... joins me on the blog today. Hello and thanks so much for being here. It's been quite a while since we last chatted about writing and I know you've been very busy...
AW So, tell me what is
your current release?
LR“Sprotbrough: An Historical Perspective including An Oral History: From Rural Estate to Real Estate 1925-1964”
This is basically the story of the village I was born and
grew up in from pre-history to the end of the time period stated in the
title. In 1925, the Sprotbrough Estate,
which is 3 miles outside Doncaster in South Yorkshire, covering 3,627 acres,
was sold following the double deaths of Lord and Lady Copley and the fact that
their heir, Lord Cromwell, didn’t feel able to pay the double death duties due
and maintain the estate. At that time
there were only 343 residents living in the village, their homes and
livelihoods being dependant on the estate.
During the sale, entrepreneurs purchased large tracts of land and
building began. By 1965 the population
had risen to 1014 and, when farmers began to sell land for more residential
building in the 1960s and 70s, several new housing estates sprang up within the
village bringing many more residents.
It therefore seemed important to capture the stories of
those who were still alive, or who had family memories of that time, for future
generations and newer residents who knew very little, if anything, about
‘their’ village. After over a year of
meetings, interviews and writing, the 186 page book has just been launched.
AW What first
got you into writing?
LR I never
set out to be a writer or gave it any thought whatsoever. Though I disliked making up stories for
essays, English was perhaps one of my better subjects at school so I decided to
train as a Secretary. I had several long-term jobs, during which I gained lots
of background information regarding medicine, education, psychology and
theology. I had also started a
community project and struggled with my son’s new-age traveller lifestyle,
resulting in his leaving home at 16, going missing for several years, being
homeless, dependent on drugs and death at 47.
However, at 50, having been reunited with my son in
Gibraltar, I felt compelled to write something for the family and “Two Lives”
was eventually brought to life in 2010.
Several other personal memoirs followed, all of which were published on
Amazon. My real concern in writing has
been to come to terms with the happenings in my own life, by recording actual
events, which I hoped might inform, interest or be of help to others.
After returning home to Lower Sprotbrough from Derbyshire
in December 2002, I involved myself in local issues and became secretary to the
Don Gorge Community Group. Some years
later, I was asked by Amberley Publishing to write “River Don: from Source to
Sea”, which was published in 2014.
authors, such as Roald Dahl and Dylan Thomas, had a special space for
writing. Do you have a writing ‘shed’
of your own.
LR No, I
don’t. I don’t have any particular
method of writing either. I have an
idea of what I want to write about and usually start with the Preface, setting
out what I expect to cover.
As everything I write is from experience, the ideas will
have been going round in my head for a long time anyway, so I just begin. I edit as I go along, but once a book is
’finished’ I will read it through and note any inconsistences or things to
re-check. Rarely do I ask anyone else
to read through for me, I just trust my own judgement. My Sprotbrough book was slightly different
because I was representing the lives of so many others, so each person was
asked to read their part and two other people read the whole thing before it
was published. I self-published and just
employed a printing company to print 300 copies.
what would your eight-year-old self think of, and say about, you today?
LR I don’t think
she would have thought or said anything very much about her future. I think she was a very quiet and naïve child
who had a wonderful childhood, roaming the woods and playing on the farm with
the many children and young people who lived alongside in the tiny hamlet of
Lower Sprotbrough on the side of the River Don. Her father was killed in a road accident at Christmas time when
she was ten and her grandfather who lived with the family died on bonfire night
when she was twelve, so I think life was more about getting through rather than
having any idealistic notions of her future.
Now that she has grown into me, she is absolutely amazed at the
wonderful things she has done and the life she has lived for nearly 77 years,
despite all its tragedies and disappointments.