Inspirational Women: Blogs, Yoga and Well-being
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Blogger-turned-author Maria Roberts


 - Blogger-turned-author Maria Roberts
© Anne Earnshaw
“I was broke and sat at my kitchen table desperately thinking what to do. Two weeks later I had a book deal and my life was changed.” Two years ago, after doing an MA in Creative Writing and trying her hand at writing short stories, plays and a ‘dark, navel-gazing’ novel, Maria Roberts started writing her blog – a warm, insightful, often hilarious account of her experiences bringing up her son on a council estate in Manchester.

“I started writing the blog for fun,” she says. ‘It was a different outlet for me because it’s quite humorous. Also I’d read that some blogs had been taken on and turned into books.’ Her unique voice – in stark contrast to the yummy mummy parent we hear so much from – clearly struck a chord, as a growing number of ‘followers’ began regularly returning for updates. “It’s quite addictive once you get going,” says Maria. “You can see that people are coming to your site, so you want to write to please them. You can also see when they’re not as interested in what you’ve written because they don’t hang around!
It’s a great way to gauge what works and what doesn’t.”

Maria’s first blog entry was a humorous dig at her then partner, and set the tone nicely. “I was living with a vegan guy who was really into environmental issues,” she explains. “I asked him to cook meat for me. He refused. The first entry asked: is this going to work?”

Single Mother on the Verge won Best Personal Blog at the Manchester Blog Awards 2008, but her turbulent personal life prevented her attending the ceremony: “I didn’t go to the event because on that day my boyfriend had walked out on me and I’d been made redundant from my job.”

It was at this point that Maria decided to contact Patrick Walsh, the agent extraordinaire who launched the infamous blogger Belle du Jor’s career. Between them, they put together a detailed book proposal, and within days publishers were offering five-figure sums.

“The blog book tells a story, whereas the blog is very anecdotal,” Maria says. “It’s funnier than the blog too – even though it deals with difficult things like domestic violence.”

In between writing her second book, Maria is busying herself promoting the first: “It was so hard before, constantly trying to patch together money to make an income. Now I’m always doing things to give myself the best chance possible of being able to remain just a writer.”

Maria’s CV:

1994 - Admin Assistant in a department store and part time Bingo Caller
1997 - Care Assistant in a nursing home
1998 – 2002 - Receptionist whilst studying English/Spanish at Manchester University
2002 - 2007 - Journalist for City Life magazine journalist, PR, proofreader for various publications
2002-2004 - MA creative writing University of Manchester
2007  - Set up Blog Single Mother on the Verge
2009 - Publication of first book Single Mother on the Verge
Single Mother on the Verge is published by Penguin in July.


Alison Taylor
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