Steph is a special, but troubled young woman. Chosen by the most venerated man in Appley Green to fulfil his mission, she feels publicly admired rather than privately loved. She certainly does not trust men! In helping a once famous, elderly architect with Parkinsons regain a social life, she finds herself taking personal risks, fending off objections, blind to danger. We wait for the moment when it dawns on Steph what is driving her deep-seated obsession; for only then can she find the happiness she deserves. Appley Green is a charming English village. Everyone says so. But people are still people. With the emotional turmoil that comes with love, birth and death, a close-knit community can harbour betrayal and guilt, as well as joy and laughter.
Miriam Wakerly was born and brought up in Tetbury, Gloucestershire (of Highgrove fame) but has lived in Surrey for the past 34 years. With a degree in English, French, Sociology and Politics from Leicester University; a mixed working life that usually involved writing one way or another; and three adult children now flown the nest, she finally settled down to writing novels a couple of years before retirement.
Her most recent novel, Shades of Appley Green, is set in the same fictional Surrey-Hampshire village as her first two novels, Gypsies Stop tHere and No Gypsies Served. It is a 'modern village novel' and the first of a new series.
Gypsies Stop tHere was launched the day after she stopped working. The Gypsy idea was seeded when working in the community supporting single teenage mothers when she thought the services being offered - support and information -should be extended to the Travelling community. Then excited and fascinated by the information she uncovered through reading; talking to Gypsies and Travellers; visiting sites; attending events; exploring websites of related organisations, she knew she had found her theme for a modern novel - perhaps many novels. More detail on this process can be found in her blog, Miriam's Ramblings. Many questions arose in her mind that her novels try to answer. She felt a need to reach out to people to help foster a better understanding of their current problems and erosion of their culture, but through a page-turner!
In March 2010 No Gypsies Served was published, taking aspects of her theme further - looking at events of recent history to help explain current attitudes, for example. It looks back as well as moving forward.
Enjoyed by mainstream readers, her first two are also included on the recommended reading list for diversity police training; and some branches of the Traveller Education Service use them in their adult literacy classes.
She spoke on BBC Oxford about her publishing venture in November 2009; and has been a radio guest on BBC Surrey several times, and more recently on BBC Glos. She is a member of the Society of Authors and continues to enjoy writing and talking to people about her books.