It’s my stop on the Hattie’s Home blog tour today and the author, Mary Gibson, joins me to have the spotlight shone on her …
Good morning, Mary, thank you for joining me today so that my readers can find out more about you!
Years Ago – what was your childhood like?
School : I grew up the fifties in Bermondsey, south east London and went to school in the years of the 11 plus. I went to the local grammar school – the Aylwin – and I loved it there, the teachers were dedicated and inspiring and I credit the school with my lifelong love of literature. The other place I received my education was in the marvellous local library in Spa Road, Bermondsey – now converted into a Buddhist retreat!
Friends: The Bermondsey streets were my playground in the fifties and sixties, but my older brothers would always be on hand as protectors. As a young child I joined in my brothers’ games – I particularly enjoyed riding pillion on their bikes or being pushed along in a home-made go-kart!
What did you do before you became a writer: I worked in publishing for over thirty years and took early retirement in 2009 from my job as Production Manager at Random House with the idea of trying to write a novel. Fortunately, it worked out for me!
What other job do you have now? I am a full-time writer.
Hobbies: Other than writing, what else do you love? Apart from reading, which as a writer is a given, I love to garden. I’m especially fond of roses. I’m also keen on photography.
Future: What plans do you have for your writing? I’ve been fortunate enough to land another two book deal with my publisher, Head of Zeus, so more Bermondsey novels are in the pipeline and I’m currently working on my sixth!
Bucket list? Writing a novel a year is keeping me pretty busy, but my aim this year is to fit in some more travel and also more reading for pleasure. As a writer much of what I read has to be research. But I think it’s important to keep the love of reading alive. At the moment I’m reading a marvellous, atmospheric fantasy story for children and adults called The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper – after being introduced to it via a global reading group.
Thank you, Mary, and best of luck with the latest book, Hattie’s Home. I cannot wait to tuck in to it, Historical Fiction is my guilty pleasure but I haven’t read one for a really long time so I’m looking forward to snuggling up with this at the weekend!
Thanks again for joining me today, Mary.
Want to know more about the book? Of course you do, here’s the blurb …
January 1947: The war is over, but London is still a wasteland.
After eights years in the ATS, Hattie Wright returns to a Bermondsey she doesn’t recognise. With so few jobs, she reluctantly takes work at the Alaska fur factory – a place rife with petty rivalries that she vowed never to set foot in again. But while she was a rising star in the ATS, Hattie’s workmates are unforgiving in her attempts to promote herself up from the factory floor.
After journeying across the world to Australia to marry her beloved, Clara is betrayed and returns penniless, homeless and trying to raise a child in the face of prejudice. While war widow, Lou, has lost more than most in the war. Her daughter and parents were killed in an air raid bomb blast and her surviving son, Ronnie, is fending for himself and getting into all kinds of trouble.
The lifelong friendship these women forge while working in the fur factory will help them overcome crippling grief and prejudice in post-war Britain and to find hope in tomorrow.
Hattie’s Home is out now and you can get your copy over at Amazon:
About the author …
Mary Gibson was born and brought up in Bermondsey, south east London. In 2009, after a thirty year career in publishing, she took the opportunity of early retirement to write a book of her own! Her début novel, Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts, was inspired by the lives and times of her grandparents in World War One Bermondsey and went on to become a top ten Kindle best seller. It was selected as one of twenty titles for World Book Night 2015. Further Bermondsey novels: Jam and Roses, about three sisters living in Dockhead during the 1920s; Gunner Girls and Fighter Boys, set during World War Two; Bourbon Creams and Tattered Dreams set during the 1930s, are available in e book, hardback and paperback. Her latest novel, Hattie’s Home, about three women’s struggles to rebuild their lives in post-war Bermondsey is out in e-book and hardback with the paperback following in May 2018.