About this blog

DOING THE DISHES

“The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.”   Agatha  Christie

The Agatha Christie quote is very apt because I am one of the ninety-five percent of writers who has a day job. In fact, I have two: I run the online creative writing school, www.writingclasses.co.uk, which I set up in 2002 with the help of a small business award, and I run a small bed and breakfast, called The Balmoral. I have washed a lot of dishes ;o).

We bought the guesthouse when we came back from living in the Pacific for ten years. I thought having a Bed and Breakfast would give me some free time during the day to write. If you’ve ever run a guest house, you’ll know what a ridiculous notion the idea of having free time is. However,  I got organised and got help and eventually got myself a masters degree in creative writing, which I studied for all online. It was this online studying experience, which inspired me to set up the online writing school: I wanted to share what I had learnt with others. 

Okay, so what’s the blog about? Well, anything and everything that goes on in my life. Mostly it’s about writing things and what’s happening with my books, but I also blog about Leith, Edinburgh and Scotland  (as this where I live), and France, because my long and suffering partner is 50% French and we visit France quite a lot. I even occasionally blog about the guest house. So, whether you’re a writer, reader, student, or just curious about running a guest house, I’d love to hear from you.

Post your comment here (or at the end of any blog post), or write to me at marianne@mariannewheelaghan.co.uk.

PS: Before becoming a writer I did many things, including being a croupier, a marketing manager, a chambermaid, a cashier, a Brussels sprouts picker, but mostly I was a teacher. I taught English and/or  Drama in Germany, Spain, the Republic of Kiribati and  Papua New Guinea. I also wrote plays.

brussels sprouts

14 Responses to About this blog

  1. Mary Crofts says:

    Hi Marianne…Thanks for letting me know about your “blog”, especially since I found out more about the background of “Blue Suitcase” . It remains one of my all-time favorite books and has a place in the bookcase that holds my “special books”… all the Ray Bradbury books ever written and my favorites about space travel, fairy tales, childrens’ books illustrators, etc.
    Also appreciate knowing there are a couple of “outlets” here in the States for your books as trying to bridge the high finances of our unmatched coinage is a headache for both of us! I don’t know if you remember this about me, or not, and probably “not” because you’ve a lot of people coming in and out of your B and B…I and the gal I was with were attending the International Rhododendron Show at the Botanical. I so fell in love with Scotland and the Scots that I’m now an associate member of the Scottish Rhododendron Society…and the only way we’ve EVER figured out to get my annual dues paid is if I send them $50 cash!!
    Keep us all posted on the arrival of your next “baby” come October/November…I plan to give one of my sons-in-law a copy of “Blue” and buy the mystery for a sister-in-law who’s read every Brit mystery printed in the last century! Mary

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      Brilliant to hear from you here, Mary! And thank you so much for your kind words about The Blue Suitcase. To be on the same shelf as Ray Bradbury is one of the highest compliments I’ve received :) I do remember you and your friend – a plant lover is a big thing in our family, in fact my sister is a horticultural therapist and Botanical Gardens lover (we all love the Botanics!) and so your love of Rhododendrons resonated!
      I’ll definitely keep you posted about the arrival of Food of Ghosts – we’re hopeful by then we’ll have sorted the US Sales distribution etc
      Thanks, again!

  2. Cathy Harris says:

    I’m back, it’s been a while since I went through 3 of your online courses and since then I have…. well… mostly procrastinated with my writing…. no excuse, the devil that is self doubt swallowed me whole! Roll on 24th August and Novel Writing 2. My best friend is always preaching that I need to expand my reading tastes beyond crime or supernatural fiction, as this would help me on my travels towards completing the novel / series that has been niggling at my brain for about 10 years. I suppose knocking on the door of 40 may have helped with the motivation to pull the finger out of my proverbial! Next on the reading list – The Blue Suitcase, certainly a shift in my reading tastes, but from what I have read of the reviews, it is more than worth my time to study not only the story but the style.

    Well done on your success Marianne, you more than deserve it.

    C

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      Hi Cathy, it’s lovely to have you back and thank you for your kind words! I am sure you’ll enjoy Novel Writing (2) – it starts on the 24th September, though not August(!). As you say, the devil that is doubt can be very, very immobilising, but the other thing about writing is that it needs time. It’s great that you have found some and that you have most definitely not given up. I didn’t know you were a fellow crime fiction fan! Excellent! And although The Blue Suitcase is not crime, I hope you find it gripping ( in its own way) nevertheless!

  3. Cathy Harris says:

    thanks Marianne, that was a typo. There is no chance I will forget the start date of the course, as it just happens to be my 20th wedding anniversary too.

  4. Marianne Wheelaghan says:

    Congratulations on that 20th anniversary :)

  5. J.D. Hughes says:

    Hello Marianne. I love the title “Food of Ghosts”.

    Yep, too many thoughts result in inertia, at least for me, but you are talking my language when you mention Brussel’s sprouts: two consecutive years picking in Lincolnshire during college hols acquainted me with the little, green sods!

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      Hey JD
      thanks so much for popping by and so glad you like the Food of Ghosts title! I thought I was the only person who’d picked Brussel sprouts and lived to tell the tale! Little green sods indeed! ;o)

  6. Sandra McKessar says:

    Hi Marianne,
    I came across your blog while researching James Brydon WHEELAGHAN.

    I am helping with a website http://www.spirits-of-gallipoli.com and to date have been unable to find any info on this soldier who paid the ultimate sacrifice at Gallipoli while serving with the AIF.

    I wondered if you were a relative and whether you would consider sharing any info you might have on him.

    I look forward to your reply,

    Kind regards,

    Sandra

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      Hi Sandra
      Gosh. How interesting. Well, I know nothing about your James Brydon Wheelaghan but my full name is Marianne Brydon Wheelaghan and my father was John Brydon Wheelaghan as was my granddad and I had an uncle who was called James Wheelaghan (who may have also been a Brydon). I will ask aunt, my dad’s sister, who is still alive (and who I occasionally blog about) and get back to you. I would have thought my dad, when he was alive, would have told me about a Wheelaghan who’d died at Gallipoli but he may not have known. I am intrigued by this connection and will see if I can find out anything. Thanks for getting in touch. Talk soon. Marianne

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      Ps – Sandra, do you know for sure that his James Brydon Wheelaghan was at Gallipoli?

  7. Marianne Wheelaghan says:

    Hi Sandra,
    just doing a little more digging and your James Brydon Wheelaghan must be a relative as he appears to be from Leith and I am one of the Leith Wheelaghans – interestingly he also went to Dr Bells school in Leith and my dad went there as did I! So, I will definitely look into this further and get back to you :)

  8. Tanya Bryden says:

    Hi Marianne!
    Just wanted to leave a wee message on here,to let you know my dad has just read your book food of ghosts with great delight!! He loved it!
    He studied at Edinburgh University and went to Tarawa as a VSO,where he spent many happy years,eventually meeting my mum and getting married there….then for some crazy reason they moved back to Scotland!!:-D
    He says that even though your characters were fictional, he has a feeling he knows who some of them were based on….and you mentioned my aunty’s hotel as well!!He’d love to go back but sadly my mum isn’t fit to travel.
    Anyway.thankyou for making a 73 yr old man pick up a book again!!I was truly amazed he’d read it so quickly!
    He was wondering when it was you were there and did you visit any other islands? He visited many islands in his time there and my uncle moved there many years ago and settled on Christmas island,where he still resides today! I have NEVER been but everytime I hear stories about the pacific I really feel I should just take the plunge and go….hopefully one day! ;-) xx

    • Muari mauri Tanya! Thank you so much for taking the time to write and tell me how much your father enjoyed Food of Ghosts. It makes all the difference. And what a coincidence that your father is Scottish from Edinburgh and your mother is from Tarawa and she came with your father to live here in freezing cold Scotland! Wow! You are a real live Louisa Townsend – you’re not a police officer, by any chance;) I wish I had known you and your parents were around as I would have invited you all to the launch of Food of Ghosts last November – I am assuming you live here too? Okay to the facts: we lived on Tarawa in Bikenibeu from 1991 to 1996. Marc Pimbert, my husband, taught science at KGV and I taught a little bit of English and Drama there and then I taught English at Tarawa Teachers’ College. My son was born at Nawerewere hospital near Bikenibeu 21 years ago this year. Yikes, that makes it seem such a long time ago, but I have very fond memories, which are very alive. When was your father there? Where did he live? What did he do as a VSO? It is very possible we know the same people because when we arrived we met some foreigners who had been on Tarawa for a long time. Regards my “characters”, yes, they are all fictional, but, of course, inevitably I would have been influenced by all the different people I met while staying there – I do worry that somehow I may have inadvertently offended some people. Gulp! It wasnever my intention and I do hope not! The only other islands I visited in five years were Butaritari and Abaiang. Which hotel does your aunty own, is that Mary’s or the Ottintaai? Do ask any more questions and a big mauri to your mum and dad – and I am so sorry to hear your mum is too poorly to travel back to Tarawa. Does she remember arriving in Scotland and her first impressions? In fcat I’d love to meet your parents one day and talk to both of them about both their experiences as research for future books – because there are more books to come set on Tarawa :) Do you think they would be interested? And, yes, one day why not take the plunge!! Thanks again for getting in touch and hope to hear form you again, very best wishes Marianne
      my email is marianne@writingclasses.co.uk or marianne@mariannewheelaghan.co.uk

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