In her fiction, Miriam is concerned with exploring the position and experience of the outsider.
Walking Shadow, her historical novel published under the name of M W Hastings, has been produced this autumn and
is available direct from FeedARead as well as major book distributors, like Book
Depository, Amazon and Noble & Barnes.
Edmund (aka Rosamund) Shakespeare, younger sibling of William and lead player of female roles with the King's Men, is the narrator and central protagonist. When the novel opens, it is January 1606 and London is a dangerous place; the gunpowder plot has just been foiled, spies and informers are everywhere, and Edmund is a prisoner in the Tower, charged with treason.
This is a historical novel with profoundly modern themes: the fear of terrorism, political manipulation of information, and issues of religious fundamentalism
The Minotaur Hunt Miriam's first novel, is now available in paperback. Revised edition complete with afterword.
Winner of the MIND Book of the Year Award, this is a present-day story with a legendary model. To the people of Crete, the Minotaur was traditionally a creature of
darkness and horror. Locked in a labyrinth where no-one could see him, he became the scapegoat for everyone's worst imaginable nightmares and terrors.
Chrissie and Rachel are Minotaurs. They meet in Bradley, a rambling Victorian institution for the mentally ill. As the novel unfolds and their respective stories are gradually revealed, their growing relationship becomes a rich source of shared experience and a focus for their deepening knowledge of themselves.
The Minotaur Hunt was originally published by the Harvester Press, it was shortlisted for the Betty Trask Award and won the MIND Book of the Year Award. Sadly, soon after publication Harvester were taken over by Simon & Schuster who closed their fiction list and so the hardback edition of the novel is now out of print, although it's often available secondhand from amazon and other online stores. A freshly revised digital edition with a new afterword is now available on Kindle (The Minotaur Hunt ) and Kobo (The Minotaur Hunt), and a paperback edition has also been published.
Some reviews of Miriam Hastings' The Minotaur Hunt:
[An author] "of great talent and wit, the courage to lead us through purgatory and the tenderness to love and understand its inhabitants." Monica Dickens.
"There are echoes of romantic fiction, but there is also a whiff of grim realism . . .Underlying the narrative is an impressive refusal to attempt glib explanations." Bernard Ineichen.
"Miriam Hastings' The Minotaur Hunt is an engrossing novel
set in a mental health institution and in the minds of some of its patients. . .The
positive portrayal is very well done, yet it does not pull any punches about the difficulties faced by those with serious mental illness", Mercia McMahon.
"No matter how dark the labyrinthe of emotions, there is always redemption for the human condition, and this sensitivity to lightness, back-to-back with the darkness, is where Hastings' writing is at its finest. It has the voice of authenticity." Vine Voice.
"The Minotaur Hunt is beautifully written with an immediacy and urgency that has you turning the pages", The Bub.
Miriam Hastings has recently completed a new novel, The Dowager's Dream, a surreal fantasy set on the north coast of Scotland at the time of the brutal clearances in the Scottish Highlands. The novel was inspired by the (largely imagined) lives of Miriam's great great-grandmothers, Margaret MacKenzie and Christine Patterson, and also by an account written in 1809 by a minister's daughter, describing a mermaid she had seen in Sandside Bay, Caithness.
Although The Dowager's Dream is set in the early years of the 19th Century, the themes of dispossession and ethnic cleansing will resonate with the contemporary reader.