Wigan women re-write the rules on retirement

Three grandmas from Wigan discovered a new chapter in their lives by taking up writing in their retirement – and have since gone on to write 24 books!

Joan Brickley, Mary Gonzales, and Joannie Preston became a writing team to help them to continue to use their imaginations and keep their minds active in retirement. They say writing books has helped them to meet people from various walks of life, take part in TV and radio interviews and give them a new lease of life.

Joan said the inspiration came from her hobby of decorating and furnishing her Victorian-style doll’s house and the first story was produced by herself and Mary on that theme, called ‘The Victorian Doll’s House That Was’. Joannie played a supporting role, typing up the stories and proofreading.

Joan, who was a teacher for 30 years, said: “Writing has made us feel that retirement is another chapter in our lives and has given us a feeling of excitement and rejuvenation.

“The stories seemed to have become popular with locals, especially grandparents, who not only bought them for their grandchildren but also wanted to read them themselves.

“This reaction inspired us to write more books, some based in Wigan, some in various parts of Liverpool and some taking our main characters, twins, Jessica and Matthew, back to Ancient Egypt, the Viking era, Ancient Rome and many other places with the help of a mischievous magic doll.

The trio has since produced 24 books in the ‘That Was Series’ and Joan also paints her own watercolor illustrations for the books and her own individual published works.

Joan added: “Writing these books has helped us in many ways. We have developed our ability to use our imagination. At times, when we have been feeling down, writing our books has also kept us going and kept us out of trouble!”

Joan has also written individual children’s books,

the ‘Flip- Flop Series’, and Mary too with ‘Izzy Beaver Books’.

For more information on the

That Was series go to www.thesitethatwas.co.uk

For more on Joan’s other works visit:  www.joanbrickley.co.uk and Mary’s:



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