Monday Mortals: Miriam Wakerly


Today I have the lovely author Miriam Wakerly with me...

Hi Miriam! Can you tell us a little about your latest book. 
Shades of Appley Green is an emotional story about Steph, a young mother living in the village who becomes strangely obsessed with helping an elderly, once famous now lonely, gent regain his lost family and friends. Exactly what is driving her mission is not clear to either her or the reader until the end. It is a book about community and family relationships and, of course, a love story is all wrapped up in there too!

What inspired you to write it? 
I drew from direct personal experience of working with both young single mothers and isolated elderly folk; also something akin to bullying in the workplace. Aspects of life like this mean struggle, emotion and heartache that must be overcome by the human spirit.
I created my characters first off, then the story formed from them and the situations in which they find themselves. Readers of my first two books, Gypsies Stop tHere and No Gypsies Served, said they liked the storytelling – some observational humour and that style where you want to know what will happen next. Also people seemed taken by the setting, lovely Appley Green village, so I built on that. So – thank you readers – you inspired me too!

Is it part of a series? 
Yes, it is the first of a new series, although all three are in Appley Green and ‘village novels’. The first two belong together because of the Gypsy theme, but this one is fresh. However, there is an overlap of characters between all three books, because I think readers really like that. They recognise someone they have ‘met’ before and find out a bit more about them.

If your latest book was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters? Steph is a feisty but emotional young woman. Someone like Claire Danes who plays Carrie Mathison in Homeland – but she would have to do a good English accent and calm down a bit! As Damian Lewis can switch to American so convincingly maybe that would work. I would love Bill Nighy to take the part of Jackson, the retired architect - and the male lead? Hmmm, thinking … any ideas? He would be an attractive 50 year-old, dependable, calm yet charismatic.

What made you want to become an author? I have always written – just one of those things! Many stories published in the 1980s and later articles on all kinds of subjects. The novel was always something I knew I would do one day. I had a few Mills & Boon rejections decades ago – fancied making a fortune I think, not really writing as I wanted to write. I am more realist than romantic, although relationships are the core of any book really, aren’t they?

Name one of your all-time favourite book covers? 
Oooh - difficult questions!! I mean, to choose one? Just look at all those on Famous Five Plus and indeed, your own books Suzy. Truly eye-wateringly captivating! I’ll go for one that I read not long ago – Every Step of the Way by Kit Domino. This is for sheer colour and prettiness and the fact that Kit painted it herself. It has a nostalgia feel – the 1950s are depicted as harsh in the book but the cover reminds you that there were some sunny moments for a child of that era.

Name one book that made you think 'wow'? Why did it have such an effect on you? For this I think I must choose a truly ‘big’ book – Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. It just took me away to another time and place and made me hungry for more historical novels. I wish I had more time to read these lengthy tomes!

Who, or what, inspires you? Real life and issues that concern me. Things I have done, seen, read about or been told, emotions I have felt, but that is just the beginning. You don’t just present facts and incidents in a novel; of course not. An author must convert life into something even more interesting, more tantalising, through fictional characters that interact. You bend, you twist, you exaggerate and embellish! I love to create people, places and weave a plot!

Where is your favourite place to write? Boring – my study. Not necessarily ‘favourite’ but everything I need is there. However, I do also resort to backs of envelopes anywhere, anytime. 

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book? I love films and I love reading books, but often find that when a book is adapted for screen I am disappointed. The Kite Runner was good. When I was younger I enjoyed the book Lark Rise to Candleford and, later, the original adaptation for TV, although the series did go a bit Disneyfied and rose-tinted!

Who is your favourite author (s) and why? I can’t answer this well because I am a bit fickle, always changing. A long list: Years ago: Thomas Hardy, Jilly Cooper, Jane Austen; later Maeve Binchy, Sebastian Faulks, Ian McEwan; now Amanda Craig, Alan Bennett, Edward Rutherfurd,. See what I mean? What a mixture!!!

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why? Some of those wonderful writers above, I guess. Imagine Alan Bennett with Thomas Hardy, Jilly Cooper and Jane Austen! Fabulous.

Tell us a random fact about yourself. Something bizarre I always do, quite unconsciously: at the end of a meal, I have a tiny, tiny piece of each food item left on the plate which I eat last of all. (you did say random ) This is quite sad and totally irrelevant. I could break this harmless habit, if I had to!

Tell us something interesting about the area where you live. 
It’s pretty close to Appley Green! I hope you can drop in some time :

Thanks, Suzy, for listening to my ramblings. 
Its an absolute pleasure, Miriam! You are welcome here anytime... especially as we share a love for Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth. One of the best books ever! And Jilly Cooper (I grew up reading her books).

Find out more about Miriam and her books...


  1. Suzy & Miriam what a lovely post. I have read Shades of Appley Green and loved it. Thank you for sharing lots of interesting details. xx to you both.

  2. Hi,

    Fab interview! Simply loved Fifty Shades of Green, it had it's moments of tension, suspension and heated encounters. Sorry. Meant Shades of Appley Green. ;)


  3. Thanks for popping over to comment girls!


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