I am delighted to bring to Jaffareadstoo this feature which showcases
the work of authors who have based their work in the North of England
✴ Here's Northern writer : Celia Micklefield ✴
Hello to all you lovers of books. And a big thank you to Jo for giving me this opportunity to reach more of you through her website.
Celia Micklefield is my maiden name. I thought it was a good idea to use it as my pen name. You know, it’s different. Maybe it would be a bit more memorable than Smith. I didn’t realise what a pain it would be fitting it on the front cover of my novels!
I come from West Yorkshire. Keighley was an industrial town full of textile mills and factories, good butchers who made irresistible pies and pasties, enough pubs to sink a fleet and a population replete with memorable characters. Some of those characters find their way into my novels and short stories and in my first novel, Patterns of Our Lives , I used a mix of Keighley and its neighbour, Bingley in my creation of Kingsley, a northern town at the outbreak of World War Two.
All my work is character-led. Whether I’m writing a family saga or a darkly satirical short story I have to know my characters inside out and upside down. How else would I be able to give them authentic dialogue? I prefer to know my settings well, too. My work in progress, A Measured Man is set in Norfolk where I live now. It’s a battle-of-the-sexes comedy aimed at the older reader. I've long felt a need for more choice in novels with protagonists in my own age group. I was so irritated by the dearth in this sub-genre I posted about it on my website.
I’ve never liked having to classify my work into a genre. I understand the reasons for the need but I don’t want to limit myself into formal literary boundaries. I like variety in what I choose to read and in the stories I write. But in my books you can always expect ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances with complicated problems to face.
I lived abroad for nine years and set my second novel, Trobairitz - the Storyteller in the part of France I’d come to love. Trobairitz were female troubadours who brought news and sang songs about current affairs, romantic love and the role of women in society. I made my own lady troubadour a contemporary female truck driver whose problems echo those of her medieval sisters. I struggled describing the genre of this book, too. I think the recent ‘up-lit’ classification would suit it quite well.
|You can read a sample of Trobairitz here|
I began my writing career by selling short stories to women’s magazines. The first agent I approached with Trobairitz offered me a contract but it didn’t work out so I published myself as I had with Patterns of Our Lives. I’ve been on my own ever since.
During my time in France I was on my way home to Yorkshire to visit family when a story idea hit me in the guts, as they do from time to time, while I was in the departure lounge at Montpellier airport waiting to board my flight to Leeds/Bradford. I knew I was grinning at the sound of a whole departure gate-load of Yorkshire accents. How wonderful to be surrounded by people who all sounded like me. I felt I was really going home.
Then I spotted my characters: a father and his little daughter. She, administering tender, maternal care to the doll she had, her pouty expression alternatively cross and kind, was the epitome of miniature French coquettishness. She wore her hair in a tight top-knot and her tights were hooped in the height of fashion. Her French vowels were rounded and soft unlike the harder intonation of Occitanie. I wondered why this little minx was travelling to Leeds/Bradford. When her father spoke in English I was astounded. He was a Yorkshireman!
Oh, the synapses fired up and by the time we’d landed I had the whole outline plotted. I sold that story and one evening as I was messing about on Twitter, I saw that the editor of The Dalesman was currently online. I don’t know where I got the nerve from but I pitched him right there and then, live on Twitter about the story I’d just sold and how the inspiration for it had come from a flight home to Yorkshire. So, I achieved a teenage ambition in writing You Can Take Grandma Out Of Yorkshire, for The Dalesman even if it was fifty years late. Copyright for that short story, Airport Departures has reverted to me and is now part of my second collection of short stories, Queer as Folk.
My website is www.celiamicklefield.com and I have a Facebook author page. I’m also on Twitter @cmicklefield
Do, please pop in and take a look, or better yet, Like my page. That way you’ll see when I run promotions and freebies on my books which are all available on my Amazon Celia Micklefield author page.
When I’ve finished with A Measured Man my next book in the pipeline is set once again in the north. The God of Putting Things Right is the book I attempted to write for NaNoWriMo but without success. I can’t do anything in a rush. I have a chronic pain condition called CRPS which not many people have heard of, including many in the medical profession. On bad days I don’t attempt too much. On better days I write. I’d like to be more involved with writers’ groups and have more energy for marketing my work but I have to accept it’s just not possible. I stick to my own, slow pace and do what I enjoy most: my writing. I hope you enjoy it too.
All best wishes,
Huge thanks to Celia for being my special guest on the blog today
Coming next : Alex Marchant
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