LISP 22 Short Story LISP Finalist, 'Wait Until The Sea is Calm' by Bernadette Stott
Can you please tell us about you and your daily life?
I am Canadian by birth and British by situation. I live in southwest London with my husband and three teenage children.
When and how did you get into writing?
I have written casually since my twenties, but it was only after completing an English degree with the Open University as a mature student in 2020 that I began to submit to writing competitions. As part of my degree I did two creative writing modules and found them not just informative but also encouraging. Since then I have won, placed or been longlisted in several flash fiction competitions including Bath, Flash500, Cranked Anvil and LISP! As of 2022, I am now concentrating on short stories and have so far, in addition to LISP, been longlisted for the Aurora and Exeter Story prizes.
How often do you write? Do you have a writing routine? And what inspires you to write?
I don't have a set routine. I try to write every day but it is not always possible within a busy family life. What most inspires me to write is my reading; I read many different genres of fiction, plus an occasional non-fiction history book. If I ever feel like the words are not flowing I pick up a book, even just a few pages can inspire me to sit down with my own piece again.
What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about writing a Story?
The best thing is entering a whole other world, and getting into the heads of different characters. The most challenging things for me are pace and structure.
Can you please give us a few tips about writing a Story?:
I am still a beginner when it comes to writing so I don't have many tips, but my no.1 bit of advice would be to read whatever genre it is that you want to write. It probably seems obvious, but short stories are very different beasts to novels and it really helps to read lots of them before attempting your own.
Lastly, do you recommend the writers submit their stories to LISP?
It is really encouraging to have my work recognised by an award such as LISP. It means that a complete stranger has read it and liked it enough to put it forward! To any other emerging writer, I would definitely recommend submitting work to LISP. I like the stepped entry fees and the variety of genres to compete in, and I particularly like how quickly the results are announced.