Today I’m delighted to revisit my Five on Friday interview with Misha Herwin which was first posted in November 2019. Misha Herwin is a writer of books for adults and children. Her books cover a variety of genres from contemporary women’s fiction, to family saga, and middle grade fantasy adventure.
She also writes short stories which have been published in anthologies in the US and the UK and plays, for schools and Theatre in Education.
Misha runs workshops in schools, museums and libraries and is one of the founders of 6×6 a quarterly event in Hanley Library where writers come to strut their stuff.
In her free time she reads, attempts to keep her garden in order and bakes. Her speciality is muffins, though her scones are pretty good too.
Over to Misha:
Which five pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
Are you going to San Francisco by Scott McKenzie. Reminds me of my teenage years. Short pink linen shift, long blonde hair, warm summer night at a party with friends. The whole world out there trembling with possibility and boys.
Nights in White Satin by The Moody Blues. Student days in a mouse invested bed-sit. A pear tree in the garden where the blackbird sang.
Wake me up before you go, go by Wham. My kids’ teenage years, living in the country.
Lyla by Eric Clapton. Life changes, new marriage, new husband.
Can’t stop me now by Rod Stewart. Says everything about where I am right now.
What five things (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.
Writing. I’ve always written stories and don’t think I could ever stop.
Books. They are an escape, a refuge, a stimulus. I can’t go to sleep without reading however late it is.
A garden−nourishes the soul and keeps me fit.
A shower. Some of my best ideas come when standing under a jet of hot water. It’s as if all the dross is washed away leaving my brain clear
Sunlight in all its infinite variety, dappling through trees, sharp and clear on a winter morning, mellow and warm on a summer afternoon.
Give five pieces of advice to your younger self?
Worrying is a waste of time. As my sister always says what you worry about never happens it’s always something else that hits you when you’re not looking.
Don’t worry about what you look like. It’s not worth it.
Write every day. It’s like a pianist doing their scales
Laugh more. There’s humour however black in most situations.
Don’t try to please everyone. You can’t.
Tell us five things that most people don’t know about you
English is not my first language.
When I was fifteen I went to stay in a chateau on the Loire with the family of a French count.
I had a story published in the same anthology as Helen Dunmore.
I love unclogging drains.
It took me twenty years before I found a recipe for perfect scones. Thank you Mary Berry.
Tell us five things you’d still like to do or achieve.
To ride a motorbike
Learn to whistle
Go up in hot air balloon
Spend a weekend in Barcelona- everyone in the family has been except me.
Have someone throw a party for me, my family and friends. I’ll enjoy it without any of the work.
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Freecycling for Beginners
The time has come for Jane to sell the family home. Downsizing to a flat means everything must go, but her late husband’s favourite chair is far too precious for the tip. Meanwhile Robyn, balancing her precarious career as a portrait artist with raising an autistic son, is searching for a chair with panache that will allow her sitters to pose in comfort. Elsewhere in the city, Tracey is clearing out her wardrobe at the same moment that divorced and cash-strapped Debbie is frantically seeking a prom dress for her daughter. None of these women have ever met until Freecycle brings them together — and their lives are about to be changed in ways they could never have imagined.
Shadows in the Grass
Every family has its secrets. In the nineteen-sixties Bristol, seventeen-year-old Kate is torn between the new sexual freedom and her rigid Catholic upbringing. Her parents have high expectations of her. She, however, is determined to lead her own life.
Mimi, her grandmother, is dying. In her final hours, Mimi’s cousin, the Princess, keeps watch at her bedside. Born in the same month, in the same year, the two women are bound by their past and a terrible betrayal.
Meanwhile, caught between the generations, Mimi’s daughter Hannah struggles to come to come to terms with her relationship with her mother, and struggles to keep the peace between her daughter and her husband. She too must find her own way in a land foreign to her, in a new post-war world, where the old certainties have gone and everything she knows has been swept away.
Picking Up the Pieces
Liz, Bernie and Elsa have been friends since their days at St. Cecelia’s school. Their lives took very different paths but they all have found happiness in their own fashion. Liz is an independent career woman; Bernie a good Catholic mum with four sons and Elsa is supported by her wealthy ex-husband. Then, in the space of a few short weeks, everything they have taken for granted is swept away. Money, jobs and partners are all gone. How will they manage when their worlds are crumbling about their ears? Together Liz, Bernie and Elsa have to find novel ways of avoiding disaster.
Picking up the Pieces is about friendship, cake and the mutual support that only lifelong friends can provide.
House of Shadows
Jo Docherty stood and looked at the wedding ring on the black granite worktop. It would be so easy to leave it there and go. Desperate to have a child of her own, haunted by a girl in a blue dress, her only hope of saving her marriage is to go back to the place where it all began.
Brooding over the estate at Weston Ridge, the house at Kingsfield hides a violent history. Built by a slave owner for his beloved wife, it is a place of lost children, where time fractures and two lonely girls from different centuries cut their fingers and swear to be best friends for ever.
When Jo returns as an adult, long buried memories of her childhood begin to surface. As she slips in and out of time, she realises that she has to face the consequences of her actions, and a friendship forged in blood two hundred years ago will force her to make to a heart-breaking choice…
Letty Parker series (ages 8-12)
City of Secrets #1
Letty Parker lives by her wits. Estranged from her family, she sells pies on the streets of Bristol. But this is a Bristol full of dark secrets, peopled by gangs, monsters, dragons and gargoyles – and by creatures older than time. When her friend and stepsister disappear, when members of Jeb’s gang vanish, Letty is plunged headlong into a conspiracy where homeless children are being spirited away to a place where a terrible fate awaits them. These are the poor and the lost children of the streets whom no one seems to care about – except for Letty. But what if a rich child went missing? Would the authorities then act? Together, Letty and Jeb hatch a plan…
Bridge of Lies #2
Letty Parker & Associates Detective Agency is finally in business. But before they can take on their first case, Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s famous suspension bridge is blown up. Letty decides to investigate but getting hired is not as easy as she thought, especially when the Dark Ones have their own plans for her. Then there is Ma Pountney and her witches, plus the Bear and his gang of villains. Each determined to stand in Letty’s way. Nothing goes right from the very start and one by one Letty’s friends desert her. Even in a city, crowded with folk arriving for the Balloon Festival, Letty finds herself alone – and in the greatest of danger.
Island of Fear #3
When Letty Parker is asked by her best friend, Hepzibah, to solve a family mystery she willingly agrees. She has no idea that investigations will lead the Letty Parker & Associates Detective Agency team across the high seas to the exotic isles of the Caribbean.
Letty, Jeb and Mango, are soon fighting for their very lives in a world where pirates rule the seas, evil plantation managers hold the land, and the forests are filled with duppies and dark magic.
The Hanging Tree #4
The power of the Dark Ones is growing once more. Watching from their rooftop perches, the gargoyles and dragons have all the gossip they could ever want. Deadly night eels slither through the city streets. The thief taker is on the prowl. And Jebediah Hill is arrested for a crime he did not commit. Letty discovers that Jeb, her oldest friend, has been keeping secrets, yet refuses to reveal them even though he knows he will pay a terrible price. Letty Parker and Associates set out on a race to save Jeb from The Hanging Tree.
And time is running out…
A Gathering of Gargoyles #5
The city’s air has turned foul; fights break out among the closest of friends; rats attack in broad daylight; and the very bricks and stones of the city are crumbling to dust. When the gargoyles and dragons – guardians of the rooftops – begin tumbling to the ground and shattering into pieces, the Night Creatures turn to Letty Parker and Associates to discover its cause. The only problem is that neither Letty, nor her friends, have the slightest idea where to start.
Is a cure to be found in magic or will science save the day? And do Newton and Copernica Clifford, newly arrived in Belvedere Terrace, hold the key to it all?
Poppy and Amelia series (ages 8-12)
The Awesome Adventures of Poppy and Amelia #1
Poppy and Amelia didn’t set out to be witches. That happened quite by accident, and it’s a secret they must keep from their family and friends. Then there is Mia, the new girl in class. Pale, strange and deadly serious, she’s in need of a couple of equally weird friends. Poppy and Amelia are happy to oblige. Together, the three of them must thwart the plans of the sinister Miss Mortimer and her evil companions.
The Further Adventures of Poppy and Amelia #2
Poppy and Amelia were looking forward to the new term until the mysterious Bayonica Duvane joins class 7C. Then strange events start happening to their classmates and Poppy and Amelia are blamed even though the apprentice witches know exactly who is behind it all. Who is Bayonica Duvane? Why is she so determined to cause trouble for Poppy and Amelia and their vampire friend Mia? And most importantly of all – how can they stop her?
Yet More Adventures of poppy and Amelia
Poppy and Amelia have six whole weeks of the summer holidays to spend with their friends. Or that is the plan. But nothing works out as expected. Even before the bell rings on the last day of term things start to go wrong.
Why isn’t their magic working? Why isn’t Will talking to Poppy? Is someone, or something blocking their spells?
For answers the two apprentice witches have to face hungry vampires, battle an evil witch and uncover the darkest of family secrets.
A fantasy adventure
Polly watched the flames licking the edge of the curtains. She was trapped. Her stomach flipped and her legs went weak, then Courtleigh’s hand was on her elbow.
“This way,” he said pushing open the landing window.
“It’s too high to jump,” she cried.
But jump they must, out of the window of their foster home and into the strange world of The Edges, where who knows what dangers await…
Juggler of Shapes #2
When Polly and Courtleigh saved Sprog from the evil Lady Serena they thought that their troubles were over. Now, however, a mysterious stranger is watching St. Savlons the Care Home For Truly Disruptive Children, where they live.
Who is he and why is there? Are the questions they must answer. What they don’t know is that, because he can juggle time, he will bring them into terrible danger.
Juggler of Shapes is a fast moving adventure that takes Polly and Courtleigh back into the mysterious Edges and beyond them into the Kingdom of Dragons.
Master of Trades #3
Fast moving dramatic final book. The pavements are cracking, the earth is shaking and the Night People are coming to the surface. Deep beneath the ground an ancient power is stirring, bringing with it terrible danger to St. Savlons. Face by their deadliest enemy Polly and Courtleigh must save themselves and their friends before it is too late…