3 ISSUES FOR JUST £3 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

Tue, 14:50

Home Reach has helped many people realise their dreams and own the home they want and need.

Read more
Thursday, August 2, 2018

A Lancashire couple sold up their home and their business so their sons could become farmers

Read more
Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A letter discovered hidden in the rafters of Elizabeth Gaskell’s home sheds light on the life of her staff.

Read more
Tuesday, July 10, 2018

FIFA’s second president organised one of the first international football competitions.

Read more
Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Actor Cath Tyldesley surprised fans by quitting Coronation Street but she has a bucket list of plans that will keep her extremely busy. She shared them with Lancashire Life readers.

Read more
Thursday, June 14, 2018

Two sisters who worked for the secret service during World War II recall their remarkable father whose memoir of life in a Japanese prisoner of war has come a best seller. Peter Adams met them.

Read more
Thursday, June 7, 2018

An inspiring young woman who suffered in silence for years because of a debilitating stammer has made a remarkable transformation.

Read more
Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Ribble Valley’s Bill Carter is following the family tradition of being a blacksmith using ancient skills to make unique pieces.

Read more
Monday, May 28, 2018

A former police officer from Chorley fought back from serious injury to take a gold medal at the Commonwealth

Read more
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Property Search