History Blog by Mary McClarey (June 2023)

Hello festival goers, lovely to meet you. I am a local author, living in Modbury, and keen to share my experiences with you. If you are reading this blog you will be hoping for a history focus and history is a funny thing. It can be way back at the beginning of time or yesterday’s news. My history focus to date has concentrated on the Irish British experiences. I delved into my own family history and rather than identify some missing facts became immersed in the stories of people behind facts and so three novels were born.  

Ordinary people in extraordinary times

 All my books focus on the experiences of ordinary people who live in extraordinary times, and how they deal with the unexpected. While it is impossible to extricate life experiences and attitudes from how, as an author, you write, it is also essential to accurately use historical records.

So of course, my background influences my books. However, my real passion is to share the writing journey with those who might be interested in developing writing skills themselves, whether to explore ancestor searching or to dip their toes into a fresh pool of previously undiscovered talent.

My own colourful landscape

I had a career in nursing and now retired have turned my lifelong fascination with peoples’ stories into writing. Mostly my stories are family focused, although I wrote a very dark flash fiction a couple of years ago for the Fish Publishing Competition, and I was delighted to win “silver” for that one!

Then, post covid, I turned an experience (mass vaccination center) into a flash fiction and was selected for publication in an anthology by the Bath Flash Fiction, which is quite an honour. So although that experience isn’t quite history now, one day it will be!

My first novel Long Road, Many Turnings, follows the twists and turns of both sides of my family over a fifty year period.  If you are interested in ancestor searching it is important to record family anecdotes as there will be many grains of truth in there amongst the grains of fabrication. (ISBN9781785893339) 

‘Time for a change’, is the story of the lives of a group of young nurses during the troubles in Belfast and Derry. Although it is a work of fiction, I was a nurse in both cities during that time and much of the content is based o my own experiences or that of people I knew. (ISBN 9781789013832)