Featured Interview With Author Shirley Goodrum
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I spent my childhood in South Africa, England, Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia) and Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia), before returning to South Africa as a young bride and where I still live. My early exposure to new continents, countries, towns and homes ingrained in me a love of travel and change and I'm always ready to pack and go, even if it's just around the corner and, at last count, had moved house – always my spouse, kids and animals in tow – 22 times in 50 years. My now home is three generational. It accommodates seven people, three dogs, three cats, two rats that I will not go near, the odd injured bird and whatever stray people and animals come our way.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I cannot remember a time I was without a book and I've been a story teller since I could talk. I was four when I left South Africa for England. My sister and I were the sailor’s daughters and the crew took to looking after us. When my parents enjoyed kid-free time until they couldn't find me in the nursery. Panic. Child overboard. The ship was turned around. I was found, holding court with my stories, in their quarters.
I learnt to write in England and became the family scribe writing of our adventures; sailing seas, adding a baby brother to our clan, boarding steam trains, heading north in Africa. ‘New kid on the block’ was a common theme in my school essays and I collected prizes for them.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
Honestly, I don't have a favourite author or genre to read. I read anything, everywhere, be it a renown classic or and advert on the back of a cereal box. My love affair with reading started with the school's Janet and John series and is fueled by recommendations of family, friends, book clubs, reviews, covers. I'm not fussy what I pick up, if it grabs me I'll read it, if it doesn't I'll go onto the next book.
My books are character driven and all people inspire my writing. People I love, people I don't, good people, bad people, those I've met, those I haven't. Everyone is unique and has a story, a tale worth the telling.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
When my parents died in 2000, I found a plastic packet labelled “Shirley’s Writing” in their deed box. Inside it was a newspaper cutting of me winning a prize in a bra competition, and all the essays, stories, poems, and articles I'd written as a girl. Mom had saved them all. The very next day I saw an advert for a creative writing course. I chuckled at Mom’s unsubtle nudge from the grave, signed up and promised her I’d write a book about that yellowed cutting. I took sample chapters to London and after three exciting 'please send us the manuscript' and the following disappointing lack of offers, I took the proverbial book by the spine and published Baggage in a B Cup on Amazon in January 2019. It's a story of ordinary people facing extraordinary challenges, their good, their bad, their loves and belief, sprinkled with humour and dedicated to Mom and my family.
Pam Richards takes centre stage in the book. Small-busted, she wears unnecessary bras, size 32B and is smug in a strong twenty-year-old marriage. As the mother of three teenagers, one of them chronically ill, and a part owner of a fledgling company, she's practiced at getting back on her feet when life whacks her behind the knees, but she’s devastated when depression hijacks her husband, Alex, and their seventeen-year-old daughter runs away with a convicted LSD dealer. Her jelly legs are too weak to support her and, as Alex withdraws into himself, cracks appear in the foundation of their loving marriage. Fear and loneliness tear at her sanity and topple her into a romance. She's relieved when the runaway daughter returns, albeit pregnant, and thrilled to win a trip to Rio in a bra competition, but Alex can hardly get on his shrink's couch let alone board a plane. Pam loves her husband but hates his depression. Her romance heats up; it's a date away from a full-blown affaire. Will Alex get better, will they go to Rio, or will Pam slip between the illicit sheets?
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