Francesca and Elaine are thrilled to have Mollie Walton as their guest on The Write Minds Blog today chatting about her writing life and what makes her happy.
Other than writing what else do you love to do?
I love to play classical piano. During the lockdown, I’ve been posting daily piano pieces on Facebook for three weeks. I’ve called it Piano Therapy, because it seems to help with anxiety. I’m loving learning new pieces and having a target to aim for. That’s a good thing in these strange days.
Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
I think there are snippets of me in all of my characters, probably, even the baddies! I try to identify with all of them, however far from me they seem. I wish I had the bravery of some of my characters. I hope I have some of their strength. I’ve had to be strong at various difficult times in my life, so I know how it feels to have to battle through something. That certainly helps me to identify with my saga characters, who I put through the worst of times, the poor things!
How do you select the names of your characters?
Mostly I look up the popular baby names in each character’s year of birth. I will also look at regional variations, such as with my latest trilogy, which is set in Shropshire. There are some names that are particularly common in that area, so I’ve chosen those too. This is especially true of surnames. I have a list of common Shropshire surnames and have only used names from that list for all my Shropshire characters. It’s great because then I’ve been contacted by Shropshire readers with the same name, saying how happy they were to see their surname immortalised in print!
If you could tell your younger self anything what would it be?
I would tell her not to worry so much about the future. Things have a way of working themselves out. I would also tell her to start writing novels earlier, as it took me years to finally get published!
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on Book 3 in the Ironbridge Saga, which will be out next April. It’s pretty hard to focus in the current climate. The words don’t come easy! But I’m getting a lot of the historical research done, which I find my brain finds easier to focus on. It’ll get done! It always does.
Do you have a favourite writing place?
I live in a very small bungalow, so I write at a desk in my bedroom! It’s very comfy and snug. I used to have neck problems so I have to use a decent chair and a raised monitor etc. If I don’t work at my desk, my RSI starts playing up again. So, that’s my best and most sensible writing place. I’d rather write in bed though!
What does success look like to you?
Writing is a funny old game. Just when you think you’re doing all right, the goal posts shift! For years, my aim has been to live solely from my writing and I’m just about to achieve that this year for the first time. So, that’s success to me, because it means I can afford to write and it’s actually paying its way. Writing is the only thing I ever wanted to do as a job, so if it pays enough to get by, that means I can keep doing it. And that not only means success to me, but also pure happiness!
Thank you, Mollie, for sharing your wonderful day with us today. Read below about Mollie Walton’s The Secrets of Ironbridge.
Amazon Link: The Secrets of Ironbridge
Returning to her mother’s birthplace at the age of eighteen, Beatrice Ashford encounters a complex family she barely knows. Her great-grandmother Queenie adores her, but the privileged social position of Beatrice’s family as masters of the local brickworks begins to make her uncomfortable.
And then she meets Owen Malone: handsome, different, refreshing – and from a class beneath her own. They fall for each other fast, but an old family feud and growing industrial unrest threatens to drive them apart.
Can they overcome their different backgrounds? And can Beatrice make amends for her family’s past?
Mollie Walton is the saga pen-name of historical novelist Rebecca Mascull. She is currently a Fellow for the Royal Literary Fund at the University of Lincoln and she lives by the sea in the east of England.