About Author

Marcia Clayton

Marcia Clayton
BIOGRAPHY

Hi, I was born in North Devon, a rural and picturesque area in the far South West of England. I am a farmer's daughter, and my family has lived in this region for generations. I have always enjoyed the peaceful way of life to be found here, and would never wish to live anywhere else.

When I left school I worked in a bank for several years until I married my husband, Bryan, and then stayed at home for a few years to care for my three sons. As they grew older, I returned to work, first as a Marie Curie nurse caring for the terminally ill, and then for the local authority managing school transport. I remained in this job until retirement in 2016.

I like gardening, and we grow most of our own vegetables. I'm interested in researching family history, and this hobby inspired some of the characters in my books. I love reading and also walking in the beautiful Devon countryside.

I have written three books in the "Hartford Manor Series" which is set in North Devon in Victorian times. I wrote my first book "The Mazzard Tree", in spare moments over several years as I was also working full time and raising my family. The second book is called "The Angel Maker", and the third book, "The Rabbit's Foot". I'm currently working on my fourth book which will be set in 1820 and is a prequel to the first three books. I hope to publish it later in the year.

Marcia Clayton's Books

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Book
$3.37 kindle Free with KUeBook,
The Mazzard Tree: A heartwarming saga of hardship and romance set in a rural Devon village. (Hartford Manor Book 1)by Marcia ClaytonPublish: Dec 21, 2020Series: The Hartford Manor SeriesHistorical Romance Historical Fiction
$3.37 kindle Free with KUeBook,
The Angel Maker: A heartwarming rags to riches Victorian family saga (Hartford Manor Book 2)by Marcia ClaytonPublish: Dec 12, 2020Series: The Hartford Manor SeriesHistorical Romance Historical Fiction Women's Fiction
$3.31 kindleeBook,
The Rabbit's Foot: The Compelling Tale of an Old Man's Search for his Missing Son (Hartford Manor Book 3)by Marcia ClaytonPublish: Nov 18, 2021Series: The Hartford Manor SeriesHistorical Romance Historical Fiction Women's Fiction

Marcia Clayton's Series in Order

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  • The Hartford Manor Series

    1 The Angel Maker: A heartwarming rags to riches Victorian family saga (Hartford Manor Book 2) - Published on Dec, 20202 The Mazzard Tree: A heartwarming saga of hardship and romance set in a rural Devon village. (Hartford Manor Book 1) - Published on Dec, 20203 The Rabbit's Foot: The Compelling Tale of an Old Man's Search for his Missing Son (Hartford Manor Book 3) - Published on Nov, 2021

Marcia Clayton interview On 23, May 2022

"Born in North Devon, Marcia Clayton started writing her first book, The Mazzard Tree, when she was working full time. She has always enjoyed reading and writing. She is keen on researching her family history and has got back as far as the 1750s. She loves gardening, walking, floral art, and family history."
How much of your childhood have you spent in North Devon?

I spent all of my childhood in North Devon. In fact, nearly twelve years ago my husband and I moved back to the village where I was born and it’s great because many of my schoolfriends also still live here. North Devon is in the rural South West of England and we are fortunate to have both a stunning coastline and the extensive moorlands of Exmoor and Dartmoor to explore.

While growing up did you, in any way, have any embarrassing moments?

Well, I’m sure there were many but one that springs to mind is a photograph of me on the beach when I was about two years old. I am trying to put on a pair of what I think must have been my elder sister’s pants because they are far too large for me. Unfortunately, I have both legs in one hole and I am looking extremely frustrated because I can’t pull them up. It may not have caused me embarrassment at the time but it certainly has since whenever the photograph has come to light.

What developed your interest in gardening?

My dad was a farmer so I grew up learning about growing things. In later years when my mum came to live with us, she was a keen gardener and taught me a lot. Gardening always makes me feel better and is very therapeutic.

What made you decide to settle into a career as an author?

I started writing my first book, The Mazzard Tree, when I was working full time but with three sons and later two grandchildren, I had little time to put to it. Consequently, it took years to finish. It is only since I retired in 2016 that my writing career has developed and with it a further two books in the series. I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing and now I find it is at the very least a great hobby, though I am trying to market my books and am learning all the time.

How did you come up with the plot of your book, The Mazzard Tree?

I’m keen on researching my family history and have got back as far as the 1750s with my maiden name, married name, and also mother’s maiden name. In looking at census returns, parish records, and gravestones etc I noticed interesting stories surrounding the ancestors I came across. I developed some of these stories with my own interpretation and used them in my book. However, as my first book, The Mazzard Tree was not as well planned as my subsequent books, and to some extent it developed as I went along.

Whom did you base your character Betsey Carter upon? Is she inspired from someone in real life?

Betsey was a real person with a different surname who lived in the 1850s. She was a distant ancestor of mine and her story intrigued me. She was married with several children and lived to a ripe old age. Her daughter-in-law sadly ended up in a lunatic asylum, and Betsey took in her three grandchildren and raised them with her own family to allow her son to continue working. It seemed to me that Betsey was the family member who held everything together as there was always someone extra living with her in each census. Sadly, after she passed away, one of her grandchildren ended up in the workhouse where he died. I’m so glad she didn’t know.

What challenges did you face while writing your book, The Angel Maker?

I faced some extremely difficult challenges when writing The Angel Maker. I was half way through composing the book when my second son was taken seriously ill. He had only been married for a month and was really happy having bought a house and got a new job that he loved. Sadly, he was diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer and died a year later. I was unable to write for nearly three years after we lost him as I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I only picked up The Angel Maker to continue writing during the Covid pandemic lockdown of 2020. I know he would have been pleased as he was very supportive of my writing.

If there was anything you could say to your younger self, what would you say?

Not to worry about the trivial things that you cannot change and really do not matter. Of course, that is easier said than done.

Which book took the longest to write in the "Hartford Manor" series?

The Mazzard Tree without a doubt. It was my first book and my planning left a lot to be desired and also I was working full-time with a family to care for.

What do you love the most about walking in the beautiful Devon countryside?

The scenery is breath-taking and we are spoilt with pretty coastal villages, rural moorland and steep cliffs. I love seeing all the wild flowers and hearing the birds singing and the exercise is good for me. It’s a good way to unwind.

When are you most inspired to write? What are some things you do to motivate yourself when you're stuck in a rut?

I like to write early in the morning when my brain is fresh. I always find it difficult to write the first page of a book and to get around this problem I write down anything just to get the story started until the words begin to flow. I know it can always be edited later. If I get really stuck I read a couple of books and then go back to my writing refreshed. I find that usually works

What should every aspiring writer know about writing?

It’s essential to make sure your book is as good as it can be before you publish it independently or try to find an agent. Grammar, spelling mistakes, and poor presentation can all put readers off so a lot of editing is needed. Authors can seldom spot all their own mistakes so it’s best to get a few people to read your book and tell you if they find any errors, or employ an editor. I’ve come to the conclusion that writing the book is the easy part (it isn’t!) and it’s the marketing and publicity that take the time. However, without it the book will not sell.

How many plot ideas are just waiting to be written? Can you tell us about one?

I mentioned Betsey Carter in a reply to an earlier question and I am currently writing my fourth book in The Hartford Manor family saga. The first three books are set in the 1880s when Betsey is a granny. However, I feel that Betsey’s own story deserves to be told, and so in my prequel, Betsey is a little six-year-old child going through some tough times in 1820. At the moment the book is just called “Betsey” though this may change when it is finished.

What do you think of AllAuthor? Has this website been helpful to you?

I’m very pleased with AllAuthor and have found the website helpful. I know I should be making more use of the facilities available but it is just a matter of finding the time. I’m writing my fourth book and spend a lot of time marketing the first three. I seem to be busier now than when I worked full time. I particularly like the Review Gif Maker, the ability to schedule tweets, and the banners that are provided as well as being able to make my own. Again, this is a skill I need to develop. I’m not sure if I have not understood correctly but for the scheduled tweets it seems like they all have to have the Review GIF enabled or not. It is not possible to turn it on for some and not for others which I think would be better. If there is a way to do this I would like to know. Also, whilst I am pleased with the banners that are provided for each book, it would be nice if some were produced showing all three of my books.

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      • Marcia Clayton Marcia Clayton 3 months ago
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      • When my children were all at school and I had a little more time to myself I began to research my family tree, something I had always wanted to do. My maternal granny absconded, leaving her husband with four children when my mother was just eighteen months old and my mum never met her mother. As a child, this story intrigued me and I couldn’t wait to investigate. In carrying out research into my family tree I was drawn into the lives of other ancestors, and from census returns, parish registers, tombstones etc I was able to piece together what had happened to them. I've always been interested in the Victorian period and I felt some of the stories I had come across would make a good book. I have now written three historical fiction novels in a family saga called "Hartford Manor". It's a complete work of fiction but my family history research gave me some of the ideas. I started writing in the 1990s but was working full time with a family to care for so had little time to put to it. I published my first novel, The Mazzard Tree, in 2014 as an ebook but did nothing to promote it. It wasn't until after I retired in 2016 that I was able to pursue my writing career.
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