Interview with Author Anne Goodwin

Anne Goodwin

I am thrilled to have interviewed author Anne Goodwin, who shared with us details of her writing life, her book ‘Lyrics for the Loved Ones‘, which was released on 15th May 2023, and answered a few fun questions. This post contains affiliate links.

Anne Goodwin guest post pic

Anne Goodwin’s drive to understand what makes people tick led to a career in clinical psychology. That same curiosity now powers her fiction.

Anne writes about the darkness that haunts her and is wary of artificial light. She makes stuff up to tell the truth about adversity, creating characters to care about and stories to make you think. She explores identity, mental health and social justice with compassion, humour and hope.

An award-winning short-story writer, she has published three novels and a short story collection with small independent press, Inspired Quill. Her debut novel, Sugar and Snails, was shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize. Lyrics for the Loved Ones is her fourth novel.

Away from her desk, Anne guides book-loving walkers through the Derbyshire landscape that inspired Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.

interview picture 2023


1) Where did the inspiration for your book come from?

It was born out of anxiety and outrage, and my reluctance to let go of the main character of my previous book. Matty kept me focused and entertained during those disorientating days of the first Covid lockdown and, originally, I wasn’t sure if I was simply writing for myself. It also provided a productive outlet for my fury about recent British politics, particularly the government’s neglect of care homes in the pandemic and the legacy of their policy of creating a hostile environment for migrants which led to thousands of Caribbean-born citizens being wrongly stripped of their rights.

2) How did you plan out the plot?

I started by jotting down ideas in a Word document as they came to me, as well as notes on my fluctuating emotions as I wrote. That document now runs to 96 pages, many of which I doubt I’ll read again. When I had the basics of the story, I decided on a rough wordcount and apportioned the numbers between the point-of-view characters and plot landmarks (e.g. a reversal at the midpoint, a crisis at 90%). The person I was when I wrote my first novel would be horrified at such restrictions, but they worked for me.

3) When did you choose the title for your book?

The title was a nightmare. It went from Surviving Henry to 100 Candles, 100 Days to The Age of Staggered Breathing and, briefly, Bated Breath. I didn’t finalise the title until the edits were complete and I had to commission the cover, but I’m very pleased with it now.

4) How did you come up with the names for your characters?

I didn’t give it a lot of thought, apart from making them fit the character’s age and background. (For example, you can probably guess that the care assistant called Irene is a lot older than her colleague, Scarlett.) I drew up an alphabetical list to keep them distinct and avoid having multiple characters with names starting with the same letter. Then I had fun with the nicknames Matty uses for staff and fellow residents: Olive Oyl, Bluebell, The Maharaja and Oh My Darling to name but a few.

5) Can you give us a hint to any sections that you removed?

Perhaps it’s down to my planning, but I didn’t ditch any completely, although I rewrote a couple from scratch. This was very different from the process of writing my previous three novels.

6) What made you choose this genre?

I write the kind of fiction I think I’d like to read, which is primarily literary/ reading-group fiction that is both entertaining and makes you think. But I’ve been surprised to find my novels becoming both funnier and darker as I’ve developed my craft.

7) How long did it take you to complete your book?

It took me just under three years from the germ of an idea to publication. That’s quick for me – my previous novel took twice as long.

8) Can you describe your book in three words?

Humorous, humane, uncompromising.

9) What’s the hardest part of being a writer?

Finding readers can be difficult without the backing of a big publisher, which is why I’m so grateful for the help of the blogging community in bringing my books to readers’ attention.

10) Why should our readers pick your book up?

For the emotional journey through laughter, sadness and anger at injustice; for the entertainment, and possibly to learn.

Lyrics for the Loved Ones by Anne Goodwin

Lyrics for the Loved Ones

Author – Anne Goodwin
Publisher – Annecdotal Press
Pages – 345
Release Date – 15th May 2023
ISBN 13 – 978-1739145026
Format – ebook, paperback


After half a century confined in a psychiatric hospital, Matty has moved to a care home on the Cumbrian coast. Next year, she’ll be a hundred, and she intends to celebrate in style. Yet, before she can make the arrangements, her ‘maid’ goes missing.

Irene, a care assistant, aims to surprise Matty with a birthday visit from the child she gave up for adoption as a young woman. But, when lockdown shuts the care-home doors, all plans are put on hold.

But Matty won’t be beaten. At least not until the Black Lives Matter protests burst her bubble and buried secrets come to light.

Will she survive to a hundred? Will she see her ‘maid’ again? Will she meet her long-lost child?

Rooted in injustice, balanced with humour, this is a bittersweet story of reckoning with hidden histories in cloistered times.

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Fun Questions

Talking Owl Interview Pic 2023

1) Do you have a writing buddy (i.e. a pet)?

I don’t, but this boot sometimes inspires me. My husband made it for me from papier maché to celebrate a long-distance walk I did and the friends and family who accompanied me along the way. A couple of days after I finished this journey, I began writing the novel that became my debut, Sugar and Snails.

boot - anne goodwin

2) Do you have any writing quirks?

I need quiet and prefer to write in the daytime. I usually limber up with a walk of at least three miles. That doesn’t always make the words flow but, when it does, I try not to speak to anyone until I’ve got them down. Of course, I don’t see that as quirky but I might seem antisocial as I try to sneak past my neighbours.

3) Where do you write?

I’m very lucky to be able to write in a pleasant room with a view over my front garden. I must admit, there’s usually a lot more clutter on my desk.

view from Anne goodwins desk

4) Your book has been made into a movie, you’ve been offered a cameo role, what will you be doing?

I’d be one of the care assistants inexpertly assisting a resident to shower.

5) A talking owl has just finished reading your book, what’s the first thing he says to you?

‘Who knew humans could be so interesting?’

Author links


A big thank you to Anne Goodwin for sharing her writing life with us and for a wonderful interview.

The above links are affiliate links. I receive a very small percentage from each item you purchase via these link, which is at no extra cost to you. If you are thinking about purchasing the book, please think about using one of the links above. Thank you.

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