Delight For Author Ann

Inspired by a tale from family history, Only When the Moon is Big, is a story of sorrow, joy, hardship and love

Former dressmaker Ann Kenyon has recently had her first novel published at the age of 74. A delighted Ann, who lives in the Ribble Valley, has had extensive positive feedback on ‘Only When the Moon is Big’, which is published by Olympia: “I was thrilled when Olympia came back to me to say they wanted to publish!” says Ann, who first began writing the book 10 years ago.

“It came to a bit of a standstill, but I recently went back to it as I don’t like things half done.”

The inspiration behind the book initially came from Ann’s grandmother: “I was told my great grandmother had died at the age of 29 leaving six children behind. I was also told that she died by accident – she was assaulted when someone mistook her for someone else. While it gave me the idea to write the book, all the characters within it are totally fictitious.

“The book is based around the reservoirs on the Yorkshire-Lancashire moors, which can be quite bleak and dramatic at times but it is can also be very beautiful.”

‘Only When the Moon is Big’ revolves around Jonas Bailey, a tenant farmer on the East Lancashire moors at a time during the 19th century, when the Water Board was buying land to build reservoirs in order to supply the burgeoning mill towns.

All is fine until the son of Jonas’s landlord takes a liking to Jonas’s beautiful, youngest daughter – which sparks trouble. The novel is described as a story of ‘sorrow, joy and hardship but through it all, great love’.

Ann, who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and was confined to a wheelchair for a time while writing the book, explains: “While I was in a wheelchair, I could still write so that helped me. In the room where I do my writing is a window overlooking Parlick Fell, so I could interpret what I could see into the book.”

While Ann found writing relatively easy, when it came to the end of the novel, she was perplexed: “My husband asked me how I kept coming up with the words, but I found it was relatively easy to get started and create the characters.

“People fascinate me and I have met a lot of people during my time. You observe them and they all have certain mannerisms and ways, so I really enjoyed that side of writing the book.

“It was the ending that was difficult, but I managed it.”

Many of Ann’s characters within the book have strong Lancashire accents and the phraseology reflects this, as she explains: “I still know a lot of people with Lancashire accents. My husband is from farming stock so he comes out with some really strange sayings sometimes!

“I must admit it was not always easy writing down phrases conveying a Lancashire accent. It was a bit tricky with the spelling and getting the meaning across,” recalls Ann, who began writing when she was no longer able to sew: “My hands literally gave up on me and eventually I couldn’t sew, but I could still write.”

When Ann completed ‘Only When the Moon is Big’, her circle of friends and family were largely unaware of her writing: “While not many people knew I had written it, I told a close friend about it. She is a big reader and while she doesn’t read the classics, she loves all the popular authors of the day.

“She asked me if she could read my manuscript – I was very nervous! Within days she came back to me saying she was part way through it and was really enjoying it. A few days later she got in touch to say she had finished it and it was one of the best books she had read! She kept pestering me to try to get it published.”

Ann eventually submitted her book to Olympia Publishers: “They take manuscripts directly from writers and when I sent mine they told me to expect a wait of at least six weeks before they came back to me with a decision. But they accepted it straight away!”

Ann was then guided through the publishing process: “Olympia were absolutely marvellous. They gave me a choice of three covers and after one was digitally re-modelled, I accepted it. I have really enjoyed the whole process. Olympia accept very few manuscripts so I consider myself to be very lucky.”

‘Only When the Moon is Big’ is available from Amazon, Waterstones and other good booksellers £10.99



Tedd Walmsley

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Tedd Walmsley managing director of Live Magazines shares his views on the latest topics in media.

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