We talk to Wayne Brookes about Ruth Hamil­ton’s book “Daugh­ters Of Penny Lane”

Over the months ahead, we’ll be look­ing at new releases by some of our favourite au­thors. This month, Ed­i­tor Wayne Brookes talks to us about “Daugh­ters of Penny Lane”, the most re­cent book by the late Ruth Hamil­ton . . .

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Q Could you tell us a little about the plot of the book? A “Daugh­ters Of Penny Lane” is a grip­ping and heart­warm­ing tale of two sis­ters re­turn­ing to Liver­pool’s Penny Lane af­ter World War II. There they both hope to re­build their lives, but a con­trol­ling mother who har­bours too many se­crets is about to get in their way. It’s full of Ruth’s wit, warmth and fab­u­lous twists.

Q

What was Ruth’s con­nec­tion to Liver­pool? A Ruth was orig­i­nally from Bolton but moved to Liver­pool many years ago. She was very proud of her roots, but she adored the city of Liver­pool. My first visit to Liver­pool was to visit Ruth and she in­sisted on mak­ing our taxi driver drive us around the sights. She knew ev­ery­thing about Liver­pool’s his­tory and although she started her ca­reer writ­ing about Bolton, Liver­pool held a very spe­cial place in her heart.

Q Did Ruth read her own re­views?

A I don’t be­lieve she did. Ruth loved to write and tell sto­ries and she would get lots of fan mail. If her fans loved what she was do­ing then I don’t think she cared what re­view­ers thought. She in­stinc­tively knew what her fans wanted and so she gave it to them.

Q Which of Ruth’s books is your favourite and why?

A “That Liver­pool Girl” is one of my favourites be­cause it was the first book that I worked on with Ruth. We had so much fun work­ing to­gether on that book. We were both new to each other and we just hit it off. I miss those laughs.

Q Was Ruth al­ways bub­bling over with story ideas?

A She cer­tainly was. Fri­day morn­ings were al­ways spent on the phone to Ruth. In those con­ver­sa­tions, we would talk about ev­ery­thing from the book she was cur­rently writ­ing to ideas for the next two and be­yond. I don’t think a day went by that Ruth wasn’t think­ing about her next story.

Q Why do you like most about Ruth’s writ­ing?

A Ruth’s voice is what I love most about her work. You only have to read the first page and you know she has writ­ten it. You can hear the au­thor her­self in every word, and that is a spe­cial writer. Q Are there any more sto­ries to come from Ruth? A There is one more book to come next year. This was the book that Ruth had just fin­ished be­fore she passed away, and so it was our last to­gether. She called it “Be­yond Straw­berry Field”. Join us in our Au­gust 19 is­sue when we talk to Mary Wood about her book “To­mor­row Brings Sor­row”.

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