Monday, March 18, 2013

Five Questions With: Wendy Unsworth, author of The Palaver Tree (to-read list)

Hello Readers, 

Here is an interview with Wendy Unsworth. Her book, The Palaver Tree, is on my to-read list. This is the first book in the Berriwood Series. It revolves around a young teacher, Ellie Hathaway, who is volunteering at a school in Africa. 

From the Synopsis: 

Lives and fortunes change in the blink of an eye.
Now that she is alone, volunteering at a school in the Central African Republic of Ducana seems like everything schoolteacher Ellie Hathaway needs. Here is the opportunity to get away from the sleepy Cornish village where recent tragedy still haunts her and to help the children's charity her friend has worked so tirelessly to promote.
But dark forces and ambitions are in play long before Ellie's arrival in the dusty town of Limba. Even as she begins to believe she can at last find true happiness, she realises that something at the school is very wrong. 
Is this really the place of loving and giving she had first thought it to be, and is headmaster, Gabriel Cole, really their guardian angel?
With so many questions left unanswered Ellie struggles to decide what she must do, but then political chaos descends and suddenly Ellie finds herself more alone than she had ever imagined she could be....

Enjoy the interview below!

1. Tell me about yourself and how you first got interested in writing?

Hello! My name is Wendy Unsworth and thank you for inviting me here. I was born in Lincolnshire, England which is a beautiful part of the world but I am a born traveller and so it is a long time since I lived in the place of my birth!
Writing has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and I firmly believe writing chose me, rather than the other way around

2. What inspired you to write The Palaver Tree?
 One of my main interests in fiction is taking very ordinary characters and plunging them into an extraordinary situation. I am fascinated about how they will react and cope, what strengths they will find and how often they will even surprise themselves. 
I lived in Central Africa for thirteen years. It was a hectic period of my life but a time that left a huge and lasting impression on me, so much so that, after leaving, I knew my first full length novel should incorporate some of my experiences there.

3. What's next on your plate?

Busy! Busy! At the moment I am writing the second book in my Berriwood series. The stories in the series are quite separate but feature the lives and fortunes of different members of the same English village. The second book is called 'Beneathwood' It is a story of loss, family secrets and superstition. 
I am also getting ready to publish the first book in my children's Come-alive Cottage series.The stories feature a plucky young girl, her Aunt Kitty who also happens to be a witch, and a lot of gone-wrongs spells! These are written for seven - nine year olds and are illustrated chapter books. 

4. Is there any particular writer or book that inspired you, either while growing up or as an adult?

Yes, books inspire me in many different ways. 
Books such as the 'Just William' series by Richmal Crompton and Jennings and Derbyshire by Anthony Buckeridge were such fun and inspired a young me to keep on reading. 
Authors such as Karen Maitland, Barbara Kingsolver, Stephen King and John Wyndham inspire me to keep on striving for something different.

5. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

I was an aspiring author for sooo long! My advice would be, stay true to your characters, get the narrative as right as you possibly can and then don't delay, publishing a book is an amazing experience!


  1. Thank you so much for the opportunity to be interviewed on your site! I will be following your lovely blog - reading your reviews and, of course, drinking plenty of good tea!!

  2. You are very welcome Wendy :) Thanks for following!