Fiction Sneak Peek: Feb 3, 2018 issue

Dear Hector, by Julia Douglas

Our new magazine goes on sale soon and here’s our weekly sneak peak for you!

Dear Hector… by Julia Douglas starts with eggs for sale – or, more accurately, eggs not for sale. To unravel that conundrum you’ll have to read the story!

From eggs to The Sunny Side. Ha – I didn’t notice till now that we’d done that. In Belinda’s case, the sunny side describes her outlook on life. But no, could that be clouds on her horizon? By Annie Harris, illustrated by Martin Baines.

Car boots and Crestfallen Cats

We’re at a car boot sale, with two punters with an eye to the main chance, in The Crestfern Cat by Jan Snook, illustrated by Sarah Holliday.  All that glisters, though…

The “Friend” team know all about knitting squares after our enthusiasm for this year’s Love Darg appeal. And now we have a story on the theme, too. Square Dance by Sally Trueman Dicken is illustrated by Sarah Holliday, and features another of our favourite subjects, kittens!

Growing Pains by Louise McIvor is set in Belfast in the 80s, about a typical teenage girl realising that there’s more to life than discos and the right shoes. Illustrated by Sailesh Thakrar. You can read more about Louise’s inspiration for this story here where she’s featured as our Writer Of The Week. 

Ringing Bells!

It’s a big thought, returning to the workplace after years spent bringing up your children. What’s the right job for you? Is it even what you want? That’s the dilemma in Keeping House by Yvonne Frederick.

You know what it’s like when you overhear a conversation. It can ring such a bell that you want to join in. Add in some background music that sets the memories spinning, and you get the idea of Back To The Sixties by Val Bonsall, illustrated by Martin Baines.


In this week’s Tales From Prospect House by Malcolm Welshman, a trip to the surgery’s on the cards – the doctor’s surgery, for a change.

Our weekly soap Riverside has you all hooked. This week: It’s the big night down at the pub. Yep, Bullseye Bev is in the house! By Glenda Young.


It’s week 1 of a brand new serial, and can you believe that it’s another of the entries from our serial competition back in 2015? We got so many fab ideas. This one’s a period story, The Mermaid Of Mortling Hall, by Lynn Love, which we’re describing as a Gothic mystery. In the Friend! Gosh! Illustrated by Philip Crabb.

The Wooden Heart by Mark Neilson is a more traditional family drama, but I’m enjoying the portrayal of the relationships. I hope you are too. Illustration by Helen Welsh.

Shirley Blair

Fiction Ed Shirley’s been with the “Friend” since 2007 and calls it her dream job because she gets to read fiction all day every day. Hobbies? Well, that would be reading! She also enjoys writing fiction when she has time, long walks, travel, and watching Scandi thrillers on TV.