Today I have a guest post for you from the author of The House of Grace, Patricia M Osborne who answers some questions for us about herself and her writing.
Thank you, Emma, for inviting me on to your blog.
Where are you from?
I was born in Liverpool but live in West Sussex
When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing since I was around 5 years old but more seriously since 2011 when I embarked on a creative writing course with the Open University. From there I went on to study for an MA in Creative Writing at University of Brighton, I am now at my last hurdle, the dissertation.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve been saying I’m a writer for at least five years, but I only truly believed it about a year ago. Releasing my debut novel and spending a few months as Poet in Residence at my local Victorian Park gave me confidence to say, ‘I am a Writer,’ and know it’s true.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My debut novel originated from a short screenplay that I completed for my Open University dissertation. George Orwell, Downton Abbey, Mr. Selfridge and House of Elliot all played their part in inspiring me.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I tend to write family sagas. I like writing about people and their families and I’m inclined to write in first person. For my poetry I focus on imagery and narrative.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I just want people to enjoy it.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Some of the experiences are based on childhood memories, for instance, Bolton’s town hall with its museum containing Egyptian Mummies, and lion statues and fountains outside. Otherwise the storyline is complete fiction. In my short stories however, I’ve been known to use memories and fictionalise them to create extra drama.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
If I had a chance to choose a mentor I think it would have to be Barbara Taylor Bradford. A couple of my readers have suggested that my writing has elements reminiscent of BTB’s early works. That’s quite a compliment.
What book are you reading now?
I’m reading Matt Haig’s, How to Stop Time, Elizabeth Ducie’s, Deception and Fay Wentworth’s, Are you Lost?
What are your current projects?
My work in progress is The Coal Miner’s Son, the second in the series of House of Grace. Because this runs alongside the debut novel, rather than a sequel, it may be read as a stand-alone or follow on.
I am also about to start on a new poetry collection as part of my MA dissertation. The plan is to study Fairy and Folklore and compose works of fantasy and myth.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved to write stories and poems and won my first poetry competition when I was around six years old. Serious writing began when I studied creative writing courses with the Open University as part of my degree and I’ve become a more established writer over the last couple of years since beginning my MA in Creative Writing with University of Brighton.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
The following shows two passages taken from my work in progress, The Coal Miner’s Son. The first is from Chapter 1 using nine-year-old narrator, George, and the second is in the point of view of his Aunt Elizabeth. Both passages are subject to edit.
The Coal Miner’s Son – George – taken from Chapter 1
Mam was on the couch with her face hiding in Mrs Deane’s chest. Why was she even here? She didn’t even like Mam, she thought Mam was too posh. Our headmaster sent everyone home early today because there’d been an accident at the mine. The road to the pit was blocked and bobbies were all over the place, dust flying everywhere. I tried to push through the barriers to find Da but the policeman wouldn’t let me through, said it was off limits so I asked him about Jack Gilmore but he just told us to get on our way and straight home, mind. Alice pestered me all the way back to our house, questions like, what’s going on and is Daddy all right. ‘Yes of course he’s all right,’ I told her. I hoped I was right.
The Coal Miner’s Son – Elizabeth – taken from Chapter 2
My mind slipped back to walking down the aisle at Loxhurst Cathedral, my arm hooked into Father’s. Our feet paced in rhythm to Richard Wagner’s Bridal March, Here Comes the Bride. Faces I didn’t recognise squinted their eyes to capture a view of me, the teenage bride, in my crisp silk-laced gown, trailing six-foot on the ground. I cuffed a bouquet of red roses dressed with gypsophila tightly between my fists. Strangers, daughters of Father’s business acquaintances, tailed behind as bridesmaids in lemon, clasping baskets of mix-coloured chrysanthemums. I turned around to see the three-year-old twins, posing as pageboys, chasing behind in green plaid kilts. Martha, her grey hair piled into a bun, pointed a stern finger at them. She mouthed towards me, face the front, where a large framed man in his fifties, barely any hair on his round head, stood at the end of the first pew waiting eagerly for his prize.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Sometimes I find it challenging to write painful scenes as it triggers experiences of loss for me too.
House of Grace, A Family Saga – Blurb
It’s 1950 and all sixteen-year-old Grace Granville has ever wanted is to become a successful dress designer. She dreams of owning her own fashion house and spends her spare time sketching outfits. Her father, Lord Granville, sees this frivolous activity as nonsense and wants to groom her into a good wife for someone of his choosing…
Grace is about to leave Greenemere, a boarding school in Brighton. She’s blissfully unaware of her father’s plans when she embarks on a new adventure. The quest includes a trip to Bolton’s Palais where she meets coal miner, Jack Gilmore. Grace’s life is never the same again.
Travel with Grace through two decades as she struggles with family conflict, poverty and tragedy. Is Grace strong enough to defy Lord Granville’s wishes and find true love? Will she become a successful fashion designer? Where will she turn for help?
Available to order via Amazon (UK) and (com) in paperback and kindle format
Patricia M Osborne was born in Liverpool and spent time in Bolton as a child. She now lives in West Sussex. Apart from novel writing, Patricia writes poetry and short fiction. Her poetry and short stories have been published in various literary magazines and anthologies. She is studying for an MA in Creative Writing with University of Brighton. House of Grace is her first novel.
Website: [email protected]
Facebook Page: Patricia M Osborne, Writer
Email address: [email protected]
Thank you Patricia for taking the time to answer some questions for us.