# Please Introduce yourself and your writing
Hello. I am Margaret Holbrook and I live in Cheshire, UK. Apart from a short dalliance with Lancashire when I first married, I’ve never lived anywhere else. I’ve always loved the countryside and we are only a few minutes from fields of cows and sheep and walking country. I try and write every day, particularly if I’m concentrating on a new piece of work. I write fiction, plays and poetry.
I enjoy writing plays as there’s a lot of dialogue and I find that fun to write, ( being part of someone else’s conversation without eavesdropping! )
I have published two poetry collections; Hobby Horses Will Dance, ( folklore, myth, nature ) Not Exactly Life, (Poetry all about women from life, fiction, film and history ) Belle Starr and Lucille Ball both find a home in there!
Amongst the longer works are two novellas Books I and II in a series called ‘Cul de Sac Tales’. Light, humorous fiction about the lives of retired people who live on a cul de sac.
I have written three short story collections. My first, ‘Watching and other Stories’ was published in 2013, followed by ‘Picking the Bones’, and last year ‘Afternoon Tea at Mum’s’ was published. Afternoon Tea is not as pleasant as it may seem as the stories all have a dark side.
I have also published three novels, ‘About Us . . ., published 2017, ‘Broken Ties’, published in 2018 and ‘Remember When You Loved Me?’, published in 2020. They are all very different and yet in some ways similar as they’re all ‘family centric’. ‘About Us . . .’, looks at a not quite perfect marriage,
‘Broken Ties’, focuses on family and the effect when one partner, (the wife and mother) leaves without a word.
‘Remember When You Loved Me?’ is about family and friendship and how dementia affects all of this.
# What inspires your creativity?
I’ve always used my imagination. As a child I made up stories and aged seven I said that I would ‘like to be a writer’. It took rather a long time to achieve my goal – but I did. And firing my imagination? Well sometimes it’s snippets of overheard conversation when I’m out and about, or something I’ve noticed that’s just a bit odd or out of place. I always have a notebook with me and jot down things of interest to refer back to.
One of my plays that is due to be performed next month, ‘The Bus Stop’, came out of me hearing the remark, ‘When I go shoe shoppin’, shoppin’ for shoes.’ I knew there was a story in those words, and there was. My novel, ‘Remember When You Loved Me?’ was quite a different kettle of fish. The title popped into my head and I had to write a story to go with it – well you do, don’t you!
# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
Everybody will receive a bad review or negative feedback. It’s like a rejection slip, but with time you learn to take it on the chin. It’s only an opinion, after all, and whatever you do, not everyone will like your writing. So, celebrate the good stuff and never take to heart the bad. It is sometimes difficult, and if something has got me down, which occasionally can happen, I try and get into the fresh air and walk it away. And never dwell on it.
# Do you have any creativity tricks?
If I’m stuck at all, like a plot isn’t coming together as it should, I tend to leave everything and go for a walk. By the time I’m back home the fog has cleared and I know where I’m going. Swimming works equally well and I’ll be glad when I can return to the pool. (When covid restrictions are eased)
# What are your plans for future books?
I’m at this moment just coming to the conclusion in what will be the first book in a series. The stories are set in 1928, England, and feature Jack France, amateur sleuth and racing car driver. The setting is fictional but is loosely based on the village of Maids Moreton in Buckinghamshire, UK, where my father hailed from.
# Tell me some quirky facts about yourself.
I love manhole/grid covers. In fact, I’m fascinated by what we walk on and love to know about the old foundries. Particularly Needhams of Stockport, UK, and Colliers of Macclesfield UK, both now gone.
I have a soft spot for bumble bees.
I like cooked sausage topped with crunchy peanut butter.
As a child I wanted to be Belle Starr.
I have a familial link to South Bend, Nebraska, but know no-one there.
I think I’ll stop now!