This week I’m delighted to welcome a fellow Choc Lit writer, Linda Mitchelmore to Inheritance Books. Hi Linda, grab a slice of cake and tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a Devonshire dumpling! Born and brought up in Paignton, where I still live. I’ve never wanted to live anywhere else. From the house I live in now I’m just a ten minute walk from the sea in one direction, and a ten minute walk from open countryside in the other. Both places give me plenty of settings for the short stories and novels that I write. I came to short story writing back in the late 1990s when my hearing had all but gone due to viral damage – I could remember sound in my head and found it comforting to write about it. I also dabbled a bit with journalism, writing mostly about the arts for county magazines although I was commissioned to write health and beauty articles which made my family (husband of numpty-nump years, Roger, and son, James, and daughter, Sarah) laugh their socks off because I never wear make-up, save for a slick of lipstick. But a girl can’t be at the keyboard twenty-four seven so to keep the balance I walk every day for at least half an hour, often double that. And I’m a very willing pillion passenger on my husband’s vintage motorbikes, more so in summer than in winter. I’ve got the full Monty motorcycle gear that I wish was leather but isn’t, but it keeps me safe.
Which book have you inherited from a generation above? Why is it special?
A very battered, 1937, copy of Gone with the Wind was given me at a low time in my life. After the birth of my daughter I had the most severe post natal depression. At the time (1976) my parents were live-in companions to a wealthy widow, Gladys Spanton. She loved to see me and my children, although she’d never had any of her own. One day, while she and I, and my children, were all sitting in the garden I burst into tears and blurted out about the post natal depression to her – the first time I’d given it a name to anyone. She went indoors and came out with her copy of Gone with the Wind. She said something along the lines of, ‘You need somewhere to escape to, and this will do very well.’ It did. I know this book is a bit Marmite in that some love it and some detest it, but I was grabbed by the first five words – Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful …’ But she’s got something, I thought, and read on. That book transported me to another country and another time in history and it helped me crawl out of my deep post natal depression.
The third in my ‘Emma’ trilogy is just published and I’m aware now just how much Margaret Mitchell’s book has (subconsciously) influenced me. The last line of her book – After all, tomorrow is another day – was crying out for a sequel in my opinion. Except there never was one. And although, back then, the thought of writing a novel (or even short stories) had never entered my head my delight knows no bounds today to find myself on shelves in book shops and libraries between Margaret Mitchell and Nancy Mitford – what placing! And in a rather spooky way, Margaret Mitchell has dedicated her book to JRM, the same initials my son has to whom I dedicated my first novel.
Which book would you leave for future generations? Why?
Bread Alone by Judi Hendricks. This came to me as a freebie with a magazine. Like Margaret Mitchell before her, Judi Hendricks is American. I fell in love with Hendricks’ short, sharp, sentences from page one. She has – for the most part – a very spare way of getting a lot of description across in very few words. I fell in love with her first person, present tense, viewpoint – I love reading it and I love writing it. It gets the reader into the moment, I think. Again, I came to this book before I ever wrote a novel of my own. But on the last page her description of a kiss is something any aspiring writer should read. ‘The second kiss is longer, more interesting. It takes me places – like flying down the sidewalk on my first ride without training wheels. Like diving into a wave off Zuma Beach. Like spotting France from 35,000 feet and knowing that somewhere down there in a maze of pink brick, the Boulangerie du Pont was waiting for me. It sets me down gently but firmly on this speck of land off the coast of Washington where mud is drying on my shoe and Mac is holding me against him in a way that leaves very little doubt as to his intentions.’
Lovely choices Linda. Thank you for dropping by and sharing your Inheritance Books. All the best for all three of your Emma books.
Linda’s book Emma and Her Daughter is published by Choc Lit and is available to buy now. If you want to have an idea of what Linda’s books are like, I’ve reviewed Red is For Rubies here. You can
stalk find out more about Linda on her blog, Facebook or find her on Twitter (@lindamitchelmor).