Wendy Moore: Absolutely thrilled, a real accolade for me as it’s the only non-fiction book on the list and it has had a great effect on sales.
Sara : Which of your novels did you find hardest to write?
Wendy Moore : I’ve only written 2 books so far and both are non-fiction. Probably this book as there was a huge amount of research material and a lot of areas I didn’t know much about before such as law and botany. But it was probably the most enjoyable to write as well because it’s such a fascinating story.
Mel: What appealed to you most about Mary Eleanor Bowess story?
Wendy Moore : From the moment I first heard her story I knew it had absolutely everything in it, it had intrigue, drama, sexual liaisons, violence and a fantastic ending. But I was fascinated too because of the modern parallels because there are people still in very abusive marriages and for the fascination with celebrity and media mania.
Sara : What sort of books do you like to read?
Wendy Moore : I read a lot of non-fiction, a lot of biography and a lot of books about history generally. I love a good novel. I really enjoyed all of Sarah Waters books. Really any good novel and a great story keeps me reading.
Jasmine : There’s so much research in Wedlock, how long did it take you to research?
Wendy Moore : I spent a full year doing full time research before I began to even write the book and another year and a half further research and writing it. A lot of the archives are in Scotland in Glamis Castle so I went up there several times to look through the boxes of material. There was a huge amount of reading to do but it was absolutely fascinating at the same time.
Alex : Do you believe that cases like Mary’s are still happening today behind closed doors?
JoL : Did you have a background in historical research?
Wendy Moore : No I have no experience in history, I didn’t even go to uni. I’m trained as a journalist but I’ve always had an interest in history so with both my books I approached them as a journalist as a fact finding exercise and grasped the history as I went along.
Sara : Were there times when you thought that you wouldnt be able to find all the information needed to compile the true story?
Wendy Moore : Yes definitely. There were lots of gaps as I went along, lots of people I didn’t know anything about and lots of areas I didn’t understand. There were aspects I thought I might not be able to fully explore. I really like a challenge so when a puzzle came up I worked away at it until I found the answers
Philip : Hi Wendy. I loved the book. Are you working on a new one?
Wendy Moore : Yes, I’m working on another 18th century true story. I don’t want to give too much away incase it bursts the bubble for me but it’s another amazing story about 18th century society. Lots of ebullient characters.
Selena : Did you feel like you know what Mary was thinking and feeling as you wrote?
Wendy Moore : That’s difficult because I think it’s probably impossible to know what anyone in the past was thinking and feeling but I probably became as close as possible as I had access to a huge number of journals and poetry so that really helped me to understand how she must have felt. Especially being 8 years in a marriage where she feared for her life. At the same time, Andrew Robinson Stoney was a very convincing person and he wrote quite a few counter arguments so sometimes I had to weigh up the evidence and decide who was telling the truth.
Sara : What was the message you wished readers to take away from this book (if there was one)?
Wendy Moore : I didn’t set out to put forward a very strong message but I think there were lots of themes I hoped people might take away. One is how lucky people are today in lots of ways as we have the law on our side now. A lot of these issues are still current today and there are problems with arranged marriages and women are still suffering in abusive marriages. But essentially I just wanted people to read this incredible story.
Emma : You say that you didn’t go to University but have you ever had writing classes?
Wendy Moore : I’m a trained journalist so I went to journalist college and have written as one for over 25 years and I went to creative classes when I wanted to write short stories and although my book is non-fiction I really think the creative writing classes helped a lot in creating a scene and writing a story.
Dan : Do you have any advice for unpublished authors?
Wendy Moore : Keep at it and believe you can do it. It’s very hard work and you need to be disciplined and if you do persevere and finish then get an agent. My agent has been incredibly helpful in getting me a publishing contract but also in guiding me in how to write books.
JoL : Did you work on the book full time or how did you manage your time?
Wendy Moore : More or less full time. I do do some odd bits of journalism but essentially I treat it as a 9-5 job so I’m very disciplined about it. With my books I’ve really lived and breathed the subject so I work at my desk all day but I’ll often be reading general reference books or 18th century fiction in my spare time.
Sara : What impact has your own life had on your writing?
Wendy Moore: I’ve always been interested in history and I’ve always loved books so it’s long been a dream to bring those two things together. I’m quite a latecomer to writing books having worked as a journalist for such a long time so I think I bring a lot of my experience as a journalist to my writing nowadays.
Ricky : Do you ever suffer from writers block?
Wendy Moore : Yeah frequently. There are always good days and bad days. Some days I might only write a paragraph that I’m pleased with. Other days it goes really well. Having written the first book I realised there are bad days but that doesn’t mean it’s completely desperate, you have to keep going. I go for a walk or sleep on it or go back to my original notes and read through it all again to help. But essentially I think just keep going.
Emma : If you had not studied to be a journalist and become an author what else do you think you would be doing now?
Wendy Moore : I didn’t really set out to be a journalist, I always wanted to write books as a child so I think being a journalist was a sidetrack for 25 years so I think I always wanted to be a novelist rather than a non-fiction writer so I might do that one day. I can’t imagine doing anything else apart from writing in some form.
JoL : Do you have more than one book going at once? i.e. do you find you gain more ideas from your research?
Wendy Moore : No I think that would be very difficult to do. I like to immerse myself completely in what I’m writing so I can really understand what it’s like to be in those times and that situation. But I might have some days out when I do some journalism as a break.
Selena : Now that you are done with Wedlock do you miss it?
Wendy Moore : I always find it very difficult to finish a book because it’s like the end of a relationship, I’ve lived with that character for 1 or 2 years and eventually killed them off so it’s a bit like a bereavement so although I’m obviously very keen to reach the end of my manuscript, it’s a bit like an anti-climax and I feel very sad because I don’t want to lose that person.
Emma : Have you ever started writing a book then not completed it?
Wendy Moore : Nope, I’ve only written two and thankfully finished them both! I have lots of unfinished novels and short stories lying in a cupboard somewhere though!
JoL : Do you think you could do more fictionally based stories?
Wendy Moore : I think if I was going to write one it would have to be a complete departure, maybe set in a historical period but I’ve got another 18th century non-fiction book waiting for me first.
Wendy Moore : Thanks to everybody for watching the programme and for your comments and I hope you all enjoy the book!