Writing is labour of love for Warton novelist

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Historical fiction author and tai chi instructor Deborah Swift gets a kick out of writing.

The Warton novelist has just published third book, A Divided Inheritance, and has the next two under her belt.

And Deborah just wants to keep the books coming because of the immense pleasure writing gives her.

She said: “What I’d really like is just for enough people to read my books so that I can carry on writing them because for me the pleasure is in writing them.

“To know that you’re being read is really nice.

“It’s such a privilege that people will take the time to read something that’s come out of your head. ”

Born in London but brought up in Yorkshire, Deborah began her working life as a set and costume designer.

She said: “I worked for the BBC. I worked on Dr Who when Peter Davison was the Doctor and on Grange Hill.

“I also did a lot of theatre including in Lancaster at the Dukes.

“A few years ago I still did the odd thing here and there but I’ve stopped doing it now because the writing’s taken over.”

Deborah had always enjoyed writing but it was only when her daughter, India, grew up and left home that she decided to pursue her interest.

“I’d always done little bits of writing but never really had the time to develop anything because I was always taking my daughter places and teaching tai chi full time as well,” she said

“But when she left home I suddenly had more time on my hands and I thought I could develop writing a bit more so I went and did an MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University.

“I did it full-time over a year and stopped everything else I was doing.

“Originally I was going to write a book of poems but I ended up writing a little bit of chapter one of my first book, The Lady’s Slipper.

“People liked it and they said write a bit more so I’d write a bit more and a bit more and by the end of the year I’d got three quarters of a book.”

With the MA after her name, Deborah had to return to her tai chi work but she finished the book – partly set in Lancaster Castle – in her spare time.

“I thought I might as well try and finish it and I was lucky enough to get an agent more or less straightaway,” she said.

The Gilded Lily followed and A Divided Inheritance went on to incorporate her interest in tai chi.

“The book has quite a lot of sword play in it which is a side of tai chi that people don’t see very much,” she said.

Deborah took up tai chi as a hobby about 20 years ago and has been teaching for 15 of them. Her passion for the martial art led to her meeting her husband, fellow tai chi instructor John Bolwell.

And tai chi also turned out to be the perfect antidote to writing.

“You get to meet people and you get rid of that writer’s hump from sitting over a laptop,” she said.

Deborah teaches tai chi afternoons and evenings but dedicates most mornings to her writing.

She has already written her next book, Past Encounters, which is set to receive a lot of local interest as it’s located at Carnforth Railway Station during the filming of iconic film, Brief Encounter.

“Living here there’s so much history around so I try to use as much as I can of local interest,” she said.

Deborah is now in the throes of finishing her fifth novel set in the English Civil War and she’s confident that she can keep plotting.

“Plot ideas come from real history and yes I’ve got some ideas for future books,” she said.

It sounds like Deborah’s writing career will be alive and kicking for many years to come.

lDeborah will be signing copies of A Divided Inheritance at Carnforth Library on Tuesday November 26, 2-4pm; Lancaster Cornmarket Waterstones on Saturday December 7, from 2pm and at Kirkby Lonsdale Library on Wednesday December 11, 10.30am.