Miriam’s Ramblings can take you to faraway places or cover edgy issues. It’s such an unpredictable mish-mash of snippets, who knows what will come up next? Sometimes I don’t even know myself!
I am a member of a couple of groups of lovely authors – ‘Love a Happy Ending’ and ‘Famous Five Plus’. Chris Longmuir, who lives in Scotland is an amazing writer of crime fiction and, like me, actually belongs to both groups. I met Chris at the fantastic ‘Summer Audience’ in June at my old school in Goucestershire.
What is the working title of your next book?
The idea came from readers of the first two books and from an agent at the Winchester Writers’ Conference a few years ago. Gypsies Stop tHere and No Gypsies Served are both set in the fictional village of Appley Green that ‘straddles the boundaries’ of Surrey and Hampshire. Aside from the theme of these two books, to do with the relations between Gypsies/Travellers and mainstream society, encouraging comments told me that readers enjoyed the style, the storytelling. There were spontaneous outbreaks of enthusiasm such as a local county councillor who emailed me, "They are amazingly readable, and I tore through each within about 48 hours of purchasing them. Couldn't put them down wanting to find out what happened." Many others said things like, ‘A right riveting read!’ ‘… a compelling yarn …’ ‘a real page-turner’ and so on. Perhaps people found this a surprise, not what they expected from a ‘village novel’ (yet from those titles, anyone could tell that these stories were not going to ‘shy away from thorny issues’ to quote another reader).
So - all I can say is that the ‘next big thing’ will follow suit - more surprises and twists!
Kay Brackenbridge would be Helen Mirren - of course! Dunstan? I wish I could think of a (living) mature male actor that would do him justice … He would need to have dark Romany looks, although he is half-Gypsy, and be oozing pheromones. Laurence Olivier? Perhaps Brendan Coyle on a good day with more oomph – more as he is in Lark Rise to Candleford, not as Bates in Downton Abbey. Solid, reliable, a man’s man, slightly brooding, sometimes restless, repressing anger, wry smile and dark, twinkling eyes … mm.
For my first two novels, the research took a few years – I practically immersed myself in the subject to soak it up! I was also working part-time. It took about a year to write the first draft. For Shades of Appley Green, there was less research; it was written more from stuff I already knew and real-life experience of working in the community. The writing was less than a year.
Well, it was a process – one followed on from the other, for a reason. The ‘next big thing’ will succeed what has gone before. Or will it?
Perhaps the fact that I cannot do a big reveal until it is published! This will be some time from now as I am still in the research stage; as yet, no plot, shadowy themes, some characters but quite how they will interact to form a story is as yet a secret even I do not know! I do have the setting, however! People seem to love Appley Green.