It’s time for another ‘Meet the Character’ post and this week Laura Wilkinson is interviewing Mandy Walker, the MC from her novel, Crossing the Line, an emotional story of love, friendship and community published by Accent Press.
First, let’s take a look at the cover and blurb.
Which lines would you cross for love?
Yorkshire, 1983. Miner’s wife Mandy Walker lives a quiet life. She’s hopeless at everything apart from looking after her boys and baking. Life is fine. But she knows it could be better. Her husband’s a drinker, and her best friend Ruth is busy with a teaching career. Mandy dreams of a different life – an impossible, unachievable life. Only Ruth’s husband Dan believes in her but, after serving during the Falklands war, he has problems of his own.
When the men come out on strike, Mandy joins a support group. She finds friends and strength in surprising places. And secrets and enemies where she least expected them.
Mandy must decide which side of the line to stand on.
It sounds intriguing, doesn’t it. Here’s what Readers are saying about ‘Crossing the Line’.
‘Encapsulates the feeling and sense of the early 80s with flair and poise’ – JA Corrigan, Falling Suns
‘Hugely enjoyable, fascinating and emotional… I absolutely loved it’ – Bookaholic Holly
‘A novel with a big heart’ Pen and Paper
‘A story that looks at friendship, community, love, and jealousy’ Random Things Through My Letterbox
Now let’s move onto Laura’s interview with Mandy, leading light of FAG – that’s Fenley Action Group to the uninitiated, mother to four gorgeous children, cake baker extraordinaire—
C’mon now, drop all that fancy pants stuff.
Fair enough. As I was saying, Mandy Walker, leading light of Fenley Down Action Group (FAG for short), mum to four gorgeous children, wife of Rob, baker of a brilliant Victoria sponge, and all round inspiring young woman.
Inspiring! (laughs) Do you really think so?
Well, that’s right nice of you. I don’t often feel inspiring, I can tell you. More like invisible.
Does Rob not appreciate what you do?
If he does, he doesn’t show it! Mind you, he’s hardly ever around, spending most of time on the picket line, or in the pub! It’s not easy for him, or the rest of the fellas.
Can you tell me a little about the Action Group?
It was Ruth’s idea to join. Ruth’s my best mate. She’s a teacher in the village school – she was always the clever one, and she’s so pretty, too. Her Dan’s a bit of a funny one. Doesn’t say much, which is more than can be said for the rest of the Braithwaites. They’re a right gobby lot. Dan’s nice though. Bit troubled. Ruth’s house is ever so posh – not like my place. Mind you, they’ve not got kids belting around the place like fox clubs, and they’ve money, what with Ruth’s job and all.
Is money tight?
You can say that again! It’s been months. For myself, I don’t mind. But it’s the kiddies. I can’t bear for them to go hungry and they need stuff. They never stop growing. Me, I’m happy in my wellies, going without the odd dinner, but kids need feeding, new school shoes. I’ve no idea how I’m going to manage Christmas presents.
That must be hard.
It is. But there are lovely, kind folk all over the country who are helping out. I can’t believe it. I didn’t think they knew we existed, up here in a little corner of Yorkshire. So kind. And everyone at FAG – Fenley Action Group – does their bit.
What do you do for the group?
I don’t know anything about politics and all that, so I leave that kind of work to those with brains – like Ruth. But I do know cooking – I run the soup kitchen, and food parcels, organising meals for those who’d otherwise go without.
And your free time?
(Laughs) I’ve not got much of that! But I like a walk on the hills – it’s beautiful round here – and seeing my mum. She lives in the village, too. And spending time with the kids. Speaking of which, here’s little David, the rascal…
Right, OK. Interview over.
Well, now I really feel like I want to read the book. If you do too, you can buy it here:
Laura Wilkinson is a feminist and lover of ginger hair. A resident of an unfashionable quarter of Brighton, she likes to write stories which entertain and provide food for thought. Her novels are Crossing the Line, The Family Line, Redemption Song and Skin Deep. Her work has been described variously as ‘compelling’, ‘poignant’, and ‘emotional’. Alongside writing, she works as an editor and mentor, and speaks at events nationwide. She has a passion for fashion and anything which glitters. In another life, she’d make a good magpie.
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Thanks for dropping by to talk to us about your book, Laura. Wishing you many sales!
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