Writer Of The Week: Ann Mortimer

writer of the week

“Friend” Writer Of The Week Ann Mortimer has a delightful story, “Joining The Hedgehog Highway”, in this week’s issue.

Tracey from the Fiction team chatted to her all about her writing and inspiration.

Tell us where the idea for “Joining The Hedgehog Highway” came from?

Everyone seemed to be talking about hedgehogs!

A friend had just shown me the hedgehog food she was putting out on behalf of her neighbours, who were away. When I got home my next-door neighbour called to ask if we could make a space under our fence so that the three hedgehogs they’d adopted from a rescue centre could get into our garden.

I just had to write a story about a group of neighbours and the hedgehogs in their gardens.

How long have you been writing fiction?

Having taken early retirement from Reception Class teaching due to family health problems, I signed up to The Writer’s Bureau course, hoping the deadlines set would make me find time to write the stories that I’d written from time to time over some very busy years.

The course started with report writing, and I had several non-fiction pieces published before my first story, “Hippos in Hawick”, was published in the “Friend”.

Who are your favourite authors?

My favourite author is Thomas Hardy. I enjoy reading Rachel Joyce, Elly Griffiths and Clare Fuller, also American authors Anne Tyler and Lucia Berlin.

I re-read all the “Fairacre” books by Miss Read during lockdown and found them very comforting.

What are your writing ambitions?

I have learnt a lot while attempting to write a novel, and hope that one day I’ll manage to write one that merits publication.

Notepad and pencil or laptop? Kitchen table or study? Blank wall or inspiring view?

I sit in an armchair and write in notebooks, using a favourite pen.

There is often football on the television, which I ignore!

I then type the story up and make corrections using a very old desktop. I jot down ideas when I think of them, otherwise they tend to be forgotten.

Don’t discount snippets! I once recalled the game of avoiding cracks in paving stones, called Broken Biscuits, and wrote it down. While it didn’t develop into a story idea of its own, I was able to include the game in a story on a completely different theme.

For more from our Writer Of The Week series, click the tag below.

Tracey Steel

Having worked on a number of magazines over the years, Tracey has found her perfect place on The Friend as she’s obsessed with reading and never goes anywhere without a book! She reads all the PF stories with a mug of tea close by and usually a bit of strong cheese too!