Coronation Street

I was once asked seriously if as a writer I sat back and waited for inspiration. ‘How many books do you think I would write if I worked in that way?’ I asked.

I find writing produces its own inspiration. And for me recently it has been like with buses. I was waiting for the next publication to come along when suddenly three came along at once.

Christmas on Coronation Street appeared in November, Mother’s Day on Coronation Street will appear at the beginning of February and a third, as yet untitled Coronation Street book will be published at a later date in 2018. Full time writing has always been the dream and HarperCollins by inviting me to join their Coronation Street project have made that dream come true.

So where does the inspiration come from to write these books?

Everywhere is my usual answer to that one. I’ve always had a lively imagination and all kinds of thoughts and ideas get triggered by different situations. Sometimes characters will suddenly pop into my head, fully formed, although not facsimiles of any one person. My books never contain identifiable people. That wouldn’t be fair and could lead to all kinds of difficulties. My characters tend to be a mixture of the people I know, peppered with additional attributes of those who exist only in my imagination. That way no one is offended and the resulting characters are more satisfying as they feel closer to me.

So, the next questioner inevitably wants to know, ‘How do you work?’

I work by sitting down at my computer and writing, whether I feel like it or not. I will often write many hundreds of words that I am not happy with or that I know as I write them will never appear in the final product; but I write them, nevertheless. It is far easier to edit and to change words that already exist than to keep inventing new ones all the time. And then I find, after going over and over words that I am not happy with, I suddenly see how to turn them into words and sentences I am pleased with. By the time I come back to those words, maybe a few days later, I will usually have found the perfect way to express them.

How do I find a balance between my writing and my ‘real’ life as some people call it?

While I am writing, writing is my real life. It takes precedence over everything. My deadlines become my sole goal and are all that I am interested in until I have achieved them. I accept that family and friends find it difficult when they are reduced to number two or even three on my priorities’ list, but that is how it is.

For me, writing is such fun. It is what I do full time now, although in one guise or another it is something I have always done, even when I had a ‘proper job’. Now, though, I can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning and I sit at my computer as soon as breakfast is done. I will often stay there for the whole day. I don’t drink coffee, although I do try to remember to have some exercise – a circuit of the room at least once an hour – so that I don’t stiffen into a set position in the computer chair. If I am on the move with unavoidable diary appointments, I will curl up with my laptop, wherever I am, or at worst, if there is no accommodation for technology, I will scribble thoughts into my trusty pink, suede notebook.

I have written articles, short stories and all kinds of books, from text books to medical romances and psychological thrillers, but for me sagas are the best. I love getting involved with the characters, watching as the ups and downs of their lives steadily unfold. I feel almost that I am a part of them, just as much as their stories are a part of me.

It has been wonderful to be able to write about Coronation Street, a television programme that has been a part of my TV watching regime since I was a child. It has been a privilege to be able to write about some of the strongest matriarchs in one of the world’s most famous streets and to be able to develop brand new stories about these wonderful women. As a Mancunian these characters have been a part of my childhood as they reflected people I knew and grew up with.

I hope readers get as much joy from reading about them as I have in writing about them.

Maggie S

Me in Waterstones

Christmas on Coronation Street can be bought from Amazon by clicking on above image.

EDITOR: I shall be announcing a competition to win one of these books in the near future! 

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