#Swanwick70: Madalyn’s In The Book Room

Well, what a brilliant time we had yesterday. After a day of great courses, we were all blown away by our guest speaker. A A Dhand is not only a best-selling author of ground-breaking crime novels set in Bradford, and featuring the first Asian detective, Harry Virdee; but is also an eloquent,  inspiring and very funny speaker. And he too uses coloured-coded spreadsheets to monitor the plot of his novels. I am not alone!

Earlier in the day, the Book Room was packed and books were flying off the tables. We’re all going to be doing a lot of reading as well as writing in the coming days. Which brings me to today’s guest. Madalyn Morgan was one of the first friends I made when I arrived at Swanwick over a decade ago. At the time, she was working on her first novel. Now she has six to her name. Let’s meet her and her books:

“I was bought up in a pub in a small market town called, Lutterworth. For as long as I can remember, my dream was to be an actress and a writer. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live, there were so many characters to study and accents to learn. I was offered Crossroads the first time around, but my mother wanted me to have a ‘proper’ job that I could fall back on if I had to, so I did a hairdressing apprenticeship. Eight years later, aged twenty-four, I gave up a successful salon and wig-hire business for a place at East 15 Drama College and a career as an actress, working in Repertory theatre, the West End, film and television.

In 1990 I gave up acting for love and ten years later love gave me up for someone half my age. However, by then I had taught myself to touch type, completed a two-year correspondence course with The Writer’s Bureau, and was writing articles and presenting radio.

In 2010, after living in London for thirty-six years, I moved back to Lutterworth. I swapped two window boxes and a mortgage for a garden and the freedom to write – and I love it.

As an Indie author, I have written and published six novels. The first four books, Foxden Acres, Applause, China Blue, and The 9:45 To Bletchley, tell the stories of four sisters during WW2. Foxden Hotel and Chasing Ghosts are sequels that take place in 1949 and 1950.

We meet the four Dudley sisters in Bess’s story, Foxden Acres. A teacher in London, Bess returns to Foxden when the children she teaches are evacuated. With an army of land girls, Bess turns Foxden’s acres into arable land. Margot Dudley gets married and moves to London. In Applause, set in a West End theatre, ambitious Margot climbs from usherette to leading lady – and risks losing everything she loves. Claire joins the WAAF and is recruited by the SOE. Code name, China Blue, Claire is sent to occupied France to work with the Resistance. Ena, the youngest Dudley sister, starts work in an engineering factory. She makes discs and dials bound for a place known only as Station X. When Coventry is bombed, Ena is charged with taking her work to Bletchley Park by train. On The 9:45 to Bletchley, Ena is drugged, her work is stolen, and she is accused of sabotage.

Foxden Hotel, set in post-war Leicestershire, brings the Dudley sisters together again. It was going to be the last in the saga, but having written three endings – none of which gave the sisters satisfactory closure – Foxden Hotel became a sequel to Foxden Acres, and Chasing Ghosts, a sequel to China Blue.

After receiving treatment for shell shock in Canada, Claire’s husband disappears. Has Mitch left her for the woman he talks about in his sleep? Or is he on the run from accusations of wartime treachery? Claire goes to France in search of the truth, aided by old friends from the Resistance.”

By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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