Born the thirteenth child of fifteen to a middle-class mother and an East End market gardener father, we were poor but rich in love. This mixture encouraged me to develop a natural empathy with the less fortunate and a fascination with social history.
I was educated at St Peter's RC School, where, at the time, the emphasis was on instilling the 3 R's plus 1 - Reading, Writing, Arithmatic and Religion. When I left school, I was ill-equipt for a future career, as most girls of my background were. Life had to become a learning curve.
Mine took the path of factory work, then office work as I learnt to type and write words in little squiggles. After marriage, cleaning, catering and pub jobs fitted in best with family life, as did party planning - Tupperware and Pippa Dee. There was later a stint in the caring industry, and then pub and hotel management. Until finally, I went back to my office skills and through an agency, worked in the office of the Probation Service. When a post for admin became vacant I was offered it, and from there rose to be a Community Service Officer and finally a Probation Service Officer. This took me to retirement, from 9-5. However, there was no stopping me. Through most of this time I had been writing and trying to get publsihed, now I could spend much more time pursuing that dream.
I met my husband, Roy when I was just fourteen and he was nineteen. In 1963 we married and have four children, eight grandchildren, and five step grandchildren. Our total of great grandchildren, and step great grandchildren, is an ever changing number as we welcome more each year. Each one is a blessing and enhances our lives.
An avid reader, I first put pen to paper in 1989 whilst nursing my mother through her last months, but only became successful in receiving rejection letters, until the dawning of kindle and the innovation it offered to authors to self-publish their work.
At last, I could call myself an author! And a very successful one at that, as my books soared to the top of their genre.
This changed my life. I was living as an ordinary pensioner, eeking out our pensions, and the little I could earn by freelancing as a Creative Writing Editor, and wasn't even able to afford to run a car - I loved my bus-pass.... Then another author encouraged me to put my work on kindle, and suddenly, I was doing what I loved - telling stories, and earning money for doing so! My life changed as now I could fulfil another dream - to live in Spain for half of the year.
I love to travel. I go to many places in the world on holiday and more importantly, to carry out my research. All of this was now open to me. But more was to come:
In 2013, I was spotted by Pan Macmillan Publishers and offered a seven book deal!!!
Since then I have signed three contracts and have many books published by Pan as you can see from my home page.
I began my career writing northern sagas along the lines of Catherine Cookson, whom I loved and admired. Now I have branched out and write thrilling novels with a wartime setting. I usually set these novels in London, the north, and with a fair bit of the action happening in France, and Poland.
But, it is back to the Northern grit as now I am also writing for Sphere too. These novels are all set in Blackpool under my pseudonym, Maggie Mason. Again, you can see these on my home page. Alongside my self-published novel under my second pseudonym, Molly Kent. Which was a toe-dipping exercise into the world of crime thriller. A book I loved writing and wished I had time to write more of.
I would say that I am a gritty writer, who takes her readers to live the situations my characters find themselves in. Parts of my books are not for the feint-hearted. I bring my stories alive, and take my reader into the depth of them. I would feel as though I am letting my characters and my readers down if I didn't do this, so be prepared to feel many emotions as you read my novels. Be prepared too, to tackle issues head on, to fight in world war one and world war two as if you are that nurse, that munition worker, that special agent. And in my northern sagas, be ready to experience what it was like to be a woman, in an era when it is was thought that there was no such thing as rape, and domestic violence was a man's right to keep his missus in check. But you will also see the downtrodden triumph, and the just win through. I hope you enjoy my books. I hope too, that you will become a friend. Much love, Mary x
I can be contacted through this website on the contact page, and through me Facebook page - Books by Mary Wood and Maggie Mason and/or on twitter @Authormary I love to speak at gatherings - WI etc and of course libraries.