Ripon novelist’s e-xciting success

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Spurred on by the success of her first short story collection, Anyone for Murder? (And Other Crime Stories), a Ripon writer has produced two more eBooks.

Maggie Cobbett, chair of Ripon Writers’ Group and Emmerdale ‘village regular’ as an extra, names Joanne Harris among her favourite authors .

What does it for her is Harris’s distinctive achronological style, dashing between flashbacks and present tense.

All three of this multi-lingual former school teacher’s collections are now available to download from Amazon.

Following the success of her first novel, Anyone for Murder? (And Other Crime Stories), Maggie has followed it up with Had We But World Enough and Swings and Roundabouts.

Maggie was inspired originally by her own experiences of France - going on a particularly memorable A-level trip to the country when she was a teenager then spending time teaching English in French schools.

A trip round Moscow in a double-decker bus when she was studying French and German at the University of Manchester is also credited as a place rich with mind-broadening possibility.

“I have a very fertile imagination and scenes often just come out of the ether, ” she says as she sips coffee by the upstairs window of the café we’ve arranged to meet in.

“People endlessly inspire me. I often like to just sit in cafés and shops watching people going about their day to day business.”

As the chairman of Ripon Writers Group, Maggie also finds it useful to get feedback from fellow local writers and hear other people’s experiences.

Maggie’s bank of memories has led to her winning a multitude of writing competitions, including winning a free place at the Writers’ Summer School in Swanwick - twice.

Her experiences of life abroad and the differences between countries continue to influenced her writing.

Had We But World Enough focusses on people who, willingly or otherwise, leave everything they know behind them for life in a new country.

Swings and Roundabouts explores how seemingly commonplace events can take an unexpected turn.

As an extra for Emmerdale, it seems Maggie’s eye for lucid insights into people’s lives won’t be fading anytime soon.

“We travel to the Harewood estate village on location in Leeds in a minibus and there is such a great sense of spirit.There can be lots of time between scenes and I get the opportunity to just sit in the corner and scribble away.

“It’s very amusing to see my colleagues trying to work out if any of my characters are based on them, ” she chuckles.

To find out more about Maggie’s work, visit www. maggiecobbett.co.uk