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I am thrilled to welcome another fantastic author to join me today for a chat about books and writing processes, what’s on the horizon and cause some giggles! Today’s author is none other than the lovely Gina Kirkham, the woman behind the Constable Mavis Upton series. Her previous books are Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot – The Further Adventures of Constable Mavis Upton, both are available via these Amazon links.


Gina was born during the not-so-swinging 50s to a mum who frequently abandoned her in a pram outside Woolworths and a dad who, after two pints of beer, could play a mean Boogie Woogie on the piano in the front room of their 3-bed semi on the Wirral.

Trundling a bicycle along a leafy path one wintry day, a lifelong passion to be a police officer gave her simultaneously an epiphany and fond memories of her favourite author Enid Blyton and moments of solving mysteries. And thus began an enjoyable and fulfilling career with Merseyside Police. On reaching an age most women lie about, she quickly adapted to retirement by utilising her policing skills to chase after two granddaughters, two dogs and one previously used, but still in excellent condition, husband. Having said goodbye to what had been a huge part of her life, she suddenly had another life-changing epiphany. This time it was to put pen to paper to write a book based on her experiences as a police officer. Mavis Upton was born, ready to star in a humorous and sometimes poignant look at the life, loves and career of an everyday girl who followed a dream and embarked upon a search for the missing piece of her childhood.

Constable Mavis Upton is back in July 2018 in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

The lovely people I meet, either in person at events, LitFest, talks etc., or through social media, has got to be one of my favourites. Being an author has gifted me that opportunity. The reading/blogging/writing communities are not only supportive, they’re great fun too!
I love being able to create and describe characters too, give them a voice, express feelings, sights and smells through words and if a reader gets my sense of humour or suffers a bout of watery eyes at a poignant moment, it makes the many hours of self-doubt worthwhile.
To have someone say they enjoyed my book, that it cheered them up or made them giggle is the icing on the cake.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

Oh gosh, I think it’s got to be when you get a not so good review. You know you will get them, but if you’re not naturally comfortable in putting yourself out there, then it can really knock what little confidence you have. Having said that, reviews can be negative but still constructive so you can learn and develop your writing with help from the readers and reviewers. It’s the ones that are a little mean that sting, like when someone hasn’t enjoyed your book, calls it a ‘turkey’ and tags you on Twitter to let you and the world know how dreadful they thought it was…….
…..I don’t think I’ll ever be able to enjoy a Christmas dinner again (unless we have chicken) without squirming in embarrassment at the memory of that one!

If you could have written any book what would it be and why?

To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee. I read this in my English Literature class at high school and it made such a huge impression on me. It is such a haunting tale of courage and passionate principles through the eyes of a child. I remember alternating between great sadness and anger that there were people in the world who could actually carry such prejudice in their hearts and act upon it. I think growing up with a mum who taught me to
be inclusive and accepting of everyone, it was such a shock to immerse myself in a story that was educating me to realise that not everyone thought or felt the same way as me.

How do you spend your time when you are not writing?

I am incredibly blessed to have three wonderful grandchildren, Olivia 10 years, Annie 7 years and a new addition this year, Arthur who is just 5 months old. They fill my hours with laughter, fun and silly games, I’m often squished into their Wendy House/teepee/pirate ship with my knees wedged under my chin drinking pretend tea and savouring mud pies. Hubby and I are very keen gardeners too, so we’re often found wandering around garden centres looking bemused whilst clutching money off coupons
and borrowing each other’s glasses to read how much spread a plant (not our waistlines) will have.

Do you have a set routine for writing? Rituals you have to observe? i.e specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

Oooh, definitely a massive mug of tea (or bucket as my hubby calls it) to start. Then my two Westie boys beside me in their Home Bargain fleecy beds, a view of the garden, a sneaky packet of biscuits that I promise myself will last my whole writing session but in truth are normally devoured before I’ve even typed two paragraphs, my Harry Potter notebook hubby bought me and complete silence. I tend to write when my characters speak to me, I get an uncontrollable urge to put their words down and that’s when I have my most productive days. The downside is when Mavis decides to strike up a conversation in my head at 3 am and won’t shut up. I have to get up, find the bucket mug and a packet of Garibaldi’s and write to keep her happy.

What’s on the horizon?

I have been doing a lot of Speaker events for branches of the Women’s Institute over the last eighteen months, which have been great fun. I’m a terrible ‘people watcher’ which is probably quiet disconcerting for those who come under the focus of my gaze, but it’s where I get my inspiration for characters from. These meetings are always full of wonderful ladies with fabulous stories to tell. Cora and Agatha in Blues, Twos and Baby Shoes are based on two WI ladies I met at one of my talks. I really enjoyed developing these two characters who were not police related, so now I’m busy drafting a new idea for a series of mystery books, still with humour but a touch of pathos and quirkiness too.

Finally, if you could impart one pearl of wisdom to your readers, what would it be?

I know from experience that life is incredibly fragile and comes with no guarantees. Have dreams, bucket lists and savings, but don’t wait for that rainy day to enjoy them. There are plenty of wonderful days with sunshine to live those dreams now.
Don’t ever find yourself saying ‘I could have….’
When the time comes you want to be able to say ‘I did…’

….. oh, and there can never, ever be too many books in a bookcase! ☺

Can you tell me a little about your latest book? How would you describe it and why should we go read it?

Blues, Twos and Baby Shoes (The Further, Further Adventures of Constable Mavis Upton) is the third in the series of books loosely based on my career as a Police Officer with Merseyside Police. The trilogy follows a ‘thirty something’ single mum of a little girl, who reaches for her dream and joins the police. The stories chart the highs and lows of juggling everyday life, love, career and family with humour and a little sadness.

In Blues, Twos Mavis is pregnant, as is her daughter Ella, and whilst coming to terms with becoming a geriatric mum and a grandmother at the same time, the last thing she needs is problems at work. But a new sexist dinosaur of a Sergeant is more bully than mentor, and a mysterious case involving a blackmailer sending poison pen letters is baffling the police and tearing the community apart.

Can Mavis juggle late life motherhood and her career, maintain a loving relationship with her other half Joe and deal with being a grandmother, all whilst solving the case?

Well, this is Constable Mavis Upton…literally anything is possible!

Gina’s books are a wonderfully hilarious escape from everyday life and came highly recommended to me by some friends, especially the lovely Jill over at Jill’s Book Cafe. I’ve bought copies of the first two books to read before I get reading this new book and I cannot wait to find out what Constable Mavis has been up to!

A huge thank you to Gina for joining me today for a natter and being so open about her writing and her life outside of her books. I do love a wander around a garden centre too, and I’m so pleased that her grandchildren keep her out of mischief with their tea parties!

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