Author Madalyn Morgan has just published her fourth novel The 9.45 to Bletchley and today she has dropped in for a chat on my blog.
Morning Madalyn and welcome. Can you tell us something about your latest book?
Good morning, Jo. Thank you for having me on your fabulous Blog. My latest book, The 9:45 To Bletchley, is the fourth book in the Dudley Sisters Saga. Set in the midst of the Second World War it is the youngest Dudley’s sister, Ena’s, story.
Ena works at Silcott’s Engineering, a local factory a couple of miles from she lives with her parents in a cottage on the Foxden Estate. She is taken off the factory floor and given vital work to do on disks and dials that are taken to a secret facility that Ena only knows as, Station X.
When Coventry is bombed, and Silcott’s parent company destroyed, Ena has to accompany the assistant of the boss, on the 9:45 train to Bletchley. Ena makes regular trips to Bletchley Park, until one day her work is stolen.
When she and her friends are accused of being involved in the theft, and later in sabotage, Ena investigates. While trying to clear her name, she falls in love.
This is the fourth in The Dudley Sisters Saga. Are there any more in the pipeline?
Yes. There may be more in the future, but at the moment I only have one plotted. Foxden Hotel opens during the New Year’s Eve party of 1948, exactly ten years after the first novel Foxden Acres. The land of the estate has been sold off and the hall turned into a hotel. The hotel’s opening celebrations are thwarted by someone from the Dudley sister’s past. Although the first four books were set during WW2, I have tried to vary the genres – land army, show business, undercover agent in occupied France, and Spy thriller. The Foxden Hotel is a murder mystery.
Is there anything in particular that draws you to write about the Second World War?
My mother used to tell me about the war. She told me about her life at that time; the work she did, the dances, the letters the girls wrote to lads in the forces overseas. I found it fascinating. So, when I did a writing course and came to the Biography module, I wrote about my mum’s life. My tutor liked it, but suggested that because mum and I were unknown, I should write it as a fiction. At the same time, my mother said she wanted to give the brass Wellington Bomber that had stood in our hearth for as long as I could remember, back to the Polish airman who had made it for her. He had died, but I found his son. He came up, met mum, and he was overjoyed with the plane. It was after that that I decided to set my novels in the Second World War. I had so many ideas in my head, too many for one novel. So, I plotted four stories. Four sisters, four jobs, four loves. I still have mother’s biography somewhere. One day I shall turn it into a fiction.
Have you been influenced by any favourite authors? If so who?
Yes, many authors have influenced me. From Shakespeare to Mary Webb, from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Virginia Woolf, and many modern writers like, Ben Macintyre and Robert Harris.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am plotting, The Foxden Hotel, and trying to get my garden in shape before I go to Fishguard. I attend The Writers’ Holiday every year. It was after a week at Caerleon, The University of South Wales that I finalised and published my first novel, Foxden Acres in 2013.
When writing do you keep to a set number of words per session or simply go with the flow?
I do hours rather than words. If I write for three hours in the morning, and what I have written is good, that’s great. If I go on in the same vein after lunch, that’s also great. But if I have lost the plot, excuse the pun, and I’m writing rubbish, that is depressing. It is then that I’ll go into the garden, or do the ironing. I think while I’m gardening. I watch old movies while I’m ironing. I do a word challenge with an author group, but I don’t give myself high targets, that kind of pressure I do not need. It’s why I don’t do NaNoWriMo. The research I have to do is pressure enough.
If you weren’t writing historical fiction is there any other type of genre that would interest you?
Yes. I have a contemporary book with the working title, 42 Into 28 Won’t Go! Briefly, it’s about a young guy who takes advantage of an older woman, an actress, in several very bad ways. In the end, he gets his comeuppance. It is part autobiographical. However, I shall write it as fiction because I can make it much more dramatic. I shall make the threats, happen.
Madalyn Morgan has been an actress for more than thirty years working in repertory theatre, the West End, film and television. She is a radio presenter and journalist, writing articles for newspapers and magazines.
Madalyn was brought up in a busy working class pub in the market town of Lutterworth in Leicestershire. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live. There were so many wonderful characters to study and accents learn. At twenty-four Madalyn gave up a successful hairdressing salon and wig-hire business for a place at E15 Drama College, and a career as an actress.
In 2000, with fewer parts available for older actresses, Madalyn learned to touch type, completed a two-year course with The Writer’s Bureau, and began writing. After living in London for thirty-six years, she has returned to her home town of Lutterworth, swapping two window boxes and a mortgage, for a garden and the freedom to write.
Madalyn is currently writing the fifth novel in the Dudley Sisters Saga, The Foxden Hotel.
Madalyn Morgan – Novels
First novel, Foxden Acres
Foxden Acres: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BCX59LE/
Second novel, Applause
Third novel, China Blue
China Blue: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00XD85NQW/
Fourth Novel, The 9:45 To Bletchley