About

A little historical detail about me . . .

Mum in Carthage
Me in Carthage six years ago

I was born in the seaside town of Southport in 1947. At that time, Southport was still a part of Lancashire, but since the county boundary changes of 1974 it has become a part of Merseyside. I went to school in Southport and did my three year teacher training in Liverpool (1965-68). My geology degree came a little later, an extension of my love of physical geography.

 

prefab
A few of the family gathering outside the prefab

 

My earliest memories stem from the first years of the 1950’s when we lived in a ‘prefab’ – a prefabricated house. Life was hard for everyone in those years following the war and, young as I was, I still recall my mother with her rations book . . .

ration book closed
My mother-in-law’s old ration book
Granndma and Grandad's wedding
My parents on their wedding day. The photo is held together with sellotape

. . . and the dreadful state of badly bombed cities like Liverpool, where my mother’s family still lived. My parents were married in 1944, during one of my father’s leaves from the Royal Navy. My dad was from Southport, which escaped most of the bombing, and they lived with his parents until I was born three years later. Then they were offered the prefab. Most prefabs have long since gone, but no one can deny that such temporary housing served its purpose at the time. The population grew rapidly during the peaceful years following six long years of war – and I can claim to be part of that great ‘baby boom’. Yes, I’m definitely a ‘boomer’.

Despite the hardships, I had a really happy childhood. We left the prefab behind when I was seven, and I remember crying over it. I suppose a first home, no matter how humble it is, always stays in the mind. Well, at least, mine did . . . and it really was extremely humble.

Mum, Joan and Linda
My aunt (mum’s much younger sister), my sister Linda and me. I’m the chubby one on the left.

I owe my love of reading to my father, who could always be found with his head inside a book after a hard day’s work. And in the years following the war, the days of most ‘working-class’ men were long and hard. He never missed taking the three of us – I have a younger sister and brother – to the library every other Saturday. I seemed to spend most of my time looking forward to the next visit, especially as the three books we were allowed in those days had generally been well and truly devoured by the first Tuesday. There was something about the library that I loved. The officious librarian, who would glare at anyone who even dared to scrape back a chair on the wooden floor, and the big SILENCE sign, didn’t bother me at all. No, I liked the silence. I would sit at a table and scrutinise book after book before I finally made my choices.

014
The statue of Alfred in Wantage market place

I left Southport to take up my first teaching post in a small mining village near Doncaster in Yorkshire. I had moved from red rose territory to the realms of the white! But I loved my new school and the children I taught (I was a Secondary school teacher). It was in Yorkshire that I met my husband to be. He taught chemistry at a rival school (the rivalry generally referring to all things of a sporting nature). We were married in 1970, so it’s forty four years this year. In 1971 we moved down to Wantage (in Berkshire until 1974, now in Oxfordshire). Wantage is known as ‘King Alfred’s Town’, the site of his birth, and although I can’t claim to have been intending to write books about him since that time, living there did ignite the first sparks of interest in me for the Anglo Saxon /Viking period.

The following years were far too busy bringing up six children (all ‘pink’ roses!) and then eventually going back to teaching, to even contemplate the idea of writing. But the desire was always there, lying dormant just beneath the surface of my everyday life and thoughts.

all of us
The six ‘pink roses’ – 1980’s hairstyles and all!

Our children are all well grown up now and I retired from teaching a few years ago. We have all lived in Nottinghamshire since 1976, and my husband and I now live in a small village on the Nottinghamshire-Lincolnshire border, midway between Lincoln and Newark. Both of these places are full of lovely old buildings, including castles.

Since retiring I’ve been putting my newfound free time to good use. I’ve recently published my first book on Amazon, and the second is presently nearing completion. The novels are part of a trilogy, ‘Sons of Kings’. Book 1 is entitled, ‘Shadow of the Raven’, and Book 2 is ‘Pit of Vipers’.

My books are historical fiction (what else would they be?) set in the Anglo Saxon/Viking era. The protagonists throughout the trilogy are Alfred, son of King Aethelwulf of Wessex and Eadwulf, son of King Beorhtwulf of Mercia. It is set primarily in the Anglo Saxon and Danish lands.

Denmark is a beautiful country, its people warm and hospitable. I can honestly say that I saw no sign of the brutal, savage Viking temperament during my visit a few years ago! Not that I expected to, of course. I’ll talk about some of the excellent sites we visited in a future blog. Memories – and the help of a few notes and photos – really helped me to focus on the settings of various scenes whilst I was writing ‘Shadow of the Raven’.

shutterstock_207901348

So, this is me – or rather, a very brief synopsis of my life and a little about what I’m doing now. I’m sure further details will emerge as I continue to write my blog. I’ll try to make them interesting!

244 thoughts on “About

  1. Millie, I enjoyed reading about your family history and looking at your wonderful photos. You live in such a pretty place indeed. Vikings, you say? I’ve always been enthralled with them. I have a family name: Greenwood and perhaps they came from the area of Greenwood Forest, not sure if that is a real place or not. My great-great grandfather was a bit over 6 ft. and blonde so I’ve always thought that branch of my family might be of the Viking persuasion. Historical fiction is great, lots of luck with your books! I appreciate your support of my blog.

    1. Hello again, LT. Thank you for liking my About page. For ages I wondered whether to cut it all down, it seemed so long. But I’ve left it, as you see…
      As for your family name, Greenwood is definitely an Old English name, but I have never seen any reference to its Viking origins. Many Norse names end in ‘son’. It seems that Greenwood is mostly a Yorkshire name meaning ‘of the green wode’ (old word for wood). So many Greenwood’s were foresters. Most Anglo-Saxons were fair headed and blue eyed, so that could be where your ancestry lies. On the other hand, I wouldn’t completely dismiss the possible Viking origins. The East of England was all part of the Danelaw, where many many Danes settled in the late 9th and10th centuries, although there are references to use of the name Greenwood as early as the 7th c. You’d need to do a full genealogical search. Wouldn’t that be fun! I’d love to trace my ancestry, too, but I haven’t got the time, and I imagine you haven’t either. So perhaps just go with ‘of the forest’ for now. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.

  2. Thank you very much indeed !
    Millie …im sorry i mistakingly n foolishly missed your comment on my about page ..i.ll be waiting for your comments …even Criticism will b welcome.

    1. If ever I give criticism, Imran, it will only be of the constructive type, just as I hope, people will do with my work. It’s just unfortunate I’m away this week, but I’ll certainly read some of your posts once I’m home and organised. Talk again soon… 🙂

  3. That’s a rich period you’ve chosen to write in. I can see why it would draw you. I toyed with the possibility of historical fiction briefly–the Diggers fascinate me–but got lost in the details of the period and decided to stick with contemporary writing. My hat’s off to anyone who can manage it.

    1. Thanks, Ellen. Yes, I do love the Anglo Saxon period and have been wanting to write about Alfred for a very long time. But work and children meant I had to wait until I retired. I read all sorts of historical novels, set in all sorts of places and time periods. I agree that the time of the Diggers is fascinating, too. I once thought of writing my first book set at the time of the Civil War and Cromwell’s rule – and may still get around to it (if ever I finish this third book of my trilogy!) Contemporary writing hasn’t sparked my interest just yet, other than crime novels. I do read plenty of those, especially ones by Val McDermid. 🙂

      1. I just finished the first McDermid I’ve ever read. I had a bad, bad cold, and mysteries are my I-feel-like-hell reading. She’s good. I’m not hoping for another cold, but at least I know where to turn when one turns up. So many of them as soooo badly written.

        You’re not going to stick to a single period, then? I would have thought that having immersed yourself in one you’d be inclined to stay.

      2. I’ve read a few of Ms. McD’s books, and liked most of them. One or two weren’t as good – she has a couple of series on the go. Like you, I’ve read some dreadful ‘Whodunnits’ and wonder how they ever got published. But, as a genre, they’re so popular.
        I thought I might try a different period for my next book, mainly because I have a few ideas that keep tickling my brain. I love Romans and have had one idea for years, since I used to go to Hadrian’s Wall every year with Year 7 in the ’90s. I’ve just got back from a week up in Northumberland and the Wall today, so my mind is ticking over again. Contemporary would never interest me the same, so I’ll be leaving that to experts like you.

  4. Hello Millie, so nice to meet you. I will definitely look for your books and I’m sure they will be of special interest to my 12-year old daughter who has been reading Austen and Trollope and loves history and things British! She’s hoping for some trace to show up of her lineage to Queen Elizabeth even though we’re Jewish, Irish, and Mayflower descendants. Very interesting blog and thank you for following my art blog.

    1. Hello again, Kinneret. I love the way you describe your ancestry. Like most people with past connections to this part of the world, you have a good mix there. All ‘English’ people are a mixture of so may races, for a start. Our history of past invasion and settlement make us all quite a hotch-potch today. And of course, it still continues, as so many different people move here to settle and intermarry. Populations are never static and Britain today is a very multicultural country.
      It’s lovely to meet you, anyway, and I’ll try to vist your blog as often as possible. As for my books, I don’t think they’re really suitable for a twelve-year-old. They are ‘Viking’ stories, and not without some violence. They’re far from ‘raunchy’, but there is a rape scene during one of the Viking raids. It was a very nice thought, though, so thank you for that. Jane Austen and Trollope are great for that age. I was about twelve when I first read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ – and I loved it. I hope she finds her link to Queen Elizabeth! You never know. Another blogger I talk to foud a link to a distant cousin, so it is possile.

  5. Ha, ha, I’m afraid she’s out of luck there. 🙂 She wishes in general she lived in the Edwardian era. She’s fond of watching Wooster and Jeeves and her latest slang is “right ho.” Right…did not think about that…Vikings…sort of violent, those guys.

    1. Wooster and Jeeves are excellent – I agree with your daughter about that. They’re so unlike ‘real’ English people nowadays though, so I hope she doesn’t think we all go around saying ‘right ho’ (although perhaps the ‘upper classes’ still do! The nobility are in a world of their own! 🙂 ). Yes, I’m afraid I couldn’t write Viking books without some degree of violence. The books wouldn’t appeal to hardened Viking-lovers if I did. The books would suit older teenagers, but not those as young as twelve. If she likes the classics, ‘Jane Eyre’ is a good one. ‘Black Beauty’, too. In fact, there are lots of classics suited to the early teenage group. It’s great that she likes reading. And don’t forget the American ones, too, like ‘Little Women’. I loved that one at her age, too.

  6. Yes, my husband already explained to her that “Right, ho” was from about 100 years ago. She did read Jane Eyre this summer, and Balzac. Hana was pretty crushed that she wouldn’t be able to say “right ho,” to anyone. 🙂

    1. I love the phrase, but it tends to be one used only in farces, like Jeeves and Wooster, now. However, it’s quite common to hear everyday British people saying ‘Righty-o’ for OK. It isn’t said with the same affectations as ‘Right, ho’ – which, as I said, is so indicative of ‘upper crust’ society. ‘Jolly good’ is often used, too, sometimes in fun. I think it’s great that Hana has developed such a love of reading and hope it continues.

  7. Hi there, thanks for following my blog, I think you’re my 100th follower! I’m looking though your blog here and theres’ so much to read I won’t write anything lol

  8. Hi Millie! I’m finally back writing…on my blog Thoughts & Sensibilities 🙂 I was in Denmark in August and had a wonderful time with my children and grandchildren. I do have another blog, too: Mystic Strings – http://bit.ly/1Jc5tGN and I invite you there as well. Take care. 🙂

    1. I’ll be certain to check out your new blog as soon as I get home from holiday myself. I’m in Malta this week.:) I hope you had a wonderful time in Denmark with your family! That’s somewhere I definitely need to go back to. Denmark’s such a lovely country. It’s almost ten years since I spent a month there (based at Aarhus) doing research for my books. I’m intrigued as to what your new blog will be about. I hope you are well, Elizabeth- you were very down last time we spoke. I’ll visit your blogs sometime during next week. Very best wishes to you… 🙂

    1. Thanks for the mention, Ineke. I’ll be reviewing your book asap. I have several others to review first and I intend to get on with them all during the next couple of weeks. 🙂

  9. You sound like an amazing woman. There is a lot to say about a woman who has been a teacher. A family of education and science (chemistry) & (geology). What can we say other than we love this stuff.

  10. I would really love to read your books…let me just take a look at Amazon, because I don’t know if the book is available in India..
    I really enjoyed reading about your history, it seemed more like a story. They way you write surely captures a lot of minds…

    1. Wow, that’s a lovely comment, Lina. Thank you for the compliments! I know my books are on the Amazon lending library in India and they may be available to buy by now. I realise that wasn’t so in India a while ago, but I’ve a feeling things have changed. If you do read ‘Shadow of the Raven’, be aware that the confusing Anglo-Saxon names do become easier after the first chapter. Just remember to pronounce names that begin with Ae (like Aethelnoth and Aethelwulf) as though the first ‘e’ wasn’t there. For example, Aethelnoth would just be Athelnoth and Aethelwulf, just Athelwulf. Beorhtwulf would just be Bertwulf and Ecgfrid would be Egfrid, and so on. I really need to add a note to the books about pronunciation.

      1. It’s just a pity it isn’t a couple of weeks ago: Book 1 was free for five days then. It won’t be free again for a while, now, I’m afraid. I thought I’d mention pronunciation, because several names do look odd – but if you miss out all the extra letters, they are easy to say. I’ll get a page written out and insert it after my ‘List of Characters’ sometime next week.

      2. It is on Amazon.in – I just looked. But if you wait a few weeks, ‘Shadow’ will be having another 5 free days. You may have more time to read it by then – and I should have a note about pronunciation in the book, too. Thank you so much for taking an interest, Lina. I’ll hop over to your blog when I get back in – if it’s too late it will be tomorrow. We’re off to the Lincoln Christmas Market in a little while, and I’ll be out for a few hours. 🙂

    1. Hi, Anroworld! Thank you for that really nice comment. My children are all well grown up now, the youngets being 31. It’s good to look back on the days when they were all at home. 🙂

      1. Christmas is a crazy time every year, but the older I get, the more determined I am to make it a happy one for all my family. I hope your ‘crazy’ week was wonderful. 🙂

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I’m intrigued by your blog name and now need to see why you chose it. I imagine you’re enjoying some lovely weather down there on the Texas coast. It sounds like a fabulous part of the world. As for awards, I can understand why you don’t do them. They are incredibly time consuming, for one thing. Thank you again for visiting my blog. It’s greatly appreciated.

  11. Just reread this. I love all the old memorabilia. Your family sounds and looks quite marvelous. You were a beautiful little pudgy baby. To think you grew into that lithesome woman seen dancing from behind in your daughter’s photo.

    1. I was a pudgy little thing for ages, Clare, but I soon ran it all off once I got to school and loved all the sports. I think the photo you mean must be when we were in Morecambe, being silly along the promenade. That was a fun day. As we discussed earlier, you’ve just got to have fun and enjoy life. 😀 The photos on my About page are all so old – even the one of the six children was taken in 1985. Nicola, the eldest, had had a longed-for perm the previous day and she hated what it looked like (the poodle look). She spent most of the previous evening in her bedroom with a tea-towel on her head! Twelve is a funny age!

      1. Yes, that’s the photo. You are a dancing queen! I think the old photos are lovely and that memory is something many girls can relate to, I’m one of them. I never went to sleep last night. I’ve been writing and just noticed it was 5:30 AM. Checking blog comments and then I think I’ll take a nap. Sweet dreams!

    1. Thank you for asking! I haven’t been on my blog much for a while, and at the end of this week, I’ll be having a complete blogging break for a short while. I need time to concentrate on finishing off my trilogy. I don’t like leaving my blog, and I’ll be back as soon I’ve made noticeable headway. 🙂

  12. I am so happy for finding you out. As a person who recently started serious blogging, your post about yourself means a lot to me. It’s because i can see honesty and transparency in your post regarding expressing yourself. When I started blogging, I even did not want to mention my photo as a friend told me it’s better to be anonymous in blogging. My aim for blogging is to make myself happy by writing everything in my mind. However, I realize I have to be responsible what I write in my blogs and I am careful with my words now. I am Hnin from Malaysia and I am going to read all your posts. The reason I am finding new writers is I want to read writers from all over the world . I found out blogs are more transparent than books. I can observe other people’s culture and daily life better in blogs. Thank you so much for posting the photos. I can’t wait to read more about you.

    1. Thank you for the lovely comments, Hnin. Some people do prefer to stay anonymous on their blogs, and many don’t like posting photos of themselves, or their families. I haven’t got too many photos of myself that I’d like to share – but that’s an ‘age thing’! I still haven’t come to terms with the fact that I’m growing old! Haha. However, I’m not too secretive about my life and what I’m doing with it now. I’ve found that other bloggers like to know who they’re talking to – and I really enjoy ‘getting to know’ other bloggers. I feel I’ve made a lot of lovely friends in the eighteen months I’ve had my blog.
      Thank you so much for following me. When I come back from my short blogging break (in order to concentrate on my third book for a while) I’ll hop over to your site again to read more of your posts. 🙂

  13. Hi Millie, Finally, I get the chance to turn the tables! I wanted to let you know that I’ve just nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award! I see that you have one of that name already, but hey, this one has a different photo, so that’s completely different. (wink wink) Even if you don’t have time to do the award now (or ever), please accept my appreciation for all your wonderful blogging efforts!

    https://talesofeneana.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/one-lovely-blog-award/

    1. Thank you Joy! I’ll be very happy to accept your nomination. I already have one award post to do so I’ll prbabaly double them up. It may not be for a little while, though. Thank you again! I really appreciate it.

      1. Can’t you double up your award posts? Lots of people do. You could do two posts, each with two awards. That way, if you need to give facts, the same ones will be OK for both.

    2. I considered doubling up but decided against it, although now that I’ve already written a fair amount of the text for them, I’m wondering if that was such a great decision. 😉

      1. You’ll probably end up making a meal out of them, as I do. I can never manage to write short answers, like many people do! I try to make them sound interesting, at least, but probably bore people to death! I’ll look forward to reading yours.

    1. Thanks for the kind wishes, Faraday. I’m chipping away at my writing – both my ‘Sons of Kings trilogy and a book of flash fiction/short stories I’m putting together and hope to publish soon.
      I intend to pop back on my blog later this week and do a bit of catching up again. I’m really missing it!
      Hope all is well in your camp, too. We can’t wait for spring to arrive here. Although we’ve had a mild winter, there’s something magical about spring.

  14. Hello, I wanted to share with you my author promotions I am now doing to help writers get their books more notice! I have a page on my new self-hosted website which states the terms for these book contracts https://aopinionatedman.com/book-promotion-terms/. If you are interested in help promoting your book title please give the following link a visit and read! Thanks and best of luck as you promote your hard work!
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  15. A lovely, interesting about. Would you believe there are still some prefabs in use today? Perhaps the government could learn a thing or two from history, but then again, perhaps not! I look forward to reading more of your work

    1. Thank you for following me back! The prefab in Southport disappeared some years ago now, but I believe there are still some elsewhere. I’d love to go and take a few photos of them. I have very happy memories of ours. We even had a fridge, which few people in ‘bettter’ homes had in those days. I think it must have been a gas one.

      1. My wife moved into one when she was about 6. Her Mum and Dad were over the moon. They really were a fantastic idea, ahead of their time.

      2. Prefabs were ideal, especially in areas where homes had been lost through bombing – plus the number of weddings and growing families after the war. My parents got the prefab once I was on the way. Before that they had nowhere else to live other than with Dad’s parents. But you’re right, those little houses served their purpose so well. I imagine your wife has happy memories, too.

  16. Hi Millie, I have nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award 😀 Please don’t feel obligated to participate. If you are interested, the information is on my homepage. Have a great day!

    1. Thank you so much for this, Antonia. I haven’t got this award, either. I already have one award post to do, so I’ll probably do the two in one, as you have done. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Tammi! I had a quick look at your blog earlier and am very happy to follow you, too. We’ve been out all day today, but I’ll be sure to do some of your posts justice tomorrow.

  17. Hi dear friend Millie!I come and go above WP like a flash of lightning …
    I would like to tell you that I have just bought your first book,it is going to be in my hands in a couple of weeks.I will be proud to hold it in my hands and it will be a good companion during my summer holidays.All the best to you ~ I wish your books get the success they merit 🙂 xxx
    PS:I am so glad I spotted you on Twitter ~ You have now a new follower there,too.

    1. What can I say to that, Doda, other than to thank you so much for even wanting to read my book? I just hope you don’t have too much trouble with the Anglo Saxon names. I know that some people have found them difficult to pronounce. Many of the names of the ‘nobles’ begin with ‘Aethel’ – like Aethelwulf. It should be easy enough if you pronounce the first part ‘Ethel’ or ‘Athel’ and not both of the first two letters. People vary over which letter to stress, so either is fine. I hope that makes sense. Thank you for the kind wishes for my book – and for the follow on Twitter. 🙂

      1. My pleasure Millie!Thank you for preparing me for these mouthful names and for telling me how you split them to make it easier to pronounce.I ,too,have to thank you for following me back and for the R/T 🙂

  18. I love Viking men. Some of the best romance novels I ever read had a Viking male. I’ve often wondered if they were as brutal as implied -yet, brutally depends upon the person, not the culture -I would suspect. So, do your books carry any romance within the arms of these strong, virile men?
    fiddledeedeebooks.wordpress.com

    1. Hello, Dee. I noted from your post that you’re an avid reader – and writer – of Romance. I don’t write Romance as a genre in itself, but I do believe that most novels about real life benefit from an element of romance. After all, romantic love a natural part of life. So yes, there are definitely love stories running through my trilogy – even involving my big, strong virile men. But romance doesn’t dominate the story in the way it would in a novel in the Romance genre.
      Thank you so much for visiting!

  19. I am thrilled to see all your wonderful blog posts to peruse, and you’ve definitely peaked my interest with your novels, I may have to go look them up as well! Thanks for the inspiration, Millie!

    1. I’m afraid my blog has become quite static during this year, Danielle. I haven’t written a post for a week now, as I haven’t had time. I’ve been working on two books (very stupid of me!) recently. One is the third book of my trilogy, which is still to be finished. The other is a book of flash fiction pieces, which I hope to have on Amazon sometime in the next week. I’m relieved that at least one book is done and I can now find more time for other things – like WordPress! 🙂

  20. I wanted to thank you for joining the evolution of my frilly Freudian slip. Bring your Viking friends by any time. My “historical” writing is more in the realm of fantasy with what I know of a period thrown in. A kinda mirror-alternative world. I admire the work of those who stick to the facts while weaving the fiction.

    1. Thanks Frilly! (I’ve just been over to your blog and see that you’re actually Phylor.) I’m happy to be following your new blog and will be interested to see how you develop it. 🙂

  21. Lovely post. You seem to have lived a rewarding life. I particularly loved the photo of you and the children. Be well.
    Murielle

    1. Thank you, Murielle! The photos are all very old. Our eldest, a daughter, is 43 now and the youngest son is 32. Life passes too quickly!
      I just realised, I really need to update my About post! I finished Book 2 of my trilogy ages ago and have published my flash fiction book this year, too. Another job for this week. 🙂

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    1. Hi, Maia. I’ll be away from home for another couple of days, but will certainly look into this when I get back. You seem to have a lot on offer! Thank you for thinking of me. Millie 😃

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