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Rhiannon Lewis, LISP 2023 Short Story Finalist, 'The Waiter'

Rhiannon Lewis, LISP 2023 Short Story Finalist, 'The Waiter'

- Can you please tell us about you and your daily life?

I began writing my first novel, 'My Beautiful Imperial', in 2011. I hadn't planned to write a novel but I was lucky enough to discover an amazing true story which just had to be told. The novel was published in 2017 and even though it was my debut novel, it was recommended by the Walter Scott Prize Academy in 2018 alongside works by writers such as John Banville and Marcel Theroux. I wrote a series of short stories whilst I was looking for a publisher and these eventually came together as 'I Am the Mask Maker and other stories' which was shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year in 2022.

- How often do you write? Do you have a writing routine? And what inspires you to write?

I don't have a writing routine. I write when I have time. I often write at night when I can't sleep. I love writing in libraries. My favourite place in the world to work is the British Library.

Inspiration comes from all kinds of things. I suppose I am most interested in people, places and memory. The smallest things can provide inspiration; a particular turn of phrase, a door blown open by the wind or the colour of the sky at dusk above a field of snow.

- How does it feel to have your work recognised?

The best thing anyone can say to me about reading my work is that, once started, they couldn't put it down.

- How did you develop the idea for your LISP-selected story? Is there a story behind your story? And, how long have you been working on it?

My story, 'The Waiter', was inspired by a real person and real events. Once I had the initial idea, it didn't take long to write the first draft. Refining a piece of work usually takes time, however. Some stories need to sit there for months or even years before they're ready to be let go.

- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a Story?

My tip for writing a good story would be to write whatever gives you the most fun. Don't try to emulate what others are writing or feel that you should be writing in a particular way. If you're having fun writing it, there's a good chance someone will have fun reading it. Writing is also hard work but when it's going well it should give you a buzz.

- What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about competitions?

Competitions, including LISP are incredibly useful. They help you learn whether or not you're getting your ideas across. But don't be disheartened if your stories don't succeed at first. Keep going.



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