I  a 68 yr old pensioner and great grandmother - who has been given an unheard of – seven book deal – by Pan MacMillan, one of the big 6 publishers.

The 13th child of 15 I was brought up in the villages of Ullesthorpe and Claybrooke. I attended St Peter’s RC school on London Rd Hinckley from 1949 to 1960, taken there each day on a rattling old school bus owned by Robinson Coaches. Over an hours journey in those days as the bus trundled around many villages picking up the catholic children. I remember loving the English class and in particular, composition. And lucky for me it was a subject taught by my favourite teacher, Mr Tom Payne, who sadly left teaching to become a jeweler. I say sadly as he was an inspiration to the pupils he taught. He encouraged me all he could and once said that I would one day become an author. I never forgot those words and though it took a long time, I have made it at last. 

My earliest memory of home is when our family lived in a hut which was part of a disused army camp and was one of many housing large families. It is now demolished, but stood opposite a huge house, Ullesthorpe Court. A house that held many of my dreams and featured in the stories I made up at the time.

Our hut had a warren of rooms which the surviving 12 of us fitted into without a problem. But, when we were moved to Claybrooke into a three-bedroomed council house we were tight for room to say the least. 

Two girl siblings had to sleep at the top of the bed and two at the bottom and two in bunk-beds, with the boys fitting into the third room. Being one of the younger ones I gradually got to having a bed of my own as older sisters left to be married.

My Mum

After leaving school I attended The Hinckley Technical College for 6 months. This should have been a 12 month shorthand typing course, but I had to leave early as mum needed me to be in work to help out with the family’s weekly income.

My Dad

The Olley Family (me on my mum's knee - with two more yet to be born and three having sadly passed away in infancy)

I am married to Roy and this year we celebrated our 51st wedding anniversary.

As a young married woman I lived in Sharnford, where most of my ‘Wood’ family still live, and also Stoney Stanton and Lutterworth before moving to Blackpool in 1983.

Career-wise, I have had many jobs to fit in with bringing up the children - cleaning, catering etc before spending quite sometime running pubs, clubs, hotels and cafes - as co-manager of some and co owner of others with my husband. These were situated in various places from the Midlands upwards to Blackpool. A time of many, many tales to be told!!!

I spent the last ten years of my working life working for the Probation Service as an admin then a Community Service Officer - this is not the same as the officers of this name today, but with the duty of holding and administering a caseload of offenders on Community Service Orders, and finally as a Probation Service Officer, with a general low-risk caseload of offenders on all types of orders. 

I loved reading as a child and began to write in 1989 whilst nursing my mother (for more on this and my writing journey see the page SAGA WRITER.)

I now have a large family of my own, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who are my rock. Their support and love sustains me and helps me to reach the top of my mountain.. 


  1. Love it, would love to hear a lot more about your early life xxx Anna Facebook

  2. What a moving story, and a remarkable life! Congratulations on making it to the top of your mountain and never giving up.

  3. Hi Mary, can you tell me where I can buy "The Breckton Trilogy" in time for Christmas? My mother is a fan and has asked me to get these books in paperback for her, I can see two of the books on sale on Amazon but "Tomorrow Brings Sorrow" is priced at £999 for the paperback! Hope you see this and get back to me soon, thank you.


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