Today’s Writer Of The Week is Pamela Ormondroyd. You can read the conclusion of Pam’s serial, “Where The Musk Mallow Grows”, in our August 17 issue.
In your serial, “Where The Musk Mallow Grows,” a Northern family have to readjust to new life in the South. Did you find the transition and prejudice the Coulsons faced challenging to write?
I do agree that working communities were close knit in the Thirties. It would have been a wrench having to move such a distance from home. I think Southerners were more wary of folk from the North at that time, believing them to be largely rough and sometimes too loud.
Even so, a smile, an openness and a willingness to fit in can work wonders. Children can help in acceptance, too.
Do you have a specific period in time that you like to write about the most?
I do prefer the period from around 1910-1970, because so many changes seem to have occurred during this time. I enjoy mixing a little fact with fiction, too, which often requires quite a bit of research before writing.
Your stories and serials often involve different generations of families. Is it easy to swap, say, from writing about a mother, her child and then the grandmother of the family, bringing each character to life?
It’s not too difficult, as I’m still a mum to forty-year-olds, as well as a grandmother to seven grandchildren ranging from nine to twenty-three.
We all live close to each other, so there is always a lot going on, and family problems and worries never change.
Am I right in saying you come from a teaching background? Has this helped shape you as a writer in any way?
Oh, yes. I do like writing stories from a child’s point of view. A classroom full of children is a mixed bag. Every life is slightly different, so they all have a different slant on things.
I’m also a qualified youth worker, so have experienced the whole spectrum.
Notebook and pencil or laptop. Kitchen table or study? Blank wall or inspiring view?
Notebook and pencil mostly, which I carry round everywhere.
I get my ideas from the most unexpected sources. Someone can be telling me something and all of a sudden I can see a story developing before my eyes. Before long, I’m away with the fairies. (My husband will vouch for that!)
What’s your one top tip for an aspiring Writer Of The Week?
When you have finished a piece, put it aside for a few days. Coming back to it fresh, you are more objective and can spot where even a slight adjustment can make your story read better.
For more from our Writer Of The Week series, click the tag below.