Meet the Author: People Who Hurt by Celia Micklefield

Today we welcome Celia Micklefield as we travel to Norfolk on the east coast of England to discover how writing short stories, growing vegetables, complex characters, narcissism, a barn owl, and curiosity are a part of the fullness of Celia’s human experience. Slip into the gardening shoes, let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My real name is Celia Smith but I write in my maiden name: Celia Micklefield. I used to think that was a good idea but now I know how difficult it is to fit such a long surname on the book cover!

I was born in the county of West Yorkshire in the north of England where folks call a spade exactly what it is. I’ve lived in Scotland, near Aberdeen, where for the most part I couldn’t tell what people were saying at all and for nine years I lived in southern France where my schoolgirl French improved considerably. Now I live in Norfolk on the east coast of England. It’s a wildlife wonderland with its inland waterways, wooded areas, windmills and quaint villages. I often use inspiration from nature in my short stories. That’s how I began: writing short stories for a UK women’s magazine. Since then I’ve published two short story collections, three novels and one non-fiction book. I’m currently working on my fourth novel with another two in the pipeline.

Leisure time is usually spent in my garden. I love growing vegetables but have to make sure the deer can’t get at them or they’d eat the lot.

In which genre do you write?

I suppose you could call my work Women’s Fiction but they’re all different.

How many published books do you have?

I have six self-published books. I used to have an agent but it didn’t work out so I went ahead by myself.

My first novel, Patterns of Our Lives, is a UK saga set partly during World War Two.

It’s essentially a multi-generational story about love and the sacrifices people make in its name.

My second novel, Trobairitz – the Storyteller is harder to classify. Trobairitz were female troubadours in France during the 12th and 13th centuries. My Trobairitz is a contemporary woman entertaining other truck drivers at an overnight stop in Languedoc by telling them a story. Her main character is an ex sex worker, now in her seventies who has a running battle with the current mayor of the village and his grandfather.

My third novel, The Sandman and Mrs Carter is a psychological mystery. Narrated by five main characters the story of Wendy Carter unfolds through their different points of view.

All my fiction is character-led. I love stories with multiple threads and complex characters with problems to solve. There’s usually a mystery woven in and maybe a tragedy or two. Life isn’t all sweetness and light so I hope to reflect the fullness of human experience in my work.

My two collections of short stories feature work that isn’t suitable for women’s magazines as they prefer, if not a happy ending, at least a hopeful one. Women’s magazines fiction tends to shy away from difficult subjects too but I love to jump into the dark stuff every now and then. In Arse(d) Ends you’ll find dark comedy, sexual harassment and sibling rivalry. In Queer As Folk the story Lemon Meringue captures sisterly love when one suffers from dementia, for example.

My sixth book, People Who Hurt is non-fiction. Part memoir, part informational the book outlines covert, passive aggressive narcissism and the abusive patterns of behaviour individuals with this personality disorder inflict on their partners. I make this book free as often as Amazon allows and I’m pleased to know it’s helping others realise that not all abuse is physical.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I’m slow. In everything I do I’m slow. In 2013 I was hit and knocked down by a careless driver. My bones mended but my central nervous system didn’t and I’m in pain all the time. My condition’s been diagnosed as CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) so on low pain days I write as much as I can. On other days my energy is used up by just getting up. It’s taken me a whole week to fill in this questionnaire. I can’t sit in one position too long or my muscles spasm and my joints lock. That’s how slow I am.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal or avatar and why?

The barn owl.

After I’d left the abusive relationship I lived with friends until the legalities were finalised. It took three years to get my money out of the property we’d bought together because of his delaying tactics and spurious claims against me. I began looking for a place of my own but was anxious it should be the kind of home where I could find peace.

As I drew up in preparation to park outside the cottage I wanted to view, a barn owl flew low over the roof of my car. I watched it fly down the lane ahead of me. Its wings were majestic, beating slowly, calmly. It wasn’t in any kind of rush. I felt it was an omen. If a beautiful creature like that was happy meandering along this country backwater then this was the place for me.

What does your ideal working space look like?

Ah, it’s beautiful. Deep in the forest there’s a hidden clearing beside a lake. Distant mountains rise in misty mauve beyond the tree line. There, like Snow White surrounded by cute animals, I sit in my cottage and the words flow like magic.

In reality I’m in the spare bedroom with my trusty iMac up against the window. I can see cute animals, though. Except for when they’re eating my vegetables. They’re not cute then!

What are you currently reading?

Currently I’m not reading anything other than research for my next book but I have The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan on my Kindle ready to begin.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

Not a lot. I like a quiet life. But I do like visiting foreign countries when I’m able. I usually pay for it afterwards and have to rest but I love the Greek islands in particular. I can look at that turquoise water for hours!

If you could have a coffee date with an author from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I’d choose Daphne du Maurier. I keep a copy of Rebecca near my work station to remind me of the power of character. I’d like to ask her what she’d change about the book for today’s readers.

Do you believe things happen for a reason?

I do now. Everything is a learning experience. I like to think we are spiritual beings having a human experience. If I hadn’t experienced loss, grief, betrayal, bereavement, etc. how would I know what it felt like? I want to write well about how these emotions affect my characters and the things they do. My research following time with an abusive partner opened my eyes to a hidden world of domestic abuse and it pleases me that my story is helping others in similar situations to come to an understanding of what happened to them.

Which of your personality traits has been the most useful and why?

I think I must name two things:

Curiosity. I have to look things up. I want to know the reasons, meanings, backstory, processes, outcomes etc. etc. I love learning. Very useful for writers.

Patience. Without it there’d be no number one!

What is your most recent work and what is your work in progress?

My most recent book is People Who Hurt and the link is above. My work in progress is A Measured Man, an unsentimental, passionless romantic comedy aimed at mature readers. At the rate I’m going it could be finished in 2020!

Please drop in and say hello at my website or facebook page. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Thank you for being a part of MTA Celia. It was wonderful learning more about you and your writing style. –Camilla

Where to find Celia’s books:

People Who Hurt:

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ZP5LaA

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/31dYw9C

Patterns of Our Lives:

getBook.at/POOL

Trobairitz:

getBook.at/TTS

The Sandman and Mrs Carter:

getBook.at/TSAMC

Arse(d) Ends:

getBook.at/AE

Queer As Folk:

getBook.at/QAF

Website: www.celiamicklefield.com and Celia has an author page on Facebook also.

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Author: Villa of Sun and Secrets by Jennifer Bohnet

Today we welcome Jennifer Bohnet as we travel to  the Mediterranean coast in the depths of Finistere, Brittany in France discovering how a quirky cottage, a utility room, the Cote d’Azur, Coco Chanel, and Ernest Hemingway have roles in Jennifer’s life and imagination. We’re stepping into the jazz age with this one, let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Villa of Sun and Secrets was published by Boldwood Books on 8th August.

In which genre do you write?

I write contemporary women’s fiction – sometimes with unexpected themes.

How many published books do you have?

Villa of Sun and Secrets is my 13th!

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Ooh this is fantasy right? I’d have one of those lovely wooden cabins you can buy now built in the garden and have it kitted out with lots of bookshelves, an old fashioned wooden desk with a leather top, comfy Lloyd Loom chairs, a bean to cup coffee machine and a really comfy dog bed for Django our collie and Gus our cat to snuggle up together in. In real life my writing space is in a converted room at the back of our quirky cottage that doubles up as a utility room.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading two books – one is a non fiction book about writing –  The Science of Storytelling by Will Storr which I have to say is fascinating and informative. The novel I’m currently reading is Rosanna Ley’s, Her Mother’s Secret which is set in Brittany where I live but much further down off the coast of Morbihan.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I read, walk with my husband, Django our collie dog and Gus the cat, in the countryside around our cottage and I like having friends to lunch. But I mainly write!

If you could have a fantasy date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I’m fascinated by the history of the Cote d’Azur in the late 1920s and 30s so I’d like a party in the Provencal Hotel, Juan-les-Pins with guests from that period. Cole Porter, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Picasso and all their friends. I’d interrogate them about what it was really like to be down there during the jazz age – lots of questions about the supposedly wild parties that were held. And then I’d write my definitive Riviera novel using all the gossip they’d told me.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? 

I keep thinking I ought to start a journal – or at the very least a gratitude diary but somehow I never get around to it.

What is the most crazy and inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

The most crazy thing I’ve – we’ve – ever done has to be getting on our bikes and riding down through France  – and not going home. It has also turned out to be the most inspiring for my writing.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

My Old Lady starring three of my favourite actors – Maggie Smith, Kristen Scott Thomas and Kevin Kline. It’s set in Paris and has a brilliant script.

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

I’d ask Django 1. Why do you bark when there is nobody at the door? 2. Why do you steal my washing off the rack? 3. Why do you take up so much room on our bed every night. (Of course I already know the answers: because he’s an attention seeking collie puppy!

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

I love beaches and the seaside out of season. The old Port of Roscoff up on the north coast of Brittany is a favourite place to visit in winter.

Thank you Jennifer for being a part of MTA! Congratulations on your 13th book being published! I love that you and your husband went on a bike ride and never went home! HA! Brilliant! And now I’ve requested the Science of Storytelling and My Old Lady from the library. I adore Maggie Smith. All the best to you! –Camilla

Blurb for Villa of Sun and Secrets

Carla Sullivan’s 50th birthday is fast approaching when her whole world is turned upside down. Discovering her feckless husband is having yet another affair and following her mother’s death, she is in need of an escape. Finding an envelope addressed to her mother’s estranged sister Josette in the South of France gives Carla the perfect plan. Seizing the moment, she packs her bags and heads to Antibes to seek out the enigma known as Tante Josette. But as the two women begin to forge a tentative relationship, family secrets start to unravel, forcing Carla to question her life as she has always known it.

Where to find Jennifer’s latest book:

It’s available in all formats from Amazon and other book stores.

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Zz56G5

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ZwHbau

Links:

Website: http://www.jenniferbohnet.com/index.html

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/JenniferBohnetNewsletter

Twitter handle: https://twitter.com/@jenniewriter

Amazon.com author page: http://amzn.to/299rvVv

Facebook Author page:  goo.gl/PDKQ8D 

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee