copy write Margaret Clark © all rights reserved
It has taken over 17 years but at last Margaret Clark believes she is a novelist and can sit back with pride to enjoy the successful publication of her first novel ...RUTH.
We meet in the "House of Manderlay" a ladies boutique which she owns and runs in Albir. You are immediately aware you are in the presence of a woman with iron determination, a woman who has made her way to the top in a man's world. A woman who is accustomed to succeeding.
We shake hands, her grip is vice like, her gaze confident and assertive. She is grit and determination personified. I congratulate her on the success of her book and ask if she could tell me a little bit about her background. Half jokingly she says "How long have you got?" before continuing more thoughtfully. "I don't know where to start. I've always been ambitious and set myself challenges. I was one of Manchester's top models when I was eighteen, then I got married and a year later I had a baby.
I still carried on modelling for a while but when we went into the motor trade, I gave it up to run the company. We went into the motor trade in a big way. We employed 28 people, selling new and used cars as well as petrol and also ran a repair workshops. It was tough at first, the motor trade in the 50's and 60's was a man's world and many men in the business didn't like having to deal with a woman. But I knew what I was doing, I worked hard and before long most of the men I had dealings with respected me.
We've had property here since 1964 for holidays , we always said we would retire to Spain one day and we came here to live in 1984. I love the sunshine and the way of life here, it's so laid back, so easy, everything is mañana. And I love the Spanish people, I find them very polite and friendly." Mrs Clark now starts talking about RUTH her novel: "It's dedicated to Pam who has been my friend for 45 years and is a journalist in Manchester, because she came to visit me in hospital one day before I retired and said "if anyone can write a book you can" and threw a notebook and pen at me.
I started scribbling, but when we came to live in Spain I put the book down and didn't pick it up again for 15 years. It took a second hospitalisation to get me back on track with my writing. I picked the book up when I was convalescing, finished it and sent it to Minerva Press for publication. Minerva Press had the novel for two years and was in the process of publishing it when the company went bankrupt. I was absolutely devastated. I felt I'd put so much hard work into this book and all for nothing."
But Mrs Clark did not lose heart for long and she fought hard to get RUTH published with Up Front Publishing, the company who took over Minerva Press. Six months later her efforts were finally rewarded. I asked her what it felt like to be published:
"It's a marvellous feeling. I've sold 86 copies just from my shop alone and the feedback I've been getting from people who've read it has been fabulous. One lady rang me up at home at 10.00 o' clock at night and she said "I've just finished your book, it's so exciting. I've not been able to put it down all day."
"I'm 68, I should be thinking about retiring but I don't want to and as long as I have good health and the energy and desire to work I'm not going to retire."
With KATIE, a sequel to RUTH, already half finished and another novel also in the pipeline I suspect we are going to hear a lot more about Margaret Clark in the coming months and years. Mrs Clark, a seasoned traveller, is embarking on what promises to be a new and very fruitful voyage of self discovery.