The Secret Mother
It was a great pleasure to interview Victoria Delderfield at the launch of her debut novel, The Secret Mother, at Urmston Library in Manchester on Wednesday night – an event hosted by the lovely people from Urmston Bookshop. Vicky and I took the Creative Writing MA at Lancaster at the same time and she workshopped parts of her novel on the course. I remember being hooked by her first chapter and so it was great to read the rest of the book after such a long cliffhanger…
The Secret Mother is the story of Mai Ling, who “is chasing the Chinese dream. She’s escaping to the city, seeking a new life, running away from the old customs of arranged marriage and domestic drudgery. The Secret Mother puts a face to the label ‘Made in China’. It tells the bittersweet story of a girl – like millions of others – willing to risk everything. The Secret Mother uncovers the life of Mai Ling, a sixteen year old who follows the Chinese dream and pays the highest price.”
It’s a beautifully written story of motherhood, loss and love across cultures.Vicky evokes Manchester and Nanchang with great care and conviction, using telling details of both worlds to make the reader feel immersed in each (I particularly enjoyed the scenes set in the tattoo parlours and indie clothing shops of Affleck’s Palace!). The descriptions of motherhood and the loss of children are particularly heartfelt. We had a lively chat about her inspirations and writing rituals as well as plans for future novels and some great Q&A with the audience afterwards.