MARY WOOD - Journey to publication
I am the thirteenth child of fifteen born just as war ended in 1945 to parents who were worlds apart in their upbringing, but drawn together by a strong bond of love.
My mother had been brought up in a Middle-Class family. She attended private schools where she was taught how to be a lady. My father was an East-Ender, who, as a boy, took baskets of vegetables around the streets to sell, before going to war as a young man and fighting in the trenches in France.
We were a happy family, and though poor, we were rich in love.
A lot of my growing-up years were spent with my head in a book. We had a cosy place in the kitchen. A small corner next to the Rayburn, big enough for a basket to hold old newspapers ready to kindle the fire with. These provided a comfy seat, where the warmth from the Rayburn seeped into my cold body, and I could be transported to another world by a book.
The seeds were being sown, even then, for me to one day become an author, as the likes of Jane Austin, Charles Dickens and Louisa M Alcott fired my imagination. As did my mother’s tales about my great grandmother, Dora Langlois, who was an author in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I am the proud owner of one of her books.
But, my own journey into publication took a long time to happen.
I married young and soon children arrived and life took many turns. Earning money was a priority and I took on many jobs, from cleaning to factory work, to caring for the elderly and catering. Anything that would fit in with bringing up our four children.
We had grandchildren by the time I at last put pen to paper to write my first novel, and that is meant literally, as not many folk had a typewriter, and computers were something to come in the future.
My work generated nothing, other than rejection letters. But, I never gave up, and after being duped by a so-called, ‘scout for literary agents’ who took my money, messed with my manuscript and my head, before finally letting me down, I found the help I was looking for on an online site, called YouWriteOn.com. Here, I found other wannabee authors. We critiqued each other’s work, and became friends. The benefit for me was that at last, with all the help and support, I could feel my writing taking on a new direction. My characters were telling the story, not me, and they were dragging me in and along with them. It was from these fellow authors, that I heard about kindle, but was unsure that was the path I wanted to take. Self-publishing had always held a stigma, and was mostly known as vanity publishing.
After retiring from my nine to five, at the Probation Service, due to being struck down by ME – a debilitating illness that left me unable to walk, I was found to have breast cancer. Two major wake-up calls. If I wanted to realise my dream, I had to embrace all the changes that were taking place in the book world. And so, I took the plunge and self-published my work.
My world did indeed change. My health improved and my books all went to number one in genre. Doors began to open. I was approached by Pan Macmillan and offered a seven-book deal!
All of this at the age of 68! Amazing. Dreams do come true.
I now have my seventh title coming out in paperback, and published by Pan Macmillan.
TOMORROW BRINGS SORROW
You can’t choose your family
Megan and her husband Jack have finally found stability in their lives. But the threat of Megan’s troubled son Billy is never far from their minds. Billy’s release from the local asylum is imminent and it should be a time for celebration. Sadly, Megan and Jack know all too well what Billy is capable of . . .
Can you choose who you love?
Sarah and Billy were inseparable as children, before Billy committed a devastating crime. While Billy has been shut away from the world, he has fixated on one thing: Sarah. Sarah knows there’s only one way she can keep her family safe and it means forsaking true love.
Sometimes love is dangerous
Twins Theresa and Terrence Crompton are used to getting their own way. But with the threat of war looming, the tides of fortune are turning. Forces are at work to unearth a secret that will shake the very roots of the tight-knit community . . .
Will Sarah have a chance at a future, and what will become of Jack and Megan? One thing’s for sure: revenge will be sweet.
Available in all book shops, supermarkets and all online stores from May 18th
More about Mary's books on her website: www.authormarywood.com
Follow her on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/HistoricalNovels
And Twitter @Authormary