Tuesday 17 July 2018

Author’s Inspiration ~ Vicky Adin #amwriting #HistoricalFiction @VickyAdin

An Author’s Inspiration

Why I am who I am today: an author.

A series of events, bereavements and a degree of bullying led me to become a mature university student - something I had never considered possible. Decades earlier, a similar set of reasons had forced me to leave school, needing to work. Writing was something I had once enjoyed at school, but beyond that I never gave it a second thought. I worked. I married. I had children. We moved several times, because of my husband’s work and I stayed home looking after the children, as women usually did in those days. And because I stayed home, I read voraciously.

I’ve always been a reader. From my earliest memory, I had a book in my hand and by the time I was a teen I was hooked on historical fiction. That love of history stories never left me. As the years passed, I became interested in family history and joined the genealogy society and started researching the past. What I was going to do with all this information beyond building the family tree I had no idea. Not until much later.

What I now know is, that if I hadn’t gone to university when I did I would not have started writing. I didn’t need a degree that led to a career, and taking an Arts degree allowed me to take subjects that appealed to me. I enjoyed my study so much I went on to do a Master of Arts in English and Adult Education graduating with First Class Honours. I’d almost decided to do a PhD (because I could) when my supervisor suggested I should publish my work. Since I knew my thesis would be published, I wasn’t sure what he meant. Publish? Publish what?

A memory returned. I hunted amongst my files for my essays for a creative writing course and there, in black and white, was a handwritten note. “You write well. You should publish.” And then I saw a letter from the university hierarchy after a particularly good exam result on Irish Literature, which also advised me to look at publishing.

For the first time, I knew I had something to write about.

Genealogy did more for me than putting family into groups and knowing who begat whom and where they lived. What fascinated me was the life they lived, the struggles they overcame and the incredibly tough decisions they made. Leaving everything and everyone they knew in their homeland to travel across the oceans to an unknown land far away took courage and determination. Life was not easy, but there were opportunities and possibilities if they worked hard – especially for the women. It was these stories I wanted to bring to life. The real names as such, didn’t matter. They could be my ancestors or yours, or anyone else’s in this new country. But their story did matter.

I didn’t sign up for my Ph.D. I joined a writing group instead and learnt to write a novel. To begin with I knew my style was too formal and academic. One of the group told me to take a section and turn the whole thing into dialogue. That was my turning point. Suddenly, words became simpler, explanations easier, and emotions clearer. Of course, I couldn’t write the whole book as dialogue, but it was a start. University had given me another vital skill – how to research. So, I researched, I wrote, rewrote, ditched it, picked it up again and had another author beta read it for me and pull it to pieces. She did so -  kindly, and told me to keep writing. I was a good writer.

After five years of struggle, I released my first book in 2011. ‘The Disenchanted Soldier’, is written as a time-slip novel about a researcher digging into the past and discovering what her ancestors had achieved. Then came ‘The Cornish Knot’ and ‘The Art of Secrets’ both contemporary novels with female protagonists who trace their own family tree and uncover secrets from the past which free them from the world they feel trapped in. ‘The Girl from County Clare’ and my latest release ‘Gwenna’ have historical settings. Both stories are about young girls with uncommon determination in Victorian times when women were expected to stay at home and leave business to their menfolk. These girls thought differently.

All my stories are inspired by immigrants to this country, the struggles they faced and the results they achieved.

It took the belief others had in me to turn me into a writer. I am so grateful to them all for showing me the path. The more I write, the more I learn, the more I write. Book 6 is in the mashing pot. For more information, you can sign up to my newsletter, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.


Vicky Adin
Award-winning historical fiction author, Vicky Adin is a genealogist in love with history and words.

After decades of research Vicky has combined her skills to weave family and history stories together in a way that brings the past to life.

Fascinated by the 19th Century pioneers who undertook hazardous journeys to find a better life, especially the women, Vicky draws her characters from real life stories: characters such as Brigid, the Irish lacemaker and Gwenna, the Welsh confectioner, or Megan who discovers much about herself when she traces her family tree in The Cornish Knot.

Vicky Adin holds a MA(Hons) in English and Education. She is an avid reader of historical novels, family sagas and contemporary women’s stories and enjoys travelling.

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See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx