IT'S SAGA SATURDAY!! Please welcome saga author Michelle Rawlins...


Hi Michelle! So happy to welcome you to my blog for the first time - I am really looking forward to learning more about you and your work. Let's get started with my questions!

What do you wish you’d known before you started writing?

That it’s ok if your first draft isn’t perfect. Your editor is there to really help you finesses and perfect your manuscript. You won’t always get it right but a good editor will help make your book sparkle. They are there not only as sounding board, to help develop your ideas, but to spur you along if you lose your mojo and to enhance your work in progress. They will be your biggest critiques but at the same time as your greatest cheerleaders. A good editor is there to motivate and get you sprinting across the finishing line. I have been very blessed with truly incredible ‘fairy godmother’ like editors.

Is there one subject you’d never write about as an author? What is it?

I would never write a deeply personal essay about my own life. I like to draw a line between my work and personal life. Although I will talk about my family on social media and share photos of my children, especially my youngest (my eldest is too cool for all that now), I don’t think I could ever write publically about a personal trauma or grief. It would feel too close to home.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Pantser without a doubt! I am in envy of authors who have detailed plot notes, chapter break downs and character developments – I just don’t work like that. Ideas come to me when I least expect them. I could be out running, chatting with friends or reading another book and something just pops into my mind, that I then store away somewhere deep in my brain until the right time. 

If you could be the original author for any book, which book would it be? Why?

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks. The level of detail, his prose, the intricacy is all truly incredible. I have read the book a few times now and always take something new away from it and I don’t think it will ever leave me.

What are you working on at the moment?

Currently I am on my second round of edits for book 2 of The Steel Girls series, which is out in November, while writing book 3, due out next spring. My head is like a spider web!

Do you have a favourite character in your latest release?

Aw, this is a tricky one. I compare it to being a mum – you don’t have favourites, but adore different elements of your children and characters more in some ways than others.

Betty, one of my Steel Girls, is the formidable one, who gets everting done – I love her commitment and organisation.

Nancy – she is a mum of two, very sensitive, caring and wears her heart on her sleeve. I relate to her a lot. She had to hand over her two children to a neighbour, when she started work. As a full-time working mum, I know exactly how heart wrenching that can be.

Patty – she is the young flighty one, out to have as much fun as possible. Who doesn’t want that in life?


Women of Steel blurb True stories of love and loss during WWII, from the tough Northern women who kept the foundry fires burning.

When war broke out, the young women of Sheffield had their carefree lives turned upside down. With their sweethearts being sent away to fight, they had no choice but to step into the men's shoes and become the backbone of the city's steel industry. Through hard toil and companionship, they vowed to keep the foundry fires burning and ensured that soldiers had the weapons, planes and ships needed to secure victory over Hitler.

When the men returned from the front in 1945, many of these women tragically found themselves discarded 'like yesterday's fish and chip wrappers'. But decades later, a grassroots campaign spearheaded by the elderly Women of Steel finally brought their remarkable story to light.

Women of Steel is the last chance to hear these unsung heroines' voices, as they share first-hand how a group of plucky young women rallied together to win the war for Britain.

The Steel Girls blurb

When war breaks out, friendship will see them through

‘A heart-warming story perfect for saga lovers’, Nancy Revell,Sunday Times bestselling author of The Shipyard Girls series

Sheffield, 1939. With war declared, these brave women will step up and do their bit for their country

Housewife Nancy never dreamed that she’d end up in Vickers steelworks factory but when husband Bert is called up to serve, she needs to put food on the table for her two young children.

Betty’s sweetheart William has joined the RAF Reserves so she can’t sit around and do nothing – even if it means giving up her ambitions to study law at night school.

Young Patty is relishing the excitement the war brings. But this shop-girl is going to have to grow up quickly, especially now she’s undertaking such back-breaking and dangerous work in the factory.

The Steel Girls start off as strangers but quickly forge an unbreakable bond of friendship as these feisty factory sisters vow to keep the foundry fires burning during wartime.

Photo Credit: Scott Merrylees


Michelle Rawlins is an award winning journalist for 25 years, and as well as writing books now teaches in the Journalism Department at The University of Sheffield.

Her debut novel, the first in a series of saga style historical fiction, The Steel Girls came out in April this year with HQ Stories, following her non-fiction, Women of Steel, which was published a year ago with Headline Books.

Both books delve into the real life stories of the band of factory sisters who worked in the Sheffield steel mills during Work War Two.

Fb - Michelle Rawlins Author
Twitter - @MRawlins1974

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