Chatting With Linda Huber

Posted on 10th November, 2019

In case you missed it, here is a copy of my interview on Linda Huber's blog.


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Tell us a little about where – and when – your book is set.

The Surplus Girls, which is written under the name Polly Heron, is set in Manchester in 1922. It is the first in a trilogy and each story covers four months of that year, so the first one takes place between January and April and the last one ends at Christmas. The year is important. The Great War has been over for some time, but everybody is still living with the consequences. In my heroine’s home, three generations of women are still in mourning for Ben – the son, grandson and fiancé they all loved – but whereas his mother and grandmother look set to remain in mourning for ever, young Belinda has laid her memories to rest and wants to look to the future, assuming she can build up the courage to tell her honorary mother- and grandmother-in-law, that is.

What kind of research did this book need?

I have always been interested in social and domestic history, so I already had a certain amount of knowledge. Specifically, I had to look into the lives of some real surplus girls, and women in general, to find out about their work prospects and the kind of living standards that their wages were likely to give them. This was crucial to the plight of the surplus girl. Having lost her chance of marriage, she faced a future of providing for herself.


How do you write – do you edit as you go, or have a specific routine, or…?

I am quite disciplined. I set targets. I set a word count target for the month and divide it into weeks. I edit as I go, but I don’t let the editing take over. It’s important to feel the book is moving along – and, of course, those weekly targets keep me focused. For me, the most important working day is Monday. It is important to get plenty done on Monday so that my week gets off to a good start. When I have finished writing the book, I send it to my agent, who makes editing suggestions for improving it. After I have worked on those, I return it to her for her to send to the publisher.


How do you relax?

I live at the seaside and I love getting out and about in the fresh air. Living beside the sea, and specifically living in Llandudno in North Wales, was a childhood dream of mine and we have been here for six years now. Best of all, I like to take my writing pad with me and settle down by the sea to work.


What’s next?

What’s next for The Surplus Girls in publishing terms is book 2, which is already written, and in writing terms, is book 3. As well as being part of a trilogy, each book is a stand-alone novel with its own heroine – Belinda, Molly and Nancy. Each book explores different a different theme. Loyalty and loss in Belinda’s story; independence and sexism in Molly’s; and courage and self-belief in Nancy’s.


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Comments (1)

I enjoyed the interview very much, Linda and Sue. Thank you. I was particularly interested in the question about research as this is the stage I'm at with my current WiP. I love the fact that although you were a guest on my own blog a few weeks ago, I've still learned more about you and your writing. We all ask different questions! I'm looking forward to reading 'The Surplus Girls'.