The Abandoned by Sharon Thompson
Peggy Bowden has not had an easy life. As a teenager her mother was committed to an asylum and then a local priest forced her into an abusive marriage. But when her husband dies in an accident Peggy sees an opportunity to start again and trains as a midwife.
In 1950s Dublin it is not easy for a woman to make a living and Peggy sees a chance to start a business and soon a lucrative maternity home is up and running. But when Peggy realizes that the lack of birth control is an issue for women, she uses their plight as a way to make more money. Very soon Peggy is on the wrong side of the law.
What makes a woman decide to walk down a dark path? Can Peggy ever get back on the straight and narrow? Or will she have to pay for her crimes?
Set against the backdrop of Ireland in the 1950’s The Abandoned tells the story of one woman’s fight for survival and her journey into the underbelly of a dangerous criminal world.
I didn’t know where I was headed when I started to write. So, it’s hard to believe that I’ve written a novel which people will read. It’s a strange turn of events and a scary but wonderful experience.
It all started when I thought maybe I could put ‘a book’ together for a charity close to my heart. Danny McCarthy from Mentor Books pointed out that books are a risky business, but I was adamant that in my future there would be books. After stalking and meeting Benji Bennett from Adam’s Cloud Publishing, he inspired me to start a blog. I had no clue what a blog was at the time but I wrote for hours and found I needed to write.
Then years ago, while on holiday I got up and just had to write about a female killer. She took over my fingers and my hours in the shade. It was as simple as that. My aim was to create a long work of fiction with this character and I let myself write. It seemed so natural and I was content.
While lost in Twitter, I came across Carmel Harrington – a successful HarperCollins author – who mentioned her online writing group and, after a long time, I picked up the courage to join. Carmel Harrington and the Imagine, Write, Inspire group became my secret writing family and I wrote blog posts, short stories and flash fiction. My writing group fuelled my cravings. We set challenges for each other and they made favourable comments about my ramblings. These lovely women also asked for more and more of my rampant 1950s female, serial-killer – Devina.
I wrote quite a few novel length manuscripts. Some may never see the light of day, but once I started I found it hard to stop. I learned as much as I could from other writers as I went along and tried hard to practice all I was taught or read about.
While staring in awe at other published writers at Louise Phillip’s book launch, Carmel Harrington dragged me over to tell Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin about my writing. It took me weeks to send Vanessa the first chapters of my manuscript, but she liked it and has mentored me as I have continued to write. Events like this are life-changing and yet I didn’t realise it. I had no idea how much each step would mean. It has taken a good while to built up the confidence to call myself ‘a writer’. But I daringly gave myself @sharontwriter as my Twitter handle!
Over the years, my short stories got into various publications. Some fabulous literary magazines have kindly published my work. I am proud of these stories. http://www.sharontwriter.com has links to them.
While tapping away, I studied various courses and thought about starting a writing tweet-chat. The tweet-chat king, Dr Liam Farrell joined me in making one. Turns out he’s a writer too and we established #WritersWise. Writing experts guest-host for an hour using our hashtag and give us some of their expertise in tweets. I learned from the experiences of my writing heroes and loved communicating with them and bringing their advice to other aspiring writers. We trend regularly and have a good following. Check us out on #WritersWise on select Thursdays 9-10pm on twitter and at http://www.writerswise1.wordpress.com .
While reading as much as possible, creating websites for #WritersWise and doing re-writes, I still didn’t dare call myself a writer. But when I threw in my teaching principal’s job people asked, ‘So what are you up to now?’ and I felt like a total fraud as I whispered, ‘I write.’
I submitted to events like Date with an Agent and dared to dream I’d find a literary agent. Finally, after many trials and tribulations, I found my home with Tracy Brennan at Trace Literary Agency. I could shout about my progress on social media now. This was the turning point for me. It all started to feel real.
Waiting around is a big part of being a writer and people were starting to ask where they could read my ‘stuff’. Still tentative about sharing my writing, I somehow convinced the Donegal Woman website that they needed a flash-fiction/opinion slot. Now every Sunday, I can be found having fun on our successful Woman’s Words segment at http://www.donegalwoman.ie.
While some fictional characters come and go, others stay a while and Peggy set up camp on my keyboard. Peggy is a backstreet abortionist and brothel owner in 1950s Dublin and she demanded to be a character. I wondered how women in 1950s might have tried to keep their independence when society just wanted them to marry and give up their jobs. I agreed with Peggy that we should explore her story together.
I’m so thrilled that Peggy’s story has been published by Bloodhound Books a leading UK publisher for thrillers and crime fiction. I hope readers take to Peggy’s story. It is called The Abandoned’ and is out on 25th January 2018.
Sharon Thompson lives in Donegal, Ireland. She is a member of Imagine, Write, Inspire. This is a writing group, under the mentorship of HarperCollins author Carmel Harrington. Sharon’s short stories have been published in various literary magazines and websites. #WritersWise is her collaboration with writer, Dr Liam Farrell. This is a trending, fortnightly, promotional tweet-chat with corresponding Facebook page and website (www.writerswise1.wordpress.com). Its mission is to encourage and support writers to reach as wide an audience as possible. Although she mostly writes crime fiction, Sharon does have a fun-side and she writes the quirky Woman’s Words column for the Donegal Woman wesbite. Sharon Thompson. Writing Fun is her writing page on Facebook and she tweets @sharontwriter.
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