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Tag: Laura Wilkinson

Blowing the Dust Off: Laura Wilkinson’s Public Battles, Private Wars.

It’s Day 1 of my ‘Blowing the Dust Off’ series of blogs. Over the next ten days, I’ll be hosting 10 different authors; each will tell us a little about one of their novels. Unlike my usual guests posts, they won’t be promoting a new work of fiction, but giving us a timely reminder of some of the treasures they have produced in the past.

Today the lovely Laura Wilkinson is kicking off the series for us by reminding us about her excellent novel, Public Battles, Private Wars.

Grab a cuppa and enjoy…


Thanks so much for inviting me to be the inaugural guest of your new series: Blowing the Dust Off, Jenny. What an honour and what a great idea for a series.

Today, I’m going to talk about Public Battles, Private Wars, my ‘miners’ strike’ novel. I use quotation marks because although there was a lot of focus on the strike around publication back in 2014 (it was the 30 year anniversary of the dispute), in truth the conflict forms the backdrop – it’s primarily a story about love and friendship – of both the toxic variety and the genuine, wonderful kind. It’s worth pointing out here that the novel is just 99p for Kindle at the moment – as is Redemption Song, for a limited time.

Like a lot of writers I’m neither a fully-paid-up member of the planner nor pantster clubs; I fall somewhere in between.

I begin any story with a clear(ish) vision of the story arc, with a beginning and a sense of where I’d like my characters to end up. Research is done on the hoof, as and when I feel the need. Lazy? Maybe. But it works for me and research can become a distraction, something which gets in the way of writing. A master of displacement activity, I had to remind myself of this constantly while working on Public Battles, Private Wars, for there is stacks of information on the subject.

The novel is set against the backdrop of the 1984/85 Miners’ Strike and there is a wealth of writing on the subject, though surprisingly little fiction (I found only three novels back in 2012 when I began writing) and genuine poverty when it comes to fictional representations of women’s role in the struggle.

The origins of this novel lie in a photograph I came across on the internet while researching another story idea set in the 80s – a story that has since gone on to become my latest novel – Skin Deep. It was an image of a group of women marching down a suburban street; women who looked powerful, in control, purposeful; not hapless victims of a political struggle to smash the unions led by a woman in Westminster.

I am old enough to recall this landmark strike in modern history and as a former steel worker’s daughter I have some understanding of strife and hardship as a result of strike and redundancy (Thatcher crushed the steel industry before turning on coal), but I’m not from a mining community, I wasn’t a political animal as a girl, though my mother and sister were. If I was to do the story, and the real women of the conflict, justice, I needed to do some research.

Because I find images inspirational, I began by looking at photographs from the era and the women’s groups that sprang up to rally round the miners. Images of women, young and old, huddled over industrial sized cookers, preparing meals for pickets and hungry children. Women in town halls cheering on the likes of Tony Benn (RIP), Arthur Scargill and Bruce Kent. Women marching next to their men, shoulder to shoulder on the picket lines. Women shielding their faces from oncoming policemen on horseback. Shocking images.

Then I began to read, to gather the facts. I read lots of books, articles, diaries and accounts. I spoke to people – experts and those who lived through it – about the profound effects that long, hard year had on their lives. It was a terrible time, no mistaking. There was extreme hardship and, ultimately, defeat. But, out of those desperate times came some good. Quite a lot for many women, as it happens.

Alongside specific fact gathering about the strike, I imbued myself with a sense of the period – fashion, music, popular books, TV shows, the mores of the time. I looked at clips on YouTube and watched films like Billy Eliot and This is England. My central character likes to bake cakes. I am a domestic disaster, with a particular talent for spoiling even the most straightforward of dishes. I read up on baking and even tried some recipes – with laughable results.

There is another strand in Public Battles, Private Wars, that required research, and I have to be careful how much I say because of spoilers, but my leading man is a former soldier who served during the Falklands War. Ignorant in the extreme about military matters, I needed to look into this too if this particular plot strand was to feel authentic and my character be three dimensional. Again, I read articles and reports online, and I spoke with a number of particularly lovely officers at the MOD. Special mention has to go to a former soldier, John Marham, who now works for a military charity who gave up a morning to meet with me and talk about his experiences of army life. He was generous with his knowledge and personal stories, talking me through everything from training to the sound a magazine makes when loaded into the gun barrel.

Now, I can’t recall how much time I spent researching. Probably not as long as I’ve made it sound. I was greedy for the information – it was fascinating – and so I devoured it quickly. The novel took a year to write – the same timescale as the strike – and once I had all this information rammed into my brain, I had to forget most of it. For here’s the thing: in fiction, you must wear your research lightly. It must never feel didactic, it must never get in the way of the story or the characters, and this felt especially important to me given that there is a wealth of non-fiction. If people want facts there are gazillions of sources. If you want to live the life vicarious of a downtrodden young women who finds the best of herself during strange and difficult times then this novel might be for you.


Yorkshire 1983.

Miner’s wife Mandy is stuck in a rut. Her future looks set and she wants more. But Mandy can’t do anything other than bake and raise her four children. Husband Rob is a good looking drinker, content to spend his days in the small town where they live.

When a childhood friend – beautiful, clever Ruth – and her Falklands war hero husband, Dan, return to town, their homecoming is shrouded in mystery. Mandy looks to Ruth for inspiration, but Ruth isn’t all she appears.

Conflict with the Coal Board turns into war and the men come out on strike. The community and its way of life is threatened. Mandy abandons dreams of liberation from the kitchen sink and joins a support group. As the strike rumbles on, relationships are pushed to the brink, and Mandy finds out who her true friends are.

A story of love, betrayal, and cakes, Public Battles, Private Wars follows one woman’s journey of discovery and a community fighting for survival.

National Museum of Wales Book of the Month – June 2014

‘Vivid and engaging. A touching, well-written novel’ Welsh Books Council Reader Report

‘The Full Monty for women’ BBC presenter Jeni Barnett

‘I absolutely loved it’ Bookaholic Holly – in Top Ten books of 2014 for Bookaholic Confessions. Read the full review here.

‘A compelling story with some great characters. Public Battlers, Private Wars is a story that looks at friendships, community, love and jealousy.’ Random Things Through my Letterbox. Full review here.

‘A novel with a big heart’ Pen & Paper. Full review here.

Facebook Author Page




Laura’s website

Promotional Film about the novel

Buy from Accent Press

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Waterstones online


About Laura

Liverpool born, Laura is a taff at heart. She’s published four novels and many short stories. Some have made the shortlists of major competitions. Her novel, Public Battles, Private Wars, was a National Museum of Wales book of the month; Redemption Song was a Kindle top twenty. The Family Line is a family drama set in the near future, looking at identity and parenting. ‘It will haunt your dreams.’ Books at Broadway. Her latest, is Skin Deep: ‘A superb read.’ Northern Soul magazine. Alongside writing, she works as an editor and runs workshops on the art of fiction.   Twitter @ScorpioScribble Facebook: Laura Wilkinson Author Instagram: laura_wilkinsonwriter Pinterest: laura1765 Goodreads: Laura_ Wilkinson 


Many thanks for starting the series in such excellent style Laura.

Come back tomorrow to find out what crime writer Nell Peters is digging out of her archive.

Happy reading,

Jenny x

Blog Tour: Exclusive extract from Skin Deep

I’m delighted to welcome talented author, and my lovely friend, Laura Wilkinson, to my site today as part of her blog tour.

Laura is here today with an exclusive extract from her brand new novel, Skin Deep.

Skin Deep Blurb:

It’s what’s inside that counts…

Art student and former model Diana has always been admired for her beauty but what use are good looks when you want to shine for your talent? Insecure and desperate for inspiration, Diana needs a muse.

Facially disfigured four-year-old Cal lives a life largely hidden from the world. But he was born to be looked at and he needs love too. A chance encounter changes everything; Cal becomes Diana’s muse. But as Diana’s reputation develops and Cal grows up, their relationship implodes.

Both struggle to be accepted for what lies within. Is it possible to find acceptance in a society where what’s on the outside counts for so much?

Taken from Part One of Skin Deep, set in Manchester in the mid-1980s

We walked about the Hulme estate and Alan took photo after photo.

‘Funny that estate also means a stately home, isn’t it? You couldn’t get much further from ornamental gardens, gilded mirrors and roaming stags. Though this place has its own kind of beauty,’ I said.

‘You think so?’ He shook his head. ‘Think I’m more traditional than you on that front.’

He took pictures of the syringes and Kit Kat foils on the stairwells – the detritus of the addict’s life – the boarded up shops, the dogs tied to bollards with string outside The Spinners pub, the old PSV club, the girls in the line for the cash point with their turned-out toes and gently curved arms, dancers-in-waiting from The Northern Ballet School, trying to be regal and graceful in the middle of all this gorgeous, vital ugliness. We stretched towards the edges of the community, noting the distinct change in character once normal society was within reach. The blocks of flats were lower, the disaffection and alienation less marked; this was a better class of slum, and the inhabitants considered themselves lucky to be outside the crescents. The sun was setting as we crossed the bridge spanning the motorway and made our way back into the bowels of the estate. In the distance, the warehouses lining the river Medlock were backlit by the dying sun.

Alan stopped and lifted the camera, then dropped it down again. ‘The whole area was built on swampland, below the water level. They never bothered to drain it when the first lot of slums went up. In Victorian Manchester, Irish immigrants would regularly wake up to a dwelling ankle-deep in polluted river water. And when they tore those slums down they still didn’t bother to drain. Built right on top again. It’s as if the rich and powerful hope that the earth itself will swallow up the human waste dumped here.’

‘Rotten foundations?’

‘The foundations for anything need to be right, don’t they?’

I nodded. I’d not heard Alan so serious. He was angry and sad, and he moved me.

The child; human waste.

‘I found something at that party.’

He turned away from the view to look at me.

I continued. ‘I was somewhere I wasn’t meant to be.’ I told him everything I knew, or guessed, or imagined.

He shrugged. ‘It’s no secret they have a boy.’

How does Alan know this? Off-kilter Alan, who doesn’t have any friends other than me and Linda, and doesn’t seem to work, or sign on, or be connected to anyone worth knowing, let alone Mr and Mrs Super Cool of Hulme.

As it transpired Alan was not the loser I’d assumed he was. People talked to Alan; he gained their trust. When Cardie Girl had deserted him, he’d got into a conversation with the scarlet-lipped punk who’d spilt all sorts about Pru and Michael. They were junkies, rich kids from Chelsea who’d stayed on after they dropped out of university in the late seventies, later ‘working’ as artists and rebelling against the Thatcherite regime. Purportedly, they ran a small printing press and published a Marxist magazine that was distributed on campus – I’d never seen it – organised parties and marches and generally made a nuisance of themselves. I wondered how a couple of junkies managed to squeeze all this in between fixes.

‘So everyone knows they’ve got a kid. Do they know they lock him up?’

‘Not everyone. And they might not always lock him up. It might have been a one-off, you know, ’cos of the party.’

I saw the boy’s hand in my mind’s eye, dredged up the hazy image of his body. He’d been rounded, fleshy, not starved. They fed him. ‘Anyone seen him?’

‘Not many people have.’

‘No bloody wonder if they keep him locked up. It’s not right.’

‘He’s a spastic. People make fun. They keep him out of the way for protection.’

‘That does not make it right.’ I was shouting. ‘It’s wrong to trap a kid. Force them to do things they don’t want to.’ My voice cracked and I heard how strange and overblown I sounded.

‘Force them to do things they don’t want to? We don’t know that Pru and Michael do that. Diana? You OK?’

I was crying. Alan couldn’t have understood where my tears came from, but he pulled me to his chest, and I didn’t object to the stink of his armpits or smelly old jacket. At least not at the time; I complained bitterly later. Bunny made me do things I didn’t want to. She’d locked me in a wardrobe and told me she’d let me out only when I was ready to be beautiful. Having inherited my mother’s stubborn gene I’d stayed there for hours, belly griping with hunger, bladder aching. In the end I’d pissed on her shoes and I got a beating for that too.

Alan pulled a tissue from his pocket and I noticed the ring on the little finger of his left hand. It was made of white gold, I was sure, and had an expensive, handcrafted look about it. I shook my head, refusing the tissue, wondering where and how Alan had acquired such a lovely piece of jewellery. I dug a tissue from my own pocket and sniffled into it. ‘Don’t tell Linda. They’re Jim’s friends.’

‘I won’t. Look, if they lock him up, then it is definitely not right, but it might have been a one-off and even if it wasn’t I’m not sure what we can do about it,’ he said. ‘They’re the parents, we don’t even know them. It’s none of our business. You’ve got to try and forget about it.’

‘I’m not sure I can.’ I wiped my eyes and smiled weakly at him, and he pointed the camera at me.

‘You look lovely when you’re upset. Different, vulnerable. Let me take your picture.’

‘I HATE my picture being taken!’ I grimaced and turned my back on him.

‘But you were a model, a beauty queen…’ I started walking towards the crescents, his footsteps echoing on the paving slabs as he lurched after me. ‘That’s why I hate it,’ I said. ‘I spent my childhood smiling so hard my cheeks ached, my eyes watering from the glare of the flashbulbs. I’m surprised I didn’t develop epilepsy or something.’

‘I’d have thought most girls would have loved it, the attention. Linda made it sound like it was amazing.’

‘The attention wears thin after a while, and it couldn’t make up for the hours spent getting my hair and nails done when all I wanted to do was hang out with my friends, play with my Barbie dolls and other normal stuff.’ I couldn’t look at him.

‘You didn’t tell your mum you weren’t happy?’

It was so rude to keep my back to him, he deserved better. I turned. ‘I tried to, but she never listened. And the winning the competitions and getting jobs was nice, when I did, which wasn’t always…’

He raised his eyebrows and opened his eyes so wide I could see white all around his irises. He said, ‘You didn’t always win? No way!’

It took me a while to realise he was teasing. I smiled at my arrogance and wondered if I was losing my appeal. First Jim, now Alan. ‘Hey, we need to keep moving if we want to keep hold of your camera. It’s getting dark,’ I said, linking my arm in his, ‘muggers’ll be out soon.’

‘Today’s been great. Thanks for coming with me.’

‘My pleasure. Sorry about the outburst.’

We strode along, our long legs and broad steps carrying us home faster than most. Alan talked about using his bathroom as a dark room, and asked if I’d like to watch him develop the shots he’d taken. As we marched along the curve of the crescent I saw a figure outside number fifty: Jim. Linda would be pleased. And a lightbulb came on in my head.

Jim! He’s the way into Pru and Michael’s world, the way to the boy. Today has indeed been good.


Buy links




About Laura:

Liverpool born, Laura is a taff at heart. She has published six novels for adults (two under a pseudonym) and numerous short stories, some of which have made the short lists of international competitions. Public Battles, Private Wars, was a Welsh Books Council Book of the month; Redemption Song was a Kindle top twenty. The Family Line is a family drama set in the near future, looking at identity and parenting. Her latest is Skin Deep. Alongside writing, Laura works as an editor & mentor for literary consultancies and runs workshops on aspects of craft. She’s spoken at festivals and events nationwide, including the Frome Festival, Gladfest, University of Kingston, The Women’s Library and Museum in Docklands. She lives in Brighton with her husband and sons.   Twitter @ScorpioScribble Facebook: Laura Wilkinson Author Instagram: laura_wilkinsonwriter Pinterest: laura1765 Goodreads: Laura_ Wilkinson


Thank you for sharing such a fantastic extract Laura. Good luck with the rest of your tour,- and with the gorgeous Skin Deep!

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

Release Blitz from Laura Wilkinson: The Family Line

I’m delighted to bring you the blurb, and an exclusive extract, from the first novel to leave the well aimed pen of my lovely friend, Laura Wilkinson.


Set in a much-changed Britain in the mid-twenty-first century, The Family Line is the debut novel from acclaimed writer Laura Wilkinson, now revised and proudly reissued by Accent Press. An original exploration of identity, love and what it means to be a parent.

The Family Line


Three women. One secret. A child with a deadly disease

Megan is a former foreign correspondent whose life is thrown into turmoil when her son is diagnosed with a terminal illness: a degenerative disease passed down the mother’s line. In order to save him, Megan will have to unearth the truth about her origins and about a catastrophic event from the past. She must confront the strained relationship she has with her mother, make sense of the family history that has been hidden from her all her life, and embark on a journey of self-discovery that stretches halfway around the world.

An exclusive extract:

Megan sat alone outside the office of an eminent doctor resident at the hospital. It was nine fifteen; her appointment had been scheduled for nine o’clock. She was grateful for the reprieve and didn’t understand why she didn’t want to go in.

She wore heeled sandals and a knee-length dress, cut from black cotton with bracelet sleeves and a slash neck. Her cheeks were dusted with a soft pink blush and her lips coated in a sheer gloss. She had looked elegant and quite lovely in her bedroom mirror but now she felt overdressed and wished she had worn her regulation black jeans. She had been keen to make a good impression, but she resented this desire to impress. What was she trying to prove? That she was a good mother? Surely only a vain, selfish woman would be concerned about appearance when discussing her child’s development? She wiped away the gloss with the back of her hand. She studied her pale shins, the blue veins visible beneath the surface in the harsh hospital light. A nurse told her the consultant was ready. Megan took a deep breath and stood.

He faced the window, his back to the door, and looked out onto a pleasant garden bordered with hydrangeas, hebe and St John’s Wort. The air was cool in the sparse, smart office though Megan felt perspiration gathering under her arms and across her brow with every click of her heels on the floor. The doctor commented on the fine weather, reminding her that each day comes but once, never to return, and as such should be treasured. Platitudes. She looked at the garden. It was beautiful but nothing compared to her boy.

When the doctor finally spun his chair to face her, Megan knew the news wasn’t good, and though her stomach churned she told herself it would not be anything insurmountable. After all, this wasn’t oncology or the ER. After asking her to take a seat, Mr Barnet, a phlegmatic, saturnine individual, informed her that Cerdic had a rare congenital condition, a hereditary disease, passed from mother to son, which would rob Cerdic’s body of its ability to function. ‘AMNA. It stands for Alekseyev Motor Neuron Atrophy, named after the Russian scientist who first discovered the defective gene. For reasons that have never been quite explained the condition appears to be more prevalent amongst the peoples of the East, the Slavs in particular,’ he said.

Megan’s mouth dried, her lips seemed to be welded together. She struggled to push the words out. ‘How serious is it?’

‘Very. I am sorry.’

‘What will it do to him?’ She could feel the thick white spit at the corners of her mouth. She went to wipe it away and realised that her hands were shaking.

‘It starts in the muscles as cells break down and are gradually lost. The muscles weaken over time. Your son has trouble jumping and climbing, yes?’ He didn’t wait for a reply. ‘By five years old AMNA boys are unable to walk far, and by seven or eight most are in a wheelchair. Nerve cells in the brain weaken, eventually failing to send messages to muscles and other vital organs like the lungs. Sufferers lose control of their bodies and minds. The average life expectancy …’ Megan watched his mouth move without hearing more words. Sunlight illuminated his form and she felt angry with the sun for shining.

‘How long do we have?’

He curled his lips inward. ‘If he reaches sixteen, it will be a miracle, of sorts,’ he said, delivering the news as if it were quotidian, finishing with a standard, ‘Do you have any further questions?’

Megan experienced a sensation similar, she imagined, to being eviscerated. It was as if he had ripped out her intestines, thrown them to the floor and squashed them underfoot, before asking if there was anything he could do to help with the pain.

She remembered the night Cerdic was born. Sweltering and still. Even the sea was silent. She stayed up all night, her body throbbing, unable to take her eyes from him, afraid that if she blinked he would disappear as miraculously as he had arrived. She remembered how, when he was tiny and slept in a cot in her room, she would wake to the sound of silence and rush to his bedside, placing a palm in front of his mouth, checking he still breathed. Like all mothers in the black moments she imagined a hundred ways he might be taken from her but nothing like this. She never, ever, imagined this.

Reeling from the shock, and working hard to control her spiralling emotions and liquid gut, she said, ‘There must be something we can do.’

‘As you will appreciate much research was abandoned, or more accurately put on hold, after 2025. Cerdic’s condition is, mercifully, extremely rare, and as such it has not been high priority for many, many years. In the past decade research has restarted. But it is a slow process, Mrs Evens.’ He returned to his garden as he spoke, and Megan thought there was nothing merciful about this disease.

‘Has this research thrown anything up yet?’ she said, adding, ‘It’s Miss Evens.’

Mr Barnet commented on a blackbird that hopped on the lawn before replying with indistinct mumblings.

Megan’s patience evaporated though she believed the consultant’s rudeness was not deliberate. She pressed for a clear reply.

‘There are signs to indicate that matching stem cell and blood plasma transplants, from suitable donors, can slow the progression of the disease. It works best if the donors are relatives, close relatives. Scientists believe they can stop the disease in its tracks altogether if administered early enough with a perfectly matched donor though there is no conclusive proof as yet.’

‘It is worth a try, Mr Barnet.’

‘Worth a try.’ He nodded absentmindedly.

‘Then we try it.’ Megan’s tone was polite but firm – this was not a request.

‘There is no sibling?’

‘There’s me.’

The consultant spoke of the viability of samples from her, Cerdic’s father, compatibility. He explained that it was most unusual, unheard of, for the mother, the carrier, to match, to be a suitable donor. She knew he meant no malice or blame – why would he? – but it pained her nevertheless. He rambled on, explaining the minutiae of technical detail. She twisted the ring on her left hand. Her mind flooded with images of Hisham. She would have to contact him. She knew there would be no question of him not helping but she allowed herself the irrational hope that contacting Hisham might not be necessary, that she might be the one in a million, in a manner of speaking. She left Mr Barnet’s office brim full of fear and hope, clutching a referral and a name for her son’s killer.

To buy:

Praise for the first edition:

Wilkinson ably navigates the tender, sometimes fraught exchanges between her protagonists. Though its scope is ambitious, and could easily have veered off-course, deft interweaving of complex themes makes for a haunting début.’ For Books’ Sake.

‘This is a compelling story that raises important issues and will linger in the mind long after the last page has been turned.’ Joanna Caney, New Books Magazine.

‘This mind-blowingly original novel asks big questions about a woman’s right to choose when to have children…  Ultimately, it questions how far is too far… This is a book that will haunt your dreams.’Pam McIlroy, Books at Broadway.

‘ This is an interesting and emotional début, and is highly recommended.’ Michelle Moore, Book Club Forum.

 ‘… a fantastic debut novel which surpassed my expectations.  I totally agree with one Amazon reviewer; this has got BBC 3-part drama written all over it! Simply fabulous!’ Kirsty, Book Love Bug.

LW 2 No 1 - dark, smile

About Laura

After working an actress and journalist, now Laura writes novels and short stories. She is published by award-winning independent press, Accent. Her novel, Public Battles, Private Wars, was a Welsh Books Council Book of the month; Redemption Song, is an insightful look at learning to forgive and love again after significant loss. The Family Line is set in a near future Wales and looks at identity and parenting. ‘It will haunt your dreams’ Books at Broadway. Alongside writing, she works as an editor for literary consultancies, Cornerstones and The Writing Coach, and runs workshops on self-editing and the art of fiction. She’s spoken at festivals and events nationwide, including London Metropolitan University, GladLit, University of Kingston, The Women’s Library and Museum in Docklands.   Twitter @ScorpioScribble Facebook: Laura Wilkinson Author


Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx



My First Time: Laura Wilkinson

I’m delighted to be welcoming a good friend (and Tiverton Literary Festival guest for this coming June), to my site today. The multitalented Laura Wilkinson is here to tell us all about her first time…

First Time

Can you remember writing the first story you actually wanted to write, rather than those you were forced to write at school? What was it about?

I can! In my twenties I worked as an actress and during a spell resting – the euphemism for unemployment – I worked with another actress writing a two woman show. We wrote a number of sketches together and some independently. One such piece was a monologue called Passion Cake about a young, insecure woman waiting for a friend in a café. The friend is late and the protagonist, who is on yet another diet, is struggling to resist the last slab of passion cake on the counter, or is it the handsome waiter behind it? It’s a story of desire, eating disorders, and disappointment. I didn’t perform it, my fellow actress did and it went down very well with audiences. My lead was a prototype Bridget Jones – there was plenty of gentle humour in it.

2015-02-01 17.44.27

What was your first official publication?

On the web – Beloved of the Moon, a modern day fairy tale (it won a competition).

On paper – The Whispering Wall in a monthly short story magazine called New Editions. Sadly, the publication no longer exists. The story was given another lease of life digitally by Ether Books and in paperback by Blinding Books. It’s in an anthology of work by women writers called My Baby Shot Me Down. It’s a ghost story, of sorts, about alienation, longing for a child and betrayal.


What affect did that have on your life?

Very little really! I earned some cash but more importantly it gave me confidence in writing fiction; I was freelancing as a journalist and copywriter at the time.

Does your first published story reflect your current writing style?

Yes and no. As you’d expect my writing has developed – enormously, in fact. In common with many authors I tend to feel embarrassed about work the moment I see it in print; see all sorts of ways I could improve it, and nowhere is this more apparently than in those early stories. That said, Beloved of the Moon is written in first person and though I’ve written two books in third person, and short stories, I do favour first. Also, interestingly (to me, at least!), Beloved of the Moon explores territory I have returned to: the importance of looking ‘normal’ and the lead is a child who only ventures out at night. My next novel, Skin Deep, scheduled for publication in March 2017, is about a beautiful artist and her muse. It explores notions of beauty, how to find a place in a society obsessed with image, the legacy of parental exploitation, and one of the narrators is a child at the tale’s outset. There’s definitely overlap!

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working with my editor tweaking Skin Deep whilst working on a new novel. Until a complete draft is down and I am happy that it’s something I can work with, I tend not to talk about work-in-progress. I feel that if I talk about it too much, I will talk out the magic and lose interest – I have a very short attention span! All I’ll say is that it’s a contemporary story about love and addiction and truth.


Buy links

to my first published story –

My Baby Shot Me Down:

Redemption Song Final

…to my latest story-

Redemption Song (e-book):

Redemption Song (paperback):

LW 2 No 1 - dark, smile

Author Bio

After working an actress and journalist, now Laura writes novels and short stories. She is published by award-winning independent press, Accent. Her novel, Public Battles, Private Wars, was a Welsh Books Council Book of the month; her latest, Redemption Song, is an insightful look at learning to forgive and love again after significant loss. Alongside writing, she works as an editor for literary consultancies, Cornerstones and The Writing Coach, and runs workshops on self-editing and the art of fiction. She’s spoken at festivals and events nationwide, including London Metropolitan University, GladLit, University of Kingston, The Women’s Library and Museum in Docklands.   Twitter @ScorpioScribble Facebook: Laura Wilkinson Author

public battles draft


Many thanks Laura- great interview- and very lovely photographs!

Happy reading,

Jenny x

Redemption Song Blog Tour: These are a few of my favourite things…

Today I am delighted to be hosting the brilliant Laura Wilkinson as part of the blog tour for her brand new novel, Redemption Song.

LW 3 Blog tour listingsFINAL

These are a few of my favourite things …

I love all of my characters – even the baddies. They are my creations, after all. I adore the ones who won’t leave me alone no matter what; those who muscle their way into scenes and start taking over despite my best efforts to keep them in the margins; those who surprise me with their resolve; those who drive me half mad with their irrational fears and insecurities; those who make me laugh and cry.

Love ‘em all or not, in common with many other authors I do have my favourites. As a mum I treat my boys equally and love them all to bits. (It’s a wonderful thing, love, isn’t it? Like the universe our capacity for it is infinite.) But I don’t have to be fair and equal with my characters and there are those whose hold on my affections is stronger than others: Elizabeth in Bloodmining; Mandy in Public Battles, Private Wars (I adore Mandy); Ethel in Public Battles, and now Joe, Saffron and Ceri from Redemption Song.

Joe is my male lead and he is just the kind of man I’d fall in love with were I younger and not already married – apologies to the BigFella! Joe is a good man gone bad, a man fighting his way back to a truthful, fulfilled life. He’s resourceful and vulnerable, sensitive and creative, smart and modest, very good looking, and much, much stronger than he realises. He’s bigger and better than he thinks he is and this is, in part, what makes him so attractive. Saffron, my female lead, is also stronger than she gives herself credit for and despite her initial grumpiness she is also kind and wise and decent. Like Joe, she’s damaged, trying to carve a path to a better future. She’s gorgeous. I love Saffron but the female character I’d most like to go out with for a drink (or three, knowing her) is the woman who befriends Saffron when she first arrives in Coed Mawr: Ceri. She is characterised by Joe (before he knows her) as a Welsh Vicky Pollard, which isn’t quite right. She is feisty, and she does swear too much, but she has an enormous heart and her candour is disarming. I love her.

But as I write I find myself thinking about Rain, Saffron’s mum, and Allegra (what fun to write she was!) and Eifion and Miss Shawcroft and all the wonderful things about them. Perhaps I don’t have favourites after all; I’m almost certainly still far too close to really tell. With distance I’m sure to miss some more than others. But will absence make the heart grow fonder, or will it be out of sight, out of mind? Will they stay with my readers long after the final page has been turned? Only time will tell. Until then, I’m off to get to know a bunch of newbies. Back to the Work-in-Progress.

Redemption Song Final


Thanks so much for having me over at your wonderful blog, Jenny.

Laura has written three novels. Her third, Redemption Song, is published on 28th January 2015 by Accent Press. A fourth is due in early 2017.


If you lost everything in one night, what would you do?

Saffron is studying for a promising career in medicine until a horrific accident changes her life for ever. Needing to escape London, she moves to the Welsh coast to live with her mother. Saffron hates the small town existence and feels trapped until she meets Joe, another outsider. Despite initial misgivings, they grow closer to each other as they realise they have a lot in common. Like Saffron, Joe has a complicated past…one that’s creeping up on his present. Can Joe escape his demons for long enough to live a normal life – and can Saffron reveal the truth about what really happened on that fateful night? Love is the one thing they need most, but will they – can they – risk it?

Redemption Song is a captivating, insightful look at what happens when everything goes wrong – and the process of putting the pieces back together again.

To buy the e-book:

To buy the paperback:

LW 2 No 1 - dark, smile

If you’d like more information about Laura and her work visit:

Twitter @ScorpioScribble

Facebook: Laura Wilkinson Author





Many thanks Laura- great blog.

Happy reading everyone.

Jenny x


Which Hat Today? Guest Post by Laura Wilkinson

I’m chuffed to bits to have my lovely friend, and multi-talented author, Laura Wilkinson here today!

Over to you Laura…

Laura hat

Which Hat Today?

‘I myself have 12 hats, and each one represents a different personality.  Why just be yourself?’ Margaret Atwood

I’m here to talk literary hats or, more specifically, the wearing of different styles. Like Jenny, and many authors, (Robert Galbraith anyone?) I write under two names. In my case: women’s fiction and hot romance. Unlike Jenny, I began with contemporary fiction before exploring my steamier side.

This year, I have two novels out. Public Battles, Private Wars was published by Accent in March and the sequel to All of Me, All of Him, (Xcite) comes out in May. I’m trembling just thinking about the logistics of promoting both novels while embarking upon the penning of another, and, perhaps most importantly, remembering which hat I’m wearing at any given time.

To continue the metaphor – and yes, it’s well-worn but stick with me – Laura Wilkinson’s hat is a warm, colourful beanie; something familiar, comforting, hopefully fashionable and stylish, which can be quirked up with the addition of a funky broach or by wearing it at a jaunty angle.

L.C’s hat is a more exotic, sumptuous affair; veiled lace and satin, and horrifically expensive, it is the stuff dreams are made of. The kind of hat sex bombs with devastatingly handsome lovers wear. Not like me at all, basically.

It takes a certain confidence to wear most hats. At the start of her story, my lead, Mandy, lacks self-confidence. She’s a young, stay-at-home-mother in a functioning but lack-lustre marriage to a miner; she has curly, ginger hair and she’s not what you’d call skinny. She loves cakes. In one scene, during the winter of 1984, when her husband has been on strike for nine months and her children are cold and hungry, Mandy puts on a bobble hat and goes searching for coal. Unloved by her husband but loved in quarters she’s not even aware of yet, it is fittingly unglamorous head wear. I could tell you what kind of hat Mandy would choose at the end of her story, but that would spoil it, wouldn’t it, and I’d love it if you read all about her. She’s an unexpected heroine.

public battles draft

Public Battles, Private Wars is published by Accent Press on 27 March.

Yorkshire 1983

Miner’s wife Mandy is stuck in a rut. Her future looks set and she wants more. But Mandy can’t do anything other than bake and raise her four children. Husband Rob is a good looking drinker, content to spend his days in the small town where they live.

When a childhood friend – beautiful, clever Ruth – and her Falklands war hero husband, Dan, return to town, their homecoming is shrouded in mystery. Mandy looks to Ruth for inspiration, but Ruth isn’t all she appears.

Conflict with the Coal Board turns into war and the men come out on strike. The community and its way of life is threatened. Mandy abandons dreams of liberation from the kitchen sink and joins a support group. As the strike rumbles on relationships are pushed to the brink, and Mandy finds out who her true friends are.

Here are a few buy links:

You can find out more about Laura and the novel, including Book Group Questions, here:



To celebrate the launch of this amazing book, Accent Press and Goodreads are running a competition to win a copy of Public Battles, Private Wars.

All you need to do to enter is follow this link!! Good luck-


Thanks again Laura!!! I LOVE both you hats-  xxxx

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