About Marcia Clayton
I was born in Landkey, a small village three miles from Barnstaple and have lived in North Devon all my life. I love the rugged North Devon coastline, the wide-open spaces of Exmoor and Dartmoor, and the gently rolling countryside, and would never wish to live anywhere else.
I left school at 15 and went to work in a bank, where I stayed for seven years until the birth of my first son. In due course, my second and third sons followed, and I was a full-time mum for the next eight years, thoroughly enjoying motherhood. During this time, I also nursed my terminally ill mother, and following her death, worked as a Marie Curie nursing auxiliary for the next four years. Although distressing at times, this experience was incredibly rewarding.
When my youngest child started school, I began to take an interest in family history. My father’s family came from the St Giles-in-the-Wood area of Devon and my mother’s family from Combe Martin. My maternal grandmother abandoned her family when my mother was just eighteen months old and never returned. My mother was adopted by a family in Landkey, and the story of my errant granny intrigued me as a child. Once I started tracing my family tree I was completely hooked, and I would have loved to tell my mother all that I discovered. In carrying out my historical research, I developed a strong interest in social history, particularly in the lives of the less advantaged. I was often sidetracked by the stories of other families that I stumbled upon, and this inspired me to start writing my first book, “The Mazzard Tree”, which is set in Victorian Devon.
I enrolled on a secretarial course at North Devon College in Barnstaple, and this led to a job as an administrator at the college. I took the opportunity to obtain more qualifications, including two A levels, one in History, and the other in English Language and Literature, and two Management Diplomas. As my children grew older and I was able to work full time, I progressed through various jobs at the college. I became involved with student transport, and was appointed as the co-ordinator of a project called “Life in the Bus Lane”. The project was successful and a runner up in the national Bus Industry Awards. I attended a presentation ceremony at the Hilton Hotel in London and was also invited to 10 Downing Street to meet Tony Blair, the then Prime Minister. When the project ended in 2006, I obtained a new post as the Education Transport Manager for Devon County Council and remained there until retirement.
During all this time, I picked up my writing at various intervals but did not complete my first book, “The Mazzard Tree”, until 2014. My eldest son is a talented musician, and he has published several books about playing the bass guitar. He suggested I put my book on Amazon as an ebook and helped me to do so. When I retired, I started to write “The Angel Maker”, a sequel to “The Mazzard Tree”, and it was published in 2020. I am fortunate to have friends and family who are avid readers, and they have helped me with proofreading and editing my books. My daughter-in-law is a graphic designer and kindly produced the covers.
Although a terrible time for many families, the periods of lock-down during the Covid 19 epidemic provided an ideal opportunity for writing. I was glad to find something to occupy my time and wrote “The Rabbit’s Foot”, the third book in “The Hartford Manor Series”, which will be released in November 2021.
When not writing, I am usually to be found in the garden or at the allotment with my husband, where we grow as many of our own vegetables as we can. I still spend a lot of time researching family history and am looking forward to the release of the 1921 census. I also love producing floral art arrangements, as well as reading, and walking in the beautiful countryside that surrounds us.