Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
I’m very happy to share this guest post by author Madalyn Morgan with you today. Read on to find out her inspiration for her latest novel and more about both it and about herself…..
In the words of the song, ‘Going back to the beginning,’ I began to write while I was working as an actress. I gave up acting for love – and to get a mortgage – and then love gave me up ten years later. By then it would have been difficult to get back into acting. Ten years is a long time to be out of the business, I’d have had to start again from the beginning. Did I want to? I looked in the mirror one day and asked myself exactly that question. And the answer was no! Brave at the time because acting becomes an obsession, it’s who you are. Anyway, it was while I was working as a PAYE employee that I began to write. I worked hard and I liked the people I worked with, but I wasn’t cut out to spend my days in an office. Nor was I cut out to play the role of sardine on the London Underground. Standing with my nose under someone’s armpit on Monday morning, on the Northern Line from Balham to the City of London, was the worst experience, but I did it. During those ten years, I was starved of creativity, so I began a correspondence writing course with the Writer’s Bureau in Manchester – and I loved it.
The wartime saga came about after spending weekends with my mother who had worked in a factory during the war. She had an awful job degreasing parts of aircraft engines – mostly magnetos – a part of the engine that’s driven by an electrical generator that uses permanent magnets and coils to produce a high voltage which fires the aircraft’s spark plugs. Magnetos get clogged up with grease and mum’s job was to lower them using heavy chains into vats of acid. For doing this she earned five shillings a week more than the other women and was given a free bottle of milk. Mum hated milk and gave it to her friend who was pregnant.
Fifteen years ago, mum wanted to return a brass aeroplane – a Wellington Bomber – to the Polish pilot who had made it for her in WW2. Franek and his crew escaped Poland in 1939 and crash-landed in England. Living quarters on the nearby Commonwealth Aerodromes, Bitteswell and Bruntingthorpe, weren’t ready, so every house in the village took in a Polish airman. I didn’t find Franek, he had died, but I found his son who was delighted to have the aeroplane. His mother and father were divorced and it was his father’s second family who had his medals.
Mum told me about her life outside work during the Second World War. She and her friends cycled for miles to dances and she wrote hundreds of letters. When Army convoys came through the town soldiers shouted their names and numbers to pretty girls, asking them to write. Mum also wrote to Franek’s sister in Poland. Her name was Vanda, which is my middle name. When I came to the biography module on the Writing Bureau’s course, I wrote about Mum. My tutor liked what I’d written but said because mum and I were unknown, I should turn it into fiction. I still have Mum’s biography. One day I will turn it into fiction.
I have always been fascinated by the achievements of women in the Twentieth Century, especially women who worked and served in the two world wars. So, as I had a mountain of information from my mum, I decided to write about women in WW2. I had too many ideas for one book and plotted four: Four different sisters, four wartime careers, and four loves.
Thank you for asking me to write a post of my choice. Writing about my lovely mum brought back many happy memories. Mum died before my first novel was published, but I’m sure if she’d read it, she would have approved.
Thank you for agreeing to write a guest post – and such a moving one! I’m sorry for your loss but am certain your Mum would be proud of you and your achievements.
Sick of working in a world of spies and bureaucracy, Ena Green, nee Dudley, leaves the Home Office and starts her own investigating agency.
Working for herself she can choose which investigations to take and, more importantly, which to turn down.
While working on two investigations, Ena is called as a prosecution witness in the Old Bailey trial of a cold-blooded killer who she exposed as a spy the year before.
I was bought up in a pub in a small market town called Lutterworth. For as long as I can remember, my dream was to be an actress and a writer. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live with so many characters to study and accents to learn. I was offered Crossroads the first time around. However, my mother wanted me to have a ‘proper’ job that I could fall back on if I needed to, so I did a hairdressing apprenticeship. Eight years later, aged twenty-four, I gave up a successful salon and wig-hire business in the theatre for a place at East 15 Drama College and a career as an actress, working in Repertory theatre, the West End, film and television.
In 1995, with fewer parts for older actresses, I gave up acting. I taught myself to touch-type, completed a two-year correspondence course with The Writer’s Bureau and began writing articles and presenting radio.
In 2010, after living in London for thirty-six years, I moved back to Lutterworth. I swapped two window boxes and a mortgage for a garden and the freedom to write. Since then, I have written nine novels. The first four, The Dudley Sisters’ Saga, tell the stories of four sisters in World War 2. My current novel, Old Cases, New Colours, is a thriller/detective story set in 1960. I am writing Christmas book – Christmas Applause – and a Memoir; a collection of short stories, articles, poems, photographs and character breakdowns from my days as an actress.
Madalyn Morgan’s books- https://www.amazon.co.uk/Madalyn-Morgan/e/B00J7VO9I2
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