“Dreams do come true, even for 70-year-olds.”
And author and great-grandmother Mary Wood should know.
Mary, who lives in Blackpool, is about to see her latest – and fourth – book published through PanMacmillan, on December 3.
To mark the occasion, Mary – who used to work for the Probation Service in the resort – will be signing copies of All I Have To Give, at Ashton Park Hotel, Clifton Drive North, St Annes, on Saturday, December 5.
The event will run between 3 and 5pm and will include a short talk by Mary about her book and career, followed by a question and answer session, book signing and a raffle. There will also be wine and sherry, tea, coffee and mince pies.
The signing is being hosted by Plackitt and Booth booksellers, of Lytham.
Mary has beaten breast cancer and ME to achieve her dreams of writing, a career she dreamed of for many years.
She was born the 13th child of 15 and had a childhood which she describes as a “mixture of love and deep poverty.”
Mary first started writing in 1989, while nursing her mother through her final months, but received rejections.
After a career in catering, she joined the probation service in Blackpool in 1999 – and while she had stopped sending her work to publishers, she never gave up writing.
It was when she was diagnosed with ME and left wheelchair-bound, she started to write more, using the writing to help her recover.
Within a year, she was able to live normally again.
But in 2010, she was diagnosed with breast cancer – she is now in remission.
Mary said: “With that blow, I thought I had better do something about my dream before the rug was pulled from underneath me.
“And so, I self-published my work on Kindle.
“I was lucky enough to enjoy a massive success on there, with all my books reaching number one in genre.
“Then came the red letter day when Pan Macmillan, one of the biggest publishers in the world, contacted me.
“After seeing my success, one of their editors had become curious over who I was and who published me.
“When she saw I was self-published, she downloaded my book, loved it and offered me a seven book deal.
“I have since been given a further two book deal.”
Pan Macmillan has published three of Mary’s books already – Time Passes Time, and Proud Of You are both set in the Second World War and To Catch A Dream, a northern saga, set in 1872 to 1900, and the first of a trilogy, the second of which is to be published in May.
All I Have To Give is set in 1916 and tells the story of female surgeon Edith Mellor. She travels to the Somme to use her skills to help on the front, where she meets East End Corporal Albert. They can’t deny their attraction to each other, but as the brutality of war reveals itself, he makes a decision which changes both their lives forever.
Edith is then brought into the life of Ada, who lives in the north of England and was left heartbroken when her only remaining son Jimmy went off to fight in the war.
Together the women realise they must be able to turn their lives around.
The book will be available from Plackitt and Booth in Lytham, WH Smiths, Sainsbury, Tesco and Boyes of Lincoln Stores, as well as other good books and online.
Tickets for the launch are free, but must be ordered by calling Plackitt and Booth on (01253) 796958, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Mary on (01253) 312436.