SAGA SATURDAY! Please welcome saga author, Mollie Walton...

Character Building

I know how to make bricks. No, really, I do! I can make a house brick by hand. I also write novels.

So, how did I end up with two such diverse activities? Firstly, the novels. I’ve been a published author of historical fiction since 2014. My favourite part of research is immersive: I try to experience some of the things through which my characters have lived. When I was writing The 

Wild Air about an Edwardian pilot, I went flying in a light aircraft and only then did I truly know what my characters felt when they flew.

When I started researching The Secrets of Ironbridge, I wanted to write about Victorian brickworkers. Children carried huge lumps of clay to the moulding tables, where moulders stood and formed bricks to be carried away to the kilns. I visited an artisan brickmaker who is an expert in the field and lives near Ironbridge. Tony Mugridge was not only a mine of information, he also invited me into his workshop, where he taught me how to make bricks. I threw the lump of clay into the mould, whacked it with a brick bat and sliced off the excess. I had my very first brick! I was proud of it. I’d felt the cold, damp clay in my hands. I’d felt the weight of it and the strain on my arms as I threw it hard into the mould, then the strength needed to beat it down with the bat. Then he told me that moulders in the nineteenth century made a thousand of these a day…Only then did I get a true glimpse into how difficult life was for these hardworking, downtrodden brickies.

Mollie Walton is the author of The Ironbridge Saga, published by Bonnier Zaffre. The Daughters of Ironbridge is out now and the second instalment, The Secrets of Ironbridge, is out April 30th next year. She also writes historical fiction as Rebecca Mascull.
Pre-order The Secrets of Ironbridge here:


 1850s Shropshire.

Returning to her mother's birthplace at the age of eighteen, Beatrice Ashford encounters a complex family she barely knows. Her great-grandmother Queenie adores her, but Beatrice's family's privileged social position as masters of the local brickworks begins to make her uncomfortable.

And then she meets Owen Malone: handsome, different, refreshing - and from a class beneath her own. They fall for each other fast, but an old family feud and growing industrial unrest threatens to drive them apart.

Can they overcome their different backgrounds? And can Beatrice make amends for her family's past?

A dramatic and heartwarming saga for fans of Maggie Hope and Anne Bennett.

Praise for The Daughters of Ironbridge:

'A Journey. Compelling. Addictive.' Val Wood

'Evocative, dramatic and hugely compelling . . . The Daughters of Ironbridge has all the hallmarks of a classic saga. I loved it' Miranda Dickinson

'Feisty female characters, an atmospheric setting and a spell-binding storyline make this a phenomenal read' Cathy Bramley

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