This week, Fiction Editor Shirley chats to Anne Pack, our Writer of the Week.
Being a “Friend” Writer of the Week is becoming a great honour, and this week that honour is bestowed upon Anne Pack.
Shirley chats to Anne, posing the 5 questions that we all want to know the answers to!
Your story is a super evocation of the Italian café that so many of us remember from our younger years. Is that why you wanted to write it? Is it the same for you?
Yes, the story was inspired by happy memories of the Italian café in my home town. It was the hub of the community, where all the youngsters gathered. We’d listen to the juke box and eat the most delicious ice cream I have ever tasted. I was overjoyed to get a part-time job there in my teens.
This is your second serial for “The People’s Friend”, after your first venture with Raising The Roof back in 2017. Was there anything different about the writing experience between the two?
It was completely different. Raising The Roof was my first attempt at writing a serial so I was working in an unfamiliar area. But I received tremendous support and guidance throughout from “The People’s Friend” and in the proces,s I learned so much. As a resul,t I felt more confident writing the second one.
Before writing your serials, you focussed more on short stories. Can you explain why you’ve changed the format?
I’d always wanted to write a longer story, with a range of characters, and multiple issues, which you can explore in a serial. The discipline of serial-writing is different to that of short story writing in that you have to map it all out – characters and story lines and how they inter-connect – and give the reader a reason to return the following week. I quickly warmed to this way of working and now prefer it.
Do you still harbour writing ambitions, or have you found your niche?
l also write articles and have had several published, and I’m currently editing a novel which I hope to see published one day. But I’m most comfortable writing shorter pieces and having learned how to ‘plot’ I find it such a rewarding experience to write serials, and extremely satisfying to see them illustrated and in print. I’m ambitious in that I’d like to continue to hone my craft, keep producing readable stories and generally improve as a writer.
Notebook and pencil or laptop? Kitchen table or study? Blank wall or inspiring view?
Every piece of work begins with an A4 pad and a fountain pen. To me it’s such a pleasurable way or writing and I like the idea that words flow from my pen. When I’ve written a sizeable chunk I type it up and continue on the laptop. I’m fortunate in having my own study to write in with a view to my colourful garden and beyond to the Sidlaw hills.
And a PS: What’s your one top tip for aspiring writers?
Don’t be discouraged by criticism and feedback. It will help to improve your work. And never, ever, give up.