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A Day in the Life: Meet Angelena Boden

Today I’m delighted to welcome Angelena Boden to my blog to talk about her writing life. 

Angelena (M.Soc.Sc PGDE) has spent thirty-five years as an international training consultant, specialising in behavioural management and conflict resolution. She trained in Transactional Analysis, the psychology of communication and behaviour, her preferred tool for counselling and coaching. Amongst her many international projects, she set up a charm school for nightclub door staff in the 80s, worked in Belfast on a skills development programme to help people on the Shankill Road get back into work, and has helped large numbers of young unemployed and ex-offenders to find their place in society.

She is the author of The Cruelty of Lambs, a novel about psychological domestic abuse.

Her next book (release date September 2017), The Future Can’t Wait tackles the issue of mother-daughter estrangement and addiction to psychics.

Both books are published by Urbane Publications, but there is a giveaway at the end, so do enter!

Q: Why do you write?

I write to get a message across about something that matters to me and I hope to many readers. My intention is not to moralise but to illustrate another side to a common misconception. For example my first novel, The Cruelty of Lambs, a gritty story about domestic abuse in a middle class home, turns the spotlight onto the female protagonist. My other motivation for writing as a sixty plus woman is to prove that I still have a voice.

Do you feel under pressure to make your main characters likeable?

Not at all. Una Carrington in my first book has been described as objectionable, a narcissist and vile amongst other things. Readers root for her husband and  finding out his fate is what keeps them turning the pages yet in reviews he’s described as being weak, spineless and in need of a good shaking.

Is your writing plot driven or character driven?

I write about characters who find themselves in a conflict and they lead me down the road they want to take to resolve it or not. My previous work as an international training consultant in behavioural management has shown me all aspects of the human psyche, both shocking and redeeming, sometimes in the same breath. We never know how anyone will react under pressure. I love people. I don’t always like their behaviour.

The Cruelty of Lambs by Angelena Boden, via

Click here to look inside or buy

 ‘Evocative and disturbing.’

‘A deeply felt, carefully constructed book.’

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Past personal experiences and observation of those around me. As a counsellor I listen to people’s stories and register their pain. As an empath I can end up absorbing a lot of the tragedy in everyday lives. Writing about it is cathartic.

What part do your own fears play in your fiction?

By the time I have finished a book and the endless edits that are necessary for culling the superfluous, I have conquered any fears or indeed past traumas. In my second book, The Future Can’t Wait which tracks the story of a mother whose adult daughter cuts off all contact, I lived through the flashbacks of my own personal experience of this.

What is your favourite/least favourite aspect of your writing life?

I love starting a new story. No planning or plotting. I get stuck in with my main character which I sketch out on paper and see what happens. I enjoy the first edit but if I have to do a major restructure as I had to do with my second novel I keep putting it off. Axing a character is like losing a friend. The absolute worst part for me is proof reading. I get boggle-eyed.

What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

Something! I don’t want them to sigh and say, Very nice. I hope readers will reflect on what they’ve discovered about people or a taboo subject. I am no stranger to controversy. I would like them to talk about and tell me they feel they’ve been uplifted. Tell me anything but not that it was nice!

What more do you think can be done to encourage diversity in fiction.

Not be afraid of writing in characters who have a completely different background from you. In my second book, one of my characters has Asperger’s but I don’t spell it out as such. The daughter in the book is half Iranian. That’s because my own daughters are Anglo Iranians so I have experience. The Cruelty of Lambs reflects the diversity of Birmingham where it is set. I am passionate about inclusivity in literature.

Do you work to a set word count?

Yes. Every morning from 8.30 I write 2,000 words. They may not be much good but they are words that can be coaxed or axed. Running my own business for thirty-five years made me very disciplined.

Can you remember when you saw your first book on the shelves?

Oh yes. Waterstones, Birmingham and Blackwell’s, Oxford. I took photos and tweeted them after I’d pinched myself.

What do you do when you’re not writing?’

I took up watercolour painting at sixty which is so relaxing. Just applying the paint to the paper is therapy. I think Churchill said something to this effect. I walk a lot for health and host overseas students in the summer for English language classes.

Coming November 2017

Available for pre-order 

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Just do it. So many publishing avenues are open these days. I first self-published some business books which were under 10,000 words then moved on to take a hybrid approach to getting my work read. We are in a publishing revolution and it’s fabulous.

For a chance of winning a copy of The Cruelty of the Lambs (eBook), add your answer to the following question in the comments. 

What did George Cadbury plant in every garden in Bournville and why?

Find out more about about Angelena  

Visit her website where you can watch a video set in Bournville, Birmingham, the home of The Cruelty of Lambs. There is a free booklet on Conflict Resolution for download.    

Or you can follow Angelena on Twitter @AngelenaBoden

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