Marlyn Samuel’s latest novel Cwcw, looks very appealing from the outset. The cover is striking and thought-provoking, and having received a copy through the post by the publishers, Gwasg y Bwthyn, I was really looking forward to reading it. On Saturday night, my husband was watching another boring programme about cars on Dave, so I poured myself a nice cold glass of prosecco, sunk into my armchair and started to read it. Three hours later, without even taking a break to sip my prosecco, I’d finished the book! I was totally gripped from the first page, and thoroughly enjoyed it!
So what’s it about? It’s the story of two half-sisters, Seren and Lowri, who meet at the funeral of their father Brian. These two young women are very different, and as the story develops, we see their relationship blossoming. There are several unnexpected twists in the story, and once you start reading it, you’ll find it hard not to keep going! Cwcw is full of humour, but it also discusses an important subject – infertility problems. This is a perfect novel for Mums as we will all be able to realte to the story in one way or another, and what’s more, it’s an easy read which is perfect after a busy day with the kids!
The author, Marlyn Samuel lives in Pentre Berw, Anglesey, and like many mums, she’s a juggler! Earlier this month I interviewed Marlyn about her novel and her life as a busy mum.
First of all Marlyn, congratulations on your latest novel – what inspired you to write Cwcw?
I’ve always been fascinated by people’s relationships, it’s at the heart of every novel and drama that I write. I had this idea about writing a story about two sisters who were very different to each other; one is a SUCCESSFUL, intelligent, middle-class woman, the other is always skint and enjoys her freedom. I developed the concept and then concentrated on how their RELATIONSHIP developed, before adding new and interesting characters into the mix.
You present this novel to your sister Rhian, are you similar to Seren and Lowri?
Not at all! We’re quite different in some ways, but we get on EXTREMELY well, and we’re both respectable mothers!!
Why did you decide to discuss infertility problems in this novel?
It’s a common problem that faces so many women and men, we all know someone who’s going through or has been through this stressful situation in the past, but there aren’t many books that discuss it. I believe it’s a problem that needs to be discussed more openly. Many of my colleagues at the BBC were pregnant when I was writing Cwcw, and I realised then that we are all eager to talk about pregnancy and our experiences during pregnancy, and I wondered what effect this has on women and men who can’t have children.
This novel, like your previous novels, ‘Llwch yn yr Haul’ and ‘Milionêrs’, are easy to read. What’s the secret?
My previous experience of writing dramas has certainly been a great help, that’s BECAUSE I’m used to focusing on the characters and the visual aspects of a story. I think this background has really helped me to write lively stories and characters which are realistic to the readers. I love developing the characters and use natural language and dialect which makes them easier to read too. My novels aren’t complicated and there isn’t a lot of thinking to do, which is perfect for mums as we don’t have a lot of free time. You can unwind, relax and switch off when you read my books, and I hope they’ll make you smile too!
When did you start writing?
I’ve always enjoyed writing. I’ve been writing radio dramas for several years and I’ve been part of Theatr Fach Llangefni since 1987 – I’m actually the Creative Director for the theatre now and I really enjoy it! I always wanted to write books, but never really knew how the whole process worked, and I wasn’t sure if my style of writing was suitable for books. It’s all down to Marred at Gwasg y Bwthyn. She encouraged me to give it a go and she’s been with me every step of the way THROUGHOUT all three novels. She’s a brilliant creative editor and a great deal of support for authors like me.
How do you juggle all your projects and career with your life as a mum?
My daughters, Miriam and Hawys, are both in their twenties, therefore my role as a mum is less demanding now! It’s easier to follow your career when the kids are older! I’m really lucky as I really enjoy all my jobs and projects, which is so important as we all spend the majority of our lives at work! The majority of my work at the BBC involves adapting novels to be BROADCAST on BBC Radio Cymru, and I write my own novels in my spare time, it works really well.
Is there a new novel on the cards?
I can’t reveal anything concrete right now, but I’m in the process of developing ideas….so watch this space!
Mam Cymru would like to thank Marlyn Samuel for her time, and if you haven’t read Cwcw purchase a copy today at your local bookshop or on Gwales! You can also order a copy from Gwasg y Bwthyn on 01286 672018, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like Mam Cymru to review your products for families and children, please contact us at email@example.com.
By Heulwen Davies, Mam Cymru.
*Images 1 & 2 Copyright: Rhys Wyn Parry.