standing contributor to the online LoveaHappyEnding Lifestyle magazine.
8. Last but not least: What’s your favourite type of candy, if you don’t mind me asking?
Dark chocolate coated crystallised ginger. Oooh, yes please!
Miriam Wakerly has a BA Degree in English, French, Sociology and Politics. Whilst bringing up three children, she combined other work with writing short stories and articles; many were published in magazines. She lives in Surrey with her husband, and Appley Green is in many ways typical of this area.
Her writing activities also include twelve years in public relations and marketing, as employee and as a consultant, writing for company and product brochures, press releases, web sites and substantial feature articles on a huge variety of topics – from fibre-optic cabling and logistics software to puppy training pads and bees!!
She made a decision to change direction to work with people and became a part-time Community Support Worker, a role that put her in close touch with many present-day social issues. She worked first with teenage single mothers and then with people suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.
She was born and brought up in a small town in Gloucestershire and those years also influenced her creation of the village of Appley Green.