Miriam has just released her fourth novel – all set in the fictional English village of Appley Green. Each of them has a love story with a twist but they also explore social issues and give us food for thought. She has a degree in English, French, Sociology and Politics and her interest in relationships of all kinds shines through! You can find out more from Miriam’s author page on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com
Both parts of this question are very relevant to the setting of my novels. Firstly, I was born and brought up in the small Cotswolds town of Tetbury in Gloucestershire, place now quite famous for being close to Highgrove, home of Prince Charles – our future king! It has consequently gone upmarket and is brimful of antique shops, much to the dismay of residents who struggle to find the basics of life. How different from when I was a child! Then I would go shopping with my Mum to the grocer, the baker, greengrocer, wool shop, toy shop (on a good day) and so on. The strong sense of a close-knit community in this picturesque, historic town of about 4,000 people is something that greatly influences my novels.
I left there to go to university in Leicester. About 37 years ago, having lived in various places, my husband and I moved to Surrey – Appley Green land! It is such fun to create your own English village – a blend of real ones such as Pirbright, Tilford Green, Frimley Green and others. Readers do seem to love the setting of my novels.
If you had a choice where would you choose to live, and why?
As you get older the choice becomes complicated. Yes, my husband and I could in theory live anywhere – but weighing up the pros of cons of staying put and moving home is tricky. We have planted firm roots by now, but part of us would maybe like to move slightly east, perhaps Sussex, to be closer to our grandchildren (and ‘children’). Watch this space – and we’ll probably still be here in lovely, leafy Surrey.
Have any places you’ve visited been the inspiration for a book?
Just the local villages really, as explained.
How important do you think the setting is when you write a story?
I think characters, story and theme are even more important, but certainly an appealing setting helps to form a picture in the reader’s mind. Really all these aspects go together, don’t they? It may be familiar or take someone away from their own surroundings.
Secrets in Appley Green is set in the fictional place of the same name, what made you choose this as the setting for your book? It is the fourth book all in the same place – I think the cross-references make it interesting for the reader and certainly this one looks at the lives of some of the older characters when they were young. They all standalone but are closely interconnected. Exciting to write and I hope read too!
Can you tell us anything about your next book?
I do not have a clear idea yet. Secrets in Appley Green was only launched two days ago – as I write this! My books seem to come in pairs – so maybe the next two will go together too. Will they be in Appley Green? I don’t know – but probably.
If you weren’t a writer, what would be your next choice of career?
I have had a huge variety of jobs in my life, most of them involving writing one way or another or ‘working with people’. Had I settled into a profession earlier I think it would’ve been some kind of journalism. At university I thought I’d like to be what was then called, I think, a ‘Child Adoption Officer’. Sounds very outmoded, doesn’t it? Now I am retired and want nothing more than what I am doing.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
I am lucky. I have those – usually involving a mix of grandchildren, writerly activities, a lovely meal, family, friends, sunshine. As for the setting this could be at home or abroad.
To find out more about Miriam and her books visit -
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A young girl in need of love is vulnerable to the charms of an older man with heart-breaking consequences.
This is Great Britain’s Sixties, an exciting era, gathering pace then in full swing as social change sweeps aside past attitudes, laws, fashion and culture. Youth is finding a voice as parents struggle to adjust. Its characters span the full social spectrum and take us beyond Appley Green to Brighton, Margate, London, Vienna and Paris.
Miriam Wakerly’s Appley Green village stories all standalone and can be read in any order, but they are connected. This one can serve as a prequel to all three, especially Shades of Appley Green.
He soon struck up a conversation of sorts with the landlord who consulted his watch and then swiftly served him, establishing that the weather had been wet, and surmising a possible improvement for folks going on their seaside summer holidays as, ‘Gawd knows, we could all do with some sun.’
‘So what do young people do for evening entertainment here?’ Walter asked, sipping the foamy head of his real ale.
‘What d’you mean by that, sir?’ he replied, looking offended, as if Walter had criticised the entertainment value of his hostelry.
Walter sighed, feeling beaten. ‘I mean the village. Sport, gaming, anything like that? Spot of dramatics? A band? I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking.’ He shrugged, past caring.
The man was now looking insulted and Walter smiled politely as some kind of peace offering as he turned away to sit down. This was too much like hard work. In London, people serving usually made a little effort since their livelihood rather depended on a good rapport with their customers, but such a concept did not seem to have reached this particular barman. Walter began to think that if he were to live here he would want to go around changing things, people and their ways; it could be a very frustrating exercise. Is that how he wanted to spend the rest of his life? The rest of his life …
Suddenly, rather reminiscent of the other day in The Duke’s Arms, there was a raised voice and a clattering sound; he swivelled to see what was going on. The man with the blonde had just slammed his chair into the table where she still sat and was storming out, leaving the young girl trembling and pink with embarrassment, staring down into her drink. She looked very vulnerable; he felt a compelling urge to save her from other men. Wipe that muck off her face and loosen that silly hairstyle, and there was a sweet little girl who needed help.
He ambled towards her, slightly unsteady on his feet. He imagined she might be in tears by now. As he came nearer, she looked up and stared at him, as if daring him to speak to her.
‘Are you …?’
‘Yes. Thank-you. I am.’
Walter wanted to laugh.
‘I mean, are you all right? I wondered …’
‘In what way ‘all right’? Why would you want to know?’ She narrowed her eyes and challenged him with a bold stare. ‘What’s it to you?’
Oh, this one had spirit! But she did not seem to want to talk, so perhaps he would leave her alone. Yet, he looked around; the other men were leering a little, as if waiting their chance.
‘Do you need someone to take you home?’
The girl stood up, grabbed her drink, whatever it was, threw it over him and stormed out of the pub with strides as long as her slender legs could muster.