B A McHallam has had a varied career path during her working life. She worked in a bank for thirty-one years before taking early retirement from her role as a Bank Manager. From there she became a mature student. Barbara gained a BA and Masters degrees in history at the University of Central Lancashire before going on to work at a local Further Education college. After being made redundant from the position, she worked on a part time basis for a local firm of estate agents.
Barbara’s ambition to become a writer began when she was in her twenties. She was held back, in part, because of family commitments, but also by the things the teachers told her in school. Barbara was constantly being told that she was hopeless at English and, of course, she believed them. Those remarks made her think that her ambition to become an author was something she would never be able to do. However, a few years ago, Barbara heard about the NaNoWriMo and decided to put pen to paper, or fingers on a keyboard. The finished work was not very good, but she had proved to herself that she could write a story of over fifty thousand words. Doing that gave her the courage to start on her second novel. Now she is an active member of a local writing group, Pennine Ink, who meet each week in the back room of the Woodman pub in Burnley. She has self-published two novels in the women’s fiction genre, Precious Moments and It Began in Barbados. Her third novel, Matches, is a domestic noir story. She has recently self-published Eye for an Eye, the first book in a trilogy of crime fiction novels. For more information visit Barbara’s website.
Q: What is the first book you remember reading, or being read to as a child?
A: Wind in the Willows, and then I began to read Jean Plaidy’s historical fiction novels in my teens.
Q: Do you have a lucky writing talisman? If so, what is it?
A: Not unless I count my cats. Guiness, my lovely black cat would come and sit on my keyboard when she thought I might need some inspiration. After Guiness died, my Leopard Spotted Bengal cat, Minky took over that role.
Q: Who is your person of inspiration?
A: My mum always was an inspiration to me. At the age of 31, my mum was devastated when my dad died from a brain haemorrhage. I was just two years old and mum was then five months pregnant with my sister. She never remarried and, as a single parent, brought me and my sister up to be sensible, hard-working women. She managed to live on her own, in her own home, until just a few months before she died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 89. Not a bad innings for a very wonderful lady who inspired us to make the very best of our lives.
‘Hiya Margery,’ the young woman called over the back-garden fence. ‘How’re you feeling?’ ‘Morning Tracey. I don’t feel too bad today. The pills help. I must be taking so many now it’s a wonder the pharmacy has any left for anyone else.’ Margery paused, took off her gardening gloves, pushed her wispy grey hair out …