Lucy meets Writer Of The Week Laura Tapper, who has a Christmassy story in each of our bumper issues!
Your first “Friend” story was published in June, and you’ve already had six stories and three poems accepted. Can you tell us how you started writing for the “Friend”?
I have always written creatively, and I wanted to be published in a magazine my mother could buy in the supermarket.
I like to spend my writing time with characters I care about, caught up in stories which make me feel good. So “The People’s Friend” seemed like the perfect magazine to submit to.
I couldn’t be prouder to be one of your writers. I am currently working on a serial, and have other characters in my imagination, pestering me to tell their stories.
“Festive Flowers” is based in a florist’s. Do you have green fingers?
I’m not very green-fingered, but I’ve done a lot of flower arranging and I care about the environment, which is a feature of “Blooming Natural”, the shop in the story.
If something is close to my heart, I write about it with greater depth and integrity.
“Festive Flowers” was the first romance I’d ever written, and it started with the question — does a florist still get bought flowers as a love token?
Then I thought about when I was younger and working for a bank. There was a regular customer who would come in every Saturday, just before closing time, and it turned out that he had a crush on me.
I put those ideas together, developed two characters I believed in, sprinkled them with Christmas fairy dust and the story started to grow.
We enjoyed your Christmassy story, “A Time For Giving”, in our first bumper issue. The illustration was lovely, too. Do you find the illustrations match how you imagined your characters to look?
One of the most exciting parts of “publication day” is getting the first sight of the illustration accompanying my story.
I am not a visual artist, so I am constantly amazed at the way the characters and scenes are brought to life by the illustrators; they do a brilliant job.
I would say I am a Christmassy person. I have done an awful lot of carol singing in my time, so I had plenty of experience to draw on for my story!
You’re also a “Friend” poet. Have you always written poetry? Do you write in other formats?
Poetry is something I’ve written at different times in my life.
I’ve spent many years singing, particularly folk songs, and I think that helps with a sense of rhythm and rhyme.
I enjoy variety in my writing life, and am currently editing a much longer story which I hope will become a pocket novel.
Notebook and pencil, or laptop? Kitchen table or study? Blank wall, or inspiring view?
I often start with pen and paper and then move onto a laptop.
I write any time, any place, anywhere, and always have.
It helps to be flexible. And I think my work benefits from it, too, keeping things fresh and keeping me writing.
And a P.S. – what’s your top tip for another aspiring Writer of the Week?
It’s always hard to give other people advice, because everybody is unique, but there are three things which have made a huge difference to me.
Writing stories I’d like to read, and submitting to the right publication for me.
Writing frequently, because creativity is a muscle which needs to be kept toned.
And having an editor I trust and listening carefully to all their guidance.
For more from the Writer Of The Week series, click the tag below.