Our Writer of the Week makes her story debut in our August 31 issue with “Happy To Help”. Welcome, Sue Richards!
“Happy To Help”, published in our August 31 issue, is your first story for “The People’s Friend”. How did it feel to hear that your story had been successful? Had you been submitting material for long?
I was delighted, of course. I’d sent it away before and had it rejected (not by “The People’s Friend”), but I persevered because I thought it was worth pursuing. This is the first short story I’ve had published, but I have also had magazine articles and poems published. I also write Bible Reflections for the Bible Reading Fellowship.
Have you always written stories?
Ever since I could hold a pen! I think my first story was written out and given to my mum for her birthday when I was 6. I have a notebook with about 30 other story ideas just waiting to be written.
What inspired this particular story, Sue? It would be lovely to imagine it had happened to you.
It hasn’t happened to me, but like all writers, wherever I go, I people watch and imagine “What if . . .?” scenarios.
Who are your own favourite authors, and what do you admire about them?
I like Jodi Picoult and Diane Chamberlain (both American writers), but also Erica James, Veronica Henry and Lesley Pearse, amongst others. I generally like character-led novels, with strong believable people who have opportunities for change and ethical dilemmas.
Did anyone particularly inspire your writing?
No particular person, but again, like many writers, I have always been a voracious reader. Jo March (“Little Women”) and Anne Shirley (“Anne of Green Gables”) were “scribblers”, and early heroines of mine.
Notebook and pencil or laptop? Kitchen table or study? Blank wall or inspiring view?
It has to be notebook and pencil when I’m thinking and creating. I particularly love propelling pencils and yellow paper, but pretty much anything will do. I have a study where I usually write as I am an Adult Education tutor and need somewhere for all my files. But I actually like the idea of having a kitchen table.
And a P.S. – what’s your top tip for an aspiring Writer Of The Week?
Always carry a notebook and a pencil with you. You never know when you will see or hear something that’s worth noting down and which may become the germ of a story.
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