We are delighted to have Anne Marie Brear today.
Anne Marie, what was the inspiration behind your book? Can you tell us a little about it?
The inspiration behind this book was from a conversation with my uncle and a drive in his car touring around Wakefield, West Yorkshire. He showed me the places my parents lived before they emigrated to Australia. I knew some of the places as my uncle still lives in the family home, but it was nice to see other spots I didn’t know about. I made some notes as we drove along. Later, back in Australia, I read those notes and while researching my family tree I had the idea to write a story set in the town (Wakefield) and village (Wrenthorpe) where my ancestors came from. The characters in The Market Stall Girl aren’t based on my family but I’ve set Beth’s farm on the same lane as my great grandfather had his farm.
How did you decide on the names for your characters and the setting for your book?
Names are something I really like exploring. Writing historical I have to be careful not to use modern names. Sometimes that doesn’t give me a huge scope as so many men were called, John, Charles, James, William, etc. I used my family tree to help find names of the period I’m writing in. A lot of the names in my family tree are repeated but every now and then you find something unique. In my tree there is a Victorian ancestor called Avondale Brear. Although I’ve not used the name, Avondale, yet, I’m itching to!
How long did the book take to write? How much re-writing do you do?
Now I am writing full time I can write the first draft in a couple months. Then I try to put it away for a week or two and let it sit before bringing it back out to add what I call ‘meat to the bones’ on the second draft. The second draft gets sent to my editor and a trusted fellow author, and then once they’ve had a look at it, I’ll start the third draft to tidy up my editors comments, etc. That said, as I’m writing my first draft, I’ll always go over the text written from the day before then I start my day of writing. I’m not the kind of writer who writes in different stages or who writes the end before the middle, etc (I’m in awe of those who can!). I write as the story flows – beginning to end and I don’t plot in advance. I don’t always know what is going to happen and that’s the fun bit.
What is your writing day like?
My writing day starts about 7:30am (Mon-Fri) I check emails and since I’m on the opposite side of the world, I catch up with all that’s been happening while I’ve been asleep! So replying to emails and reader’s messages is the first thing I do while eating breakfast. Then I will do an hour of promotion before writing the current book for a few hours. During the day I have breaks to do other things such a more promotion, researching, socialising online, answer more emails, maybe listen to a writing business related podcast, then more writing/researching in the afternoon until about 5pm when I turn the computer off. I don’t write on weekend as it’s my family time.
If you could give your younger writing self any advice, what would it be?
That I’d had the courage to self-publish a couple of years earlier than I did instead of signing with some small publishers who didn’t advance my career. I wasted too much time (years) on searching for the ‘big deal’. Once I stopped doing that and focused on self-publishing I found my happy place. Self-publishing has been so rewarding for me. It’s provided an income whereby I could stop working for other people and work for myself and build my own business. I love it.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
My advice would be don’t be afraid to take a chance. If one avenue isn’t working out, then try another. There are no rules. This is your career. Make yourself happy. Write what you love to read, not what you think you should write.
Can you tell us what you are working on now?
I’m writing the sequel to The Market Stall Girl, as WWI is declared and the characters have to deal with a whole new way of life with the drama that goes along with it. I really enjoy being with these characters.
Award winning & Amazon UK Bestseller AnneMarie Brear has been a life-long reader and started writing in 1997 when her children were small. She has a love of history, of grand old English houses and a fascination of what might have happened beyond their walls. Her interests include reading, travelling, watching movies, spending time with family and eating chocolate – not always in that order! She is the author of historical family saga novels.
About the interviewer.
Catherine Lawless lives in Hertfordshire with her husband, daughter and their three border terriers. She writes novels, journals and children’s books. Catherine’s career started out as a singer/songwriter in a rock band. She toured extensively throughout Europe and the UK before settling down and following her childhood dream of writing books.