Today our guest is Michaela Weaver, author of yesterday’s book Manic Mondays. Here is a link to the post if you missed it. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5sJ
Let’s find out more about Michaela.
1) Where is your home town?
I moved around quite a lot as a child. I was born in Berkshire, and then moved to London before moving to the west coast of Wales. I now live about ten miles outside Cardiff in the countryside, and a couple of miles from the Bristol Channel beaches. I always wanted to live in a city, in the country, by the sea, (and even wrote a song about it once) and that’s exactly where I am.
2) How long have you been writing?
Writing is something that has always come back to me even though I turned my back on it several times. I loved English at school, and won a short story competition in a national paper when I was in my teens. I then went to university to study engineering (honestly, I did!) after doing science A levels. I’ve always made up stories in my head….what if that, and they did that, and he said that…what then? I found myself on a creative writing course about 15 years ago, and I dabbled a little with writing again. It was always on my mind, but people’s attitude put me off… why do you want to do that? What makes you think you’ll be any good at it? Some people laughed. Then one day I decided to write Manic Mondays. I was like Forest Gump. When I started I didn’t stop. It took me five months to write the first draft. I’ve now written several short stories for my own pleasure, two of which have been published, I’ve studied Creative Writing at MA level, and am now running my own courses on novel writing to inspire others, and to show them that ‘they can’. I am working on my second novel now. I may have walked away from writing several times, but it always kept up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder once to often to be ignored.
3) What was the one idea which sparked Manic Mondays?
I suppose the over-riding ‘one’ idea that sparked it is work-life balance; the ‘second’ was a message that family values can transcend different kinds of break-ups – it can work; the ‘third’ idea was another message – people can lose and still win, and the ‘fourth’? Well, that was to do all this in a year of Mondays. Funnily enough, it is the second spark which I think will be a theme in my writing for the future. It’s such a big issue in our society, and one that people so often mess up.
4) Where in the country did you envisage Catherine and James’ country house?
I envisage Catherine and James’ house to be somewhere like the Peak District, or the Lake District, or even the Brecon Beacons. All are areas where I have walked and enjoyed adventures and rural peace.
5) Tell the readers why Catherine loved Mondays before the dreaded August day.
Catherine was the archetypal workaholic before she had her daughter, Madeleine. The arrival of Madeleine starting a shift in Catherine’s thinking, but only sub consciously…the dreaded day in August was the big catalyst. Catherine loved being busy and the sense of achievement that running a business gave her, new clients, new business, new Mondays. Unlike a lot of people, Catherine loved Mondays because it meant she could go back to work!
6) How does Catherine fill her days once she first moves to town?
When Catherine moves to the new city, she doesn’t know what to do with the once busy Mondays, and she is floundering. She goes to the park, drives around the city, goes to the shop…anything to have something to do. Mostly, her days aren’t full, and that’s the Monday problem she tells Mike about.
7) Catherine turns to counselling for help, does this help?
Funnily enough, the counselling did help Catherine because the counsellor was so miserable herself, and so bitter about her own husband walking out over twenty years ago, that it made Catherine determined not to be the same. Going to see the counsellor was a minor turning point for Catherine and one where her strength and resolve kicked in.
8) Tell us about some of Catherine’s friends who are also single or single parents.
There are several people whose relationships evolve and change along with Catherine’s. He neighbour, Grace, is an unlikely friend, because of age and class, but they become firm allies. Through the novel Grace’s story develops portraying an unfulfilled young woman who has lost touch with her closest relative, her grandmother. Catherine helps Grace to make her own life-changing decisions and to build bridges for the future. Steve is an old university friend of Catherine’s, and a confirmed bachelor. His own values are challenged dramatically when he finds out he has a teenage daughter the other side of the world. Annie has been raising her daughter alone for a few years, and beneath her hippy and bohemian exterior is a mother who doesn’t always find it easy being alone. A significant transformation in Manic Mondays takes place with Catherine’s mother and father, career-minded and judgemental, it isn’t difficult to see where Catherine’s work ethic has come from. But they too are forced to re-evaluate what is important in their lives.
9) Tell us about the charity that Mike Stone is a big part of.
Mike Stone is Chair of the charity Victims of Road Rage. The charity supports families who have been affected by dangerous and careless driving, and lobbies government and raises money to improve road safety awareness and to encourage alternative forms of transport, particularly in cities – hence Mike’s bike.
10) Where can readers find out more about you and your writing?
Thank you Michaela and good luck with your writing.