Margaret Barnes

Margaret and I met at a ‘Writers Hub’ in Exeter two years ago and found we had enough in common to stay in touch and become friends. I’m delighted to welcome her as a guest writer today.

Margaret, please would you introduce yourself to the blog… I’m a Lancastrian Londoner living in exile in Devon. I am a barrister now retired and spent my working life in the Criminal Justice System, defending the indefensible. Married but no children only a mad Springer Spaniel.  I’m a Francophile. I love the theatre and the arts.

What first inspired you to write?   I’m not sure I was inspired to write, but I am fascinated by words and narrative Some of best pieces of writing were jury speeches. Good stories are persuasive.

What was your first piece of creative writing? How old were you?   I had a poem published in the school magazine when I was about twelve. My aunt was so impressed she bought me a rhyming dictionary.

Which writers do you particularly admire?   So many, Dickens and the Brontes. Muriel Spark, Ian McEwan, William Boyd

What do you love about writing?   Creating characters.

What do you hate about writing?   Never being satisfied with the last paragraph

Describe your ‘portfolio’ of writing…   I’ve written two novelS, CRUCIAL EVIDENCE and RELUCTANT CONSENT, a book of memoirs TRIALS, ERRORS AND MISDEMEANOURSand a thin volume of poetry NOTES FROM OLD VENN.

The novels are part of a trilogy about the criminal justice system and revolve around the life of a barrister Cassie Hardman. They draw on my experience of how the courts work and the emotions of the participants in a trial.

What is your proudest achievement?   In my writing life, just finishing my first novel.

What is your current project?   I’m writing the third novel in the Cassie Hardman series

Anything you’d like to add?   I think I have been very lucky to do a job I enjoyed and writing gives me the same sort of pleasure I got from being an advocate. They couldn’t be more different; writing is a solitary business whereas an advocate tells her stories in the glare of a courtroom and with the responsibilities of someone’s future in her hands.

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