She had her very first short story acceptance only two years ago, and since then writer Wendy Clarke has proved a favourite with “Friend” readers, creating characters and storylines which capture the imagination . . .
“I’m often asked how I came to be a magazine writer. Well, it all began when the small primary school where I worked as an English teacher closed and I was made redundant. Looking for something to occupy my time while I worked out what to do next, I enrolled on an online writing course – it seemed a good challenge to see if I could practise what I preached. Little did I know how much I was going to enjoy the course, or how much I was going to love writing.
“At the end of the course, my tutor was very encouraging and suggested I send some stories out to magazines. This I did, and in the ensuing weeks I began collecting rejection slips from my doormat. Refusing to be put off, I just sent out more!
“Then one day, I received a letter from ‘The People’s Friend’. They liked one of my stories, but it wasn’t quite right. They made a few suggestions for how to improve it: ‘Would I be able to look at it again and resubmit?’ Would I? You bet!
“When my first ‘Friend’ story, ‘Time For Dancing’, came out in the shops, I think I must have done a samba around the shop, and I couldn’t help but show the rather bemused newsagent the magazine. Funnily enough, a more recent ‘Friend’ story, ‘Like Father, Like Son’, was set in that very same newsagent’s.
“Since that day, I have written many more stories for the magazine. I wouldn’t say that I write in any particular style or genre, although recently I have had some historical stories published which I’ve loved writing. What I would say, though, is that I always try to create depth to my characters – my story is, after all, their stage.
“Without a doubt, since writing regularly for the ‘Friend’, my writing has developed enormously – partly due to the guidance of the editors. So much so, that I have written a serial. Oh, and I am planning to start my first novel this year . . . Wish me luck!”
You can catch up with Wendy’s latest story, “Follow My Leader”, which appears in our February 8 issue.