Can you please tell us about your daily life?
I was born and raised In Wales. After qualifying as a teacher I worked in inner city London and Manchester and this is where I discovered my love for storytelling. I would make up stories to tell my classes but I rarely wrote them down. After getting married and starting a family I spent some time living in Hong Kong and Singapore before settling down in Wilton, Connecticut. I still teach and I still tell stories although the ones I write down are for a more adult audience.
How does it feel to have your work recognised?
I was actually shocked. I have had a few pieces of flash fiction published before but this is my first attempt at a longer piece. Last year I watched the movie ‘The Wife’, in response to Glenn Closes’ character saying earnestly, ‘A writer has to write’ a somewhat disillusioned author responds, ‘Oh honey a writer has to be read’. This is what motivated me to start submitting my writing so I am thrilled to make the semi-finalist list and be read!
How did you come up with the idea for your LISP selected story? Is there a story behind your story? And how long have you been working on it?
The idea for my story came from my experience with menopause and aging-not a very sexy topic I’m afraid! Alongside all the well-known stereotypical side effects, hot flashes, night sweats etc. I found friends were dealing with other aspects that nobody mentions. For example a friend developed vertigo and was told by her doctor it was due to ‘ear crystals’ that develop more commonly in women after the menopause. Who knew? A woman’s body seems to be in a continual state of flux from puberty, pregnancy, the after effects of childbirth and then menopause. I wanted to convey the feeling of surprise caused by the changes but also the idea of embracing them to be empowered.
Can you please give us a few tips about writing a 1500-word short story?
When I write I do not have a word-limit in mind. I sit down and let the story go where it wants to go. I usually leave revisiting it for a few days so I can come at it with fresh eyes and then I revise and revise. In the beginning I was hopeless at revising I couldn’t bring myself to ‘kill all my darlings’, but that is where writing to a word-limit was so useful. It required me to evaluate each word or phrase-they all had to pull their weight if they wanted to stay in the story. It is also useful to have a trusted person you can ask for a second opinion. In my case my daughter, Megan, has been a brilliant sounding board. She is always willing to point out what doesn't work in a very supportive way and that's not easy!
What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing competitions?
One of the best things is that there are so many competitions you can always find one to submit your writing to and it’s a great first foray into submitting your work. The worst thing is there are so many its difficult to know which one to send your work to and if you don’t make a long-list you don’t hear anything not even a rejection letter.
Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on short story and LISP?
Of course-a writer has to write and you never know you might also be read!