Friday, 20 January 2012

First Review of Shades of Appley Green

First lovely review of Shades of Appley Green - Famous Five Plus review by Sue Fortin
Excerpt from Sue's review :

Miriam Wakerly has a lovely, easy style of writing that draws you into the story and keeps you there at a nice pace.  The story touches on difficult issues in a sensitive manner and in a style that is not uncomfortable for the reader.  The end, for me, was very emotional and did, in fact, bring a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes.  A lovely story of one woman’s journey to understanding and accepting her past and ultimately finding an inner-peace  and happiness.

Shades of Appley Green is my third novel and this time has nothing to do with Gypsies.

Shades of Appley Green  available on Kindle now Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com 


Steph is a special, but troubled young woman. Chosen by the most venerated man in Appley Green to fulfil his mission, she feels publicly admired rather than privately loved. She certainly does not trust men!

In helping a once famous, elderly architect with Parkinson's regain a social life, she finds herself taking risks, fending off objections, blind to danger. We wait for the moment when it dawns on Steph what is driving her deep-seated obsession; for only then can she find the happiness she deserves.

Appley Green is a charming English village. Everyone says so. But people are still people. With the emotional turmoil that comes with love, birth and death, a close-knit community can harbour betrayal and guilt, as well as joy and laughter.



Tuesday, 17 January 2012

What shall I call it?


The title, cover, blurb on the back, author’s name, opening sentence or first page – all these elements can seduce or repel!

Titles may intrigue or even mystify; define the essence of the book; or may seem a little tired or well worn. A title might declare its ‘genre’ and above all should help any potential reader decide if this book is for them! Whether it's on the table or shelves in Waterstones or the Amazon screen, we want those book-loving browsers to stop and look at it.

My first title Gypsies Stop tHere is odd. Yes, I know it is and it’s meant to make people do a double take. The printer thought the file had not been proofread and apparently said, ‘I don’t think we can work with this’. We did laugh about this afterwards but, until I realised what the problem was, my stomach was doing somersaults.

‘Gypsies Stop tHere’ is possibly the shortest synopsis ever! What it means, of course, is the nub of the book – Gypsies are always told to stop over there, never over here.

Its sequel/prequel No Gypsies Served was called many things before I settled for this title. I wanted them to be a pair, to show they belong together although they can standalone. You could read either one first.
I was at a meeting in London with the Irish Traveller Movement, taking notes. The speaker was harking back to hard times when signs such as ‘No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs,’ were commonplace in B&Bs and so on. Another such shocking sign was ‘No Gypsies Served’. I wrote this down and it jumped back at me from the page. I circled round it several times with my pen – I had found my title.

Shades of Appley Green is set in the same village but nothing to do with Gypsies or Travellers. Initially I wrote this in three sections that became A Light Shade, A Darker Shade that went back 16 years into a troubled time for the main character, and finally A Bright Shade. I played with the word ‘Green’ – this being arguably the essence of the British village – and a colour, and colour can reflect mood. This is perhaps over analysing! I was advised that this kind of book should have a chronological sequence of events. Good advice to follow? Not sure. In the end I did and I didn’t! But I kept the title.

I think my mother would have been pleased with this book. We lived in the Cotswolds, she often had her head in a Miss Read village book and green was her favourite colour – I think it must be mine too, it comes in so many different shades.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A new novel for the New Year!





UPDATE! Of course Shades of Appley Green is now available as a paperback too! From Amazon
'Steph is a special, but troubled young woman. Chosen by the most venerated man in Appley Green to fulfil his mission, she feels publicly admired rather than privately loved. She certainly does not trust men!
In helping a once famous, elderly architect with Parkinson’s regain a social life, she finds herself taking personal risks, fending off objections, blind to danger. We wait for the moment when it dawns on Steph what is driving her deep-seated obsession; for only then can she find the happiness she deserves.
Appley Green is a charming English village. Everyone says so. But people are still people. With the emotional turmoil that comes with love, birth and death, a close-knit community can harbour betrayal and guilt, as well as joy and laughter.'

Launching an eBook prior to the printed version is rather odd. I can but sense your best wishes and imagine the audible cheers as you raise a glass of wine or two! (or cup of coffee ...)
Shades of Appley Green is my third novel and, unlike the first two it has nothing to do with Gypsies or Travellers. It is, however, set in the same village; people seemed to like this place. Readers also told me that they enjoyed the storytelling with lovely clich├ęs like ‘couldn’t put it down’ ‘page-turner’ ‘riveting’ ‘I tore through them’ ‘compelling’ and so on … (happy with comments like that!)
Thus encouraged, I decided to begin a new series of Appley Green novels and this is the first. Each one will focus on different characters with a few popping up in each book. If there is a ‘village genre’ then that description fits; not romance, fantasy, thriller or comic fiction – but I think I can fairly claim that Shades of Appley Green does have a love story, a rich mix of people in a desirable setting, suspense, emotion, psychology and a light humorous style. If that is not the case, I am sure someone will soon tell me! 
Shades of Appley Green embraces social realism - motherhood, money worries, marriage, old age, Parkinson's, birth, death and love but all set in a place where the reader might want to live, for there is a strong sense of community. I think sometimes people like to relate to a story where they find themselves saying ‘I know someone just like that’ ‘That’s exactly what happened to me’ ‘This bit describes how I felt’ and so on. Yes, there are problems and heartache, but I hope by taking readers through the main character’s struggle, they will feel the absolute wonder of her ultimate joy. I make no secret of the fact that the ending is a happy one! It is how she gets there that makes the story.
You can already take a peek inside Shades of Appley Green on  Amazon.com Kindle  and also purchase on  Amazon.co.uk Kindle

I hope you enjoy it - and that this story in my sunny English village may brighten up this dark, wet windy January day.
Best wishes to everyone for a wonderful 2012.

PS I feature on  The Famous Five Plus blog and for TODAY Shades of Appley Green is the Book in the Spotlight.