Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Q & A with Mary Grand

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

1.    Did you always dream of being a writer?

No! I often read of writers who started writing stories when they were very young, but it was not like that for me. My love was always music. I didn’t come to  writing untill about six years ago. I went to a class at the local college and it was like discovering a whole new world, feel so lucky.

2.    How did your writing career develop?

After I attended the writing course I started to write daily. Initially I was very nervous and worried about what people would think . It was finding something I was passionate about that was the turning point. I wanted to write a novel that explored  the effects of psychological abuse on children.
 I  published my first novel Free to Be Tegan on Amazon in March 2015.  It has been  a very  steep learning curve but I was fortunate to have great support from family , friends and a whole community of readers and writers.

3.    Your newest novel is called Hidden Chapters, what is it about?

Hidden Chapters is a novel set on stunning Rhossili Bay, Gower, and explores the themes of motherhood, adoption and family secrets. It is an optimistic novel about the hope and the courage each of us can find within ourselves to own our past and take control of the next chapter of our lives.

4.    What was your inspiration for the book?

I think the idea that we need to own and understand our past is something very close to my heart. In this story Catrin has hidden and denied so much of her past and this is the story of her facing this and finding the courage to move forward.

5.    Can you tell us more about the main character(s)?

Catrin is a fifty and at a crossroads in her life. Her marriage is in difficulties and she is trying to run from her past.
Bethan is her adopted Deaf daughter. Her character is based on research and my years of working with Deaf children.
 Elizabeth is Bethan’s birth mother, who arrives unannounced at the memorial for Catrin’s brother. Like Catrin, Elizabeth has lived her life in denial of her past. Their meeting is the catalyst for a re evaluation of their lives

6.    Where and when do you write your stories?

I know I am very lucky to be, at least in theory, a full time writer. Life though has a way of taking over. I try to write when I am freshest in the mornings but I do get lots of ideas in the early hours. Sometimes these can really transform my writing, sometimes when I revisit the ideas in the light of day they are less impressive!

7.    What do you do and enjoy when you’re not writing?

I go out walking with my dog each day, (come rain or shine!) and have family responsibilities.  To relax me enjoy reading, watching TV and films and going out for meals (or eating in…just eating really!)

8.    If you could switch places with a character from a book, who would it be and why?

Interesting question! I think it would be Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, I mean, Mr Darcy and Pemberley, what’s not to love!

9.    What books have influenced your life most?

 For the first eighteen years of my life, because of my upbringing, the book that influenced me more than any other was the Bible. I have been agnostic for years now and now reject the literal interpretation I received as a child. However there is a passage I still value. It is in Ecclesiastes chapter 3 , the passage that runs “There is a time for everything,     a time to be born and a time to die..  a time to weep and a time to laugh,  a time to mourn and a time to dance..” I turn to this in times of crisis, it is philosophical approach to life and helps me make sense of the world.

10.  What are you working on at the moment?

The novel I am writing at the moment is set it on the Isle of Wight in an area where I walk with my dog. Setting is always important to me and there is, up on the downs, a long stone with all kinds of myths attached to it. These I shall use in a very modern story of the friendship between two very different women both at a crisis point in their lives.

11.  What do you enjoy most about writing?

I know this makes me sound a bit of a megalomaniac, but I love creating a world of characters that I can control and whose destinies I can determine.

12.  Pick three authors you want to have dinner with and tell us why.

Jill Mansell :   I heard her speak at the Isle of Wight Literary Festival. She was wonderfully honest, funny, in touch, and full of practical advice for writers.

Joanna Trollop: One of my favourite books is The Rector’s Wife. I still carry the main character in my head.  I love the central character Anna. Her relationship with her husband the rector is heart breaking but very honest.

Daphne Du Maurier:  I would love to talk to her about how she described setting and atmosphere. Rebecca  is an amazing story.  Her development of character, plot, and incredible skill in description to my mind make her one of the most talented writers I have read.

13.  Imagine Hidden Chapters would be turned into a movie, who would you cast for the main characters?

Catrin:    Melanie Walters (Stacey’s mum in Gavin and Stacey)
Elizabeth:    Alexandra Roach (No Offence)
Bethan:  I would like a young Deaf girl to play this part.

14.  You have also published other books; can you tell us more about them?

My debut novel as I mentioned above was Free to Be Tegan, the story of a woman recovering from her upbringing in a psychologically abusive cult. I have also published two anthologies of short stories, Catching the Light and Making Changes. The common theme of these stories is that each is about a woman at a turning point in her life.

15.  How do your own experiences influence your writing?

Initially there was my experience of being brought up in a strict religious sect. The settings are also like an extra character in my stories and much more than a backdrop. I love setting stories in Wales where I was brought up and here on the Isle of Wight where I live.

There is also of course my cocker spaniel Pepper…we spend a lot of time together! There is usually a cocker spaniel somewhere in the stories.

16.  Coffee or tea?

My first coffee in the morning is possibly one of the major highlights of the day.

17.  Paperback or e-reader?

I read on my e-reader a lot now; it is convenient when travelling and also means I can read at night after my partner has gone to sleep!

18.  Mountains or the sea?

Mountains and countryside are for me the most peaceful and healing places to be.

19.  Summer or winter?

Actually I think my favourite season is spring!

20.  Sweet or salty?

I have a sweet tooth, and so chocolate is a bit of a craving I need to overcome!

Brief Bio

I live on the Isle of Wight with my husband and cocker spaniel Pepper. My children are now off working. I was a teacher of Deaf children and was brought up in Cardiff in Wales.
You can find me on:
Twitter: @authormaryg
Amazon Author Page:

Links to my books

Short Stories
Making Changes

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much Simona for inviting me to do this interview, great questions, loved answering them!