Ylva author Wendy Temple is here to chat about life, writing, Edinburgh, and sports.
She’s giving away one e-copy and paperback of her novel Defensive Mind. More details are below.
Please welcome Wendy Temple.
Before we begin, thanks so much for stopping by today for a chat.
Thanks so much for inviting me!
You grew up in East Edinburgh. What was it like and how has the city influenced your writing?
Oh, great question. I grew up on a rough housing estate, but we had a lot of fun. We were also close to the seaside and frequently walked down to Portobello, a place that features heavily in my writing. I now live there, another one of my childhood dreams.
Edinburgh is a city that features heavily in literature. From Robert Louis Stevensons Dr Jekyli and Mr Hyde, to Muriel Sparks Miss Jean Brodie. The wonderful detective novels of Ian Rankin to the iconic Trainspotting from Irvine Welsh. Edinburgh seamlessly slips into many genres. The ghostly, the macabre, the criminal underbelly that resides below its genteel façade. The drug problem that runs along beside its vast cultural heritage and festival city image. It’s easy to set a book in Edinburgh, it offers beauty and history in abundance but, if you scratch a little beneath the surface, you begin to peel away its layers and find a whole other world. The deeper you delve, the more it offers.
All of this has influenced my own writing. The place I grew up in, the beauty of the city, its history, the famous books that have been set here and the many writers from Edinburgh. Add to that the many people I have known and met over the years and it’s a great mix of interesting characters with a fantastic stage on which to set them.
As a child you wanted to live on the historic Royal Mile. For those not familiar with the area, can you fill us in and share why you wanted to live there?
It fascinated me. You start at the top, where Edinburgh castle is and slowly make your way downhill where you will find Holyrood Palace and the beauty of Arthurs Seat, an extinct volcano that really does look like it has been lifted from the Highlands and deposited into the middle of a city. Along the way you pass the many closes that lead off to places begging to be explored. A Warren of activity is housed either side of the Royal Mile, shops, small museums, pubs and best of all, a huge variety of houses of all shapes and sizes that people live in. It’s a living breathing historical monument to the past and this is why the entire Old Town is a world heritage site.
The history is rich, romantic and at times violent. You pass the witches well where they burned poor innocent women accused of being witches. The White Horse, the oldest pub on the Royal Mile dating back to 1742 has seen many a famous person pass through its doors and all the buildings and closes have their own story to tell. If you walk down in the dread of night it takes on a whole other feeling, a ghostly sense of darkness and something otherworldly. It can easily creep you out. I love it.
Your academic background is in community education, healthcare, and physical education. What advice do you have for parents about how to keep their kids active?
I am so passionate about this. I have a saying about training shoes, never complain when your kid wears them out quickly, it’s the sign of an active child and a really good thing!
I know time is difficult for a lot of parents, but let the kids join as many groups as they can. Encourage some kind of activity, even indoors on the rainy days. I have to hand over to Judy Murray here, her ideas are so practical and inexpensive, but fun. I remember doing a lot of this myself as a kid. Keeping a balloon in the air as long as possible with your friends. We usually only had balloons around Birthdays and Christmas. I remember being devastated when the last one deflated or burst. Judy Murrays book Knowing The Score offers such insight into keeping kids active I would highly recommend it to any parent looking for ideas, that woman knows her stuff. I could wax lyrical about this subject for hours. Juggle with socks, encourage fun play that costs so little, use items already around the house. I used to set up assault courses in the back greens on our housing scheme. All the local kids joined in and we timed it. I made them from all the rubbish I found lying around. Be inventive in play and encourage that in your children.
When you were younger, did you play any sports and do you still play? Which is your favorite?
I played every sport available to me. I was kicking a football from a very young age. I loved all activity, running jumping, tig, hide and seek, I couldn’t get enough of it. At primary school, I played netball, girls weren’t allowed to play football. Then at Secondary school I played Volleyball and Hockey, as well as Badminton, Squash and athletics in the summer. I always played football for the local community girls team. The school only had a hockey team for a couple of years so I joined the local ladies team at fourteen. This developed my game tremendously and I believe that’s why I went on to be a good hockey player. That’s the sport I chose to play after leaving school. I still played every and any other sport when the opportunity arose.
I no longer play sport, but am an avid sports fan, especially tennis, football, rugby and athletics.
Is there one sport you always wanted to try, but haven’t yet?
Snowboarding. I was a decent skier, but never tried to snowboard. I did like skateboarding and thought I possibly could have pulled off a few tricks. lol
You started writing fanfiction in 2005 to impress a woman. What happened to your work and more importantly, was the woman impressed?
The fanfiction I wrote from 2005 is all on the Athenaeum and the Royal Academy of Bards. Yes, the woman was suitably impressed and fortunately for me, still is.
Tell us about your novel Defensive Mindset?
I’ll give the blurb from the back of the book, then expand a bit.
“Star footballer and successful businesswoman Jessie Grainger has her life set, and doesn’t need anything getting in the way. That includes rebellious rival player Fran Docherty, a burnt-out barmaid with a past as messed up as her attitude. So when the clashing pair find themselves on the same Edinburgh women’s football team, how will they survive each other, let alone play to win?”
Defensive Mindset is set in Edinburgh, mostly Portobello. Fran Docherty is a difficult character. I deliberately set out to write someone as problematic as Fran. It means, she’s not easy to like, but I think there is enough in her to get behind. She doesn’t like to talk, especially about her past. She’s trying to put her life back together after years of drug and alcohol abuse and she’s returned to Portobello to run her grandfathers bar after he has a stroke. The one thing Fran chooses to do that she is good at is continue to play football.
I would like to add something here about Fran and her drug addiction that has come up frequently in reviews. A few readers don’t believe that a former drug addict who still smokes would be capable of playing the level of football Fran does. I would urge anyone with doubts to take a lot at athletes who have struggled with addiction. There are many stories out there. Players have taken heroin and played. Many athletes have gone onto a pitch loaded. Fran is clean. As for smoking, there are also a lot of athletes who smoked throughout their careers. I played hockey with a teammate who smoked twenty a day, she was fitter than anyone else in the team, she still is. I just had to get that off my chest, as it’s a criticism that’s been bugging me.
Then we have Jessie, she’s beautiful inside and out. A caring, thoughtful individual who gives her all to whatever task she sets out to complete. The last thing she expects is to become attracted to Fran after she joins Jessie’s football team. At first she positively dislikes Fran, but as the weeks pass by, she starts to see something different. Defensive Mindset is the story of Fran’s journey and Jessie’s courage. There are a host of other characters and some funny moments along with the deeper and sometimes dark passages as the book deals with Fran’s past.
Are you working on a new story? What’s it about?
I’m currently editing a story I wrote in 2007. Licit Cusp. After that, I plan to write a novel based on a character I wrote a short story on for Ylva in the Christmas 2014 anthology, Unwrap These Presents. Clare Shaw is around forty- seven, a mother of two whose marriage is a sham. Now that both her kids have left home, she intends to pursue the life she forfeited for propriety all those years ago.
Aside from sports and writing, what hobbies do you enjoy?
I love genealogy. I’ve been doing the family tree for years. I like to play a bit of pool and I do lots of reading. I also love shopping and watch far too much sport.
Finally, tells us one of your quirks that not many know about?
Hmmm… I have a bit of OCD.
Thanks so much for chatting today.
Thank you. It’s been a pleasure.
Star footballer and successful businesswoman Jessie Grainger has her life set, and doesn’t need anything getting in the way. That includes rebellious rival player Fran Docherty, a burnt-out barmaid with a past as messed up as her attitude. So when the clashing pair find themselves on the same Edinburgh women’s football team, how will they survive each other, let alone play to win?
MEET THE AUTHOR
A passionate Scot, Wendy grew up in East Edinburgh. As a child it was her dream to live on the historic Royal Mile, which she did for a number of years before returning to the seaside a few years ago.
With an academic background in Community Education; Healthcare & Physical Education, she has held numerous jobs in these fields and is a passionate advocate of keeping access to further education & healthcare free for all and lessons in physical education available to all schoolchildren.
A sports fanatic, Wendy played hockey & volleyball competitively & five-a-side football for leisure. Her hobbies include watching lots of sport, reading & writing; genealogy & history.
Wendy started writing fanfiction in 2005 to impress a woman…
CONNECT WITH WENDY TEMPLE
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Have a fab weekend!