6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

Half Bad author Sally Green recalls her younger days in Lytham

PUBLISHED: 17:48 09 May 2014 | UPDATED: 23:56 23 October 2015

Writer Sally Green 
Photo by Mark Allan

Writer Sally Green Photo by Mark Allan

Archant

Lytham’s Sally Green has conjured up a novel that has bewitched the publishing world. She spoke to Roger Borrell

Sally Green could be forgiven for seeming a little breathless. In just over a year, she has cast a spell over the publishing world with a book about witchcraft that has drawn comparisons with JK Rowling.

Her debut novel, Half Bad, placed her at the eye of a PR storm after Penguin snapped it up followed by a stampede of more than 30 publishers worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Fox 2000 and there has been speculation that her three book deal could be worth as much as £1million.

The Lancashire lass has come a long way from pulling pints at the County Hotel in Lytham. ‘One of my first jobs was collecting the glasses there because I was under 18,’ she recalls.

‘Then I was a waitress before going behind the bar. I can still remember that a pint of Boddington’s cost 44p. Goodness knows what it is now. I also served sandwiches across the road in the Lytham Kitchen.’

Sally, now in her early 50s, was born and grew up in Lytham and her mum, Maureen Johnstone, still lives there. She attended Queen Mary’s School before studying a geology degree in London. Sally returned home broke and got a job as a trainee accountant in Chorley, eventually settling down near Warrington with her husband, a local businessman.

She said: ‘My son is 11 and I had been a full-time mum. I was starting to think I should be out there looking for work again. I hadn’t expected to have another full-time job but I’ve certainly got one now!’

Sally’s passion for writing came out of the blue three years ago. ‘When I started writing Half Bad I never thought it would be published. It was a private thing – I was writing for myself.’

She sent Half Bad on spec to a top London literary agent, who looks after writers like Ian McEwan and Nick Hornby. It ended up on a pile of 200 unsolicited manuscripts before being picked up by one of the team. The rest is history.

‘The reaction has all been a bit of a shock to be honest. I wasn’t expecting it. The promotional and PR side has, if anything, been harder than writing the book. It’s great, but life has become unbelievably busy.’

Finding the time to produce the second book in the trilogy, Half Wild, has required focus to balance writing with PR and family life. ‘I have to be organised,’ she said. ‘I just write all the time, mainly late at night. It’s quiet then, no TV and no telephone and I just get stuck in. I’m not a morning person.’

The hype means there’s pressure on her to deliver and the comparison with the Harry Potter author has its good and its bad sides. ‘It’s very flattering but it does create considerable pressure. If I was anywhere near as successful it would be great, but we have very different styles.’

One person who hasn’t read Half Bad is her son. ‘He’s too young and he understands that. I’ve been surprised that it has been read by some his age because it was written in an adult style and it does contain some edgy violence, although it’s never glorified.’

Her mum Maureen has read it at least a couple of times. ‘My mum is over the moon. She has been my biggest publicist in Lytham and told everyone at bridge.’

Will the money change her? ‘It’s a good deal and it means that financially, I can carry on writing. But I’m certainly not in the market for a bigger house. If anything, downsizing would make life easier. All this has made me appreciate the pleasures of staying in a really lovely hotel.’

Half Bad mentions London and Liverpool but Sally pictures places around her Grappenhall home in Cheshire when she is writing.

She still visits Lytham regularly to see her mother and recently went to the County for the first time in a decade. So could the landmark Lytham inn feature in one of the sequels to Half Bad? ‘You know,’ she said ‘that’s not a bad idea…’

Half Bad, the story of a boy struggling to survive in a society of secret witches, is published in paperback by Penguin, priced £7.99.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Lancashire Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Lancashire Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Lancashire Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Miranda Markham’s modelling career may have started in the aisle of a supermarket but her fabulous looks have taken her from Rawtenstall to catwalks of Milan

Read more
Tuesday, May 8, 2018

A remarkable young woman has traded places as a teacher to set up as a farmer. And the small matter of not having a farm certainly hasn’t stopped her.

Read more
Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A chance encounter at a hockey tournament means a Preston student will be crossing the Atlantic to join one of the world’s most prestigious universities - and she’s the only one from the north. Martin Pilkington reports

Read more
Friday, April 20, 2018

This is no longer a sleepy coastal community full of retired folk but a town set to entertain Lancashire.

Read more
Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Inspiring Women Awards lunch will be packed with awesome females. But who will be the winners?

Read more
Thursday, March 15, 2018

Blackpool-born cricketer Steven Croft speaks of his pride at being awarded a testimonial year

Read more
Thursday, March 8, 2018

With International Women’s Day this month, Helen Pankhurst considers the progress made in the fight for equality in the century since women were granted the vote. Paul Mackenzie reports

Read more
Monday, March 5, 2018

Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff is somewhere he never dreamed he’d be – treading the boards in a major musical production and he’s loving it. He spoke to Kate Houghton.

Read more
Friday, March 2, 2018

An inspirational mum from St Annes has raised tens of thousands of pounds since the sudden death of her young son, as Paul Mackenzie reports.

Read more
Friday, March 2, 2018

Rural communities throughout the UK could be eligible to receive funding via the Calor Rural Community Fund from energy provider Calor

Read more
Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Commonwealth Games hopeful Sarah Davies is a top weightlifter but there’s a softer side to this Lancashire lass. Roger Borrell reports

Read more
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search