Linda, welcome, and congratulations on being our Writer of the Week! Can you tell us how you started writing for the “Friend”?
I had my first story published in “The People’s Friend” in March 2012, but I had been trying for many years before that to get a story published in the magazine, so I was delighted when I had my first success.
Your short story ‘Working It Out’ appears in this week’s issue. Can you tell us what inspired you to write it?
The main inspiration for this story came from living with teenage sons, who are sometimes too fond of electronic games and not so fond of knuckling down to their homework or tidying their bedrooms. However, I was driving home from work one day when Duran Duran’s song, Save a Prayer came on the radio. It is a song which holds very poignant memories for me from my own teenage years and suddenly I had the solution to my main character’s dilemma.
Where do you find inspiration for writing?
It’s been said before, but inspiration is all around us. Some things from my own life can be the trigger of initial inspiration, but this is just the starting point. At other times, inspiration comes from something I see, a snatch of conversation or a headline in a newspaper. The beauty of writing is having that spark and seeing where it might take you.
Whose work do you enjoy reading?
My favourite writers in “The People’s Friend” are Teresa Ashby, Wendy Clarke and Della Galton. Whenever I see these ladies’ names I know that I’m going to have an enjoyable and satisfying read. I am an avid reader and also have had my head in a book since as soon as I learnt to read. I love historical fiction especially Philippa Gregory and Maureen Lee. I really enjoy stories set in different time zones, particularly Kate Morton and Rachel More, and also I like Debbie Johnson, Victoria Connelly, and Veronica Henry. I’m partial to the odd psychological thriller.
Notebook and pencil, or laptop? Kitchen table, or study? Blank wall, or inspiring view?
First drafts are usually pen and pencil but I always edit on the laptop. And I write wherever I can find a comfortable space. A view doesn’t really bother me, time is more the issue than space, and I try to squeeze my writing in wherever and whenever I can.
And a P.S. – What’s your one top tip for aspiring writers?
My top tip for aspiring writers is try to find other writers who write in a similar vein and get their feedback. Critique their stories too, as that will help. I don’t think I would have had the success I have without the ladies who are part of my online writing group and I am very grateful to them all. Also, don’t give up even if you are not currently having any success. Keep going, get into a routine and get your stories out there.