Miriam Wakerly’s talk at a Summer Audience

Coming Full Circle…

I joined loveahappyending.com before I realised their main book event was to be held at my old school, Sir William Romney’s School in Tetbury. It was as much a surprise to Linn as it was to me. Really, one of those amazing coincidences that can happen in life; fact being stranger than fiction sometimes.

My talk was totally different from the one I had planned!  Up until the moment I took my spot on the stage, I must have been up there in cloud-cuckoo-land, imagining that people in the (Summer) Audience would want to take a nostalgic trip hand-in-hand with me down the honey-coloured, limestone alleys of Tetbury.  Confirmed by a show of hands, I sensed that there were not that many people in the room with any attachment to the school whatsoever, or, indeed, Tetbury, so I had to think on my feet – on a stage with a microphone in my hand!

I alluded, rather than expanded on, the fact that I was born in Tetbury and lucky enough to live there until I went to university. My father was maths teacher, also Deputy Head and taught football in his early career. My connections and memories are … well, enough to fill a book! I have already decided that my next book in the Appley Green series will include something of Tetbury  and I cannot wait to start work on it.

I pointed out that the strong and enviable sense of community and belonging that you get from living in a small town, or large village, is something that I absorbed and used in the creation of Appley Green, the fictitious Surrey-Hampshire village where all three of my books are set.

I then outlined my writing ‘journey’ – trying so hard to avoid that overused metaphor!  Although writing was always part of my life, working and bringing up three children left little time for the novel project; so this is what I enjoy in retirement – writing novels and promoting them through book-signings, blogs, Twitter, events and talks.

I explained a little of how I came to write stories with a Gypsy theme and launch my first novel Gypsies Stop tHere, in Camberley Waterstones, March 2008, followed by its sequel/prequel, No Gypsies Served in 2010. My third novel Shades of Appley Green, has nothing to do with Gypsies but draws from my experiences of working in my now local community, both with very young single parents and with people with Parkinson’s.

Using neither print-on-demand nor ebooks, I decided to self-publish which,  was then a relatively odd thing to do, and spoke about this venture, on BBC Radio Oxford, Sue Cook’s programme ‘The Write Lines’.  Sending off manuscripts to agents to be with a large mainstream publisher seemed hopeless; so I set up my own publishing company – just for me! I allowed some time at the end for questions on self-publishing and how I went about it, as I thought there may be some curiosity on this, but I think this topic was probably covered well by other speakers – plus we were all thinking about lunch!

I have put up the ‘small print’ – the detail on my memories of Tetbury – on my own blog, Miriam’s Ramblings, http://miriamwakerly.blogspot.co.uk/ which may mean something to anyone who knew the old school in Long Street and remembers the very different Tetbury of the 1950s and 60s.

It was wonderful to meet the loveahappyending.com writers, readers and reviewers – what a lovely, supportive group of people. Summer Audience was a real milestone in the way the publishing world is going – authors, whether self-published or with mainstream publishers, are grabbing the reins and racing full-pelt towards a successful career in writing. Yay!

If you were there on the day – can you spot yourself?

Find out more about the lovely Miriam Wakerly and you can also follow her:

Author page (with links to buy): http://loveahappyending.co.uk/miriam-wakerly/
Author website: http://miriamwakerly.blogspot.com/
Follow Miriam onTwitter @MiriamWakerly: https://twitter.com/#!/MiriamWakerly

Please leave a comment

  1. Melanie Robertson-King Says:

    Wonderful talk Miriam! I think you did a fantastic job of thinking on your feet and turning your presentation into something truly special!

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