MAR­I­ANNE HAR­MAN

Au­thor of “Com­mu­nity Spirit”

The People's Friend - - Real Life 65 -

Q what in­spired the story?

“Com­mu­nity Spirit” is based on my own shop in ru­ral Devon but it’s very dif­fer­ent. Al­though, like Anna, many of my lovely cus­tomers have be­come friends and are just as pro­tec­tive of the shop. I love our chats, and cups of tea are, of course, vi­tal.

I’ve also been in­volved in lots of lo­cal projects in­clud­ing set­ting up a com­mu­nity cinema, hence the film ref­er­ences, and wanted to re­flect all the hard work peo­ple do in their com­mu­ni­ties.

At the same time, I love a light-hearted ro­mance and hope­fully it’s a story that leaves read­ers feel­ing bet­ter and makes them smile.

Q what’s the best com­pli­ment a reader could give you?

To say they want to know what hap­pens next. I hope read­ers feel they’ve got to know Anna, Jimmy and Mrs Mullins and want to re­visit the com­mu­nity. There are plenty more sto­ries about Wild and Home­less Books to be told.

Q what, in your opin­ion, makes a good story?

It has to have a be­liev­able sit­u­a­tion with char­ac­ters I care about. I also en­joy im­mers­ing my­self in a fic­tional world and build­ing up a pic­ture of what lies around each corner. That’s what keeps me com­ing back. Wild and Home­less Books is a mix of lots of dif­fer­ent places but I can see ev­ery part of it.

Q what’s your favourite writ­ing snack?

It has to be the stash of Tun­nock’s Tea­cakes I keep safely hid­den from my teenagers.

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