Let’s meet Writer Of The Week Christina Hollis, whose first “Friend” story, “Catch Me If You Can”, appears in this week’s issue.
How long have you been writing? How did you get started?
I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil, and making up stories for even longer than that.
I dictated this to my auntie when I was about three —”once upon a time, three little puppies lived in a basket. The End.”
It’s not exactly “All Creatures Great And Small”!
What made you decide to send your story in to the “Friend”?
I’ve always loved the “Friend”, especially the recipes and the features about the countryside.
The fiction is great, too, so it’s a real thrill to have one of my stories included.
Does your writing ever reflect your own life stories?
Sometimes. For example, the basic idea for “Catch Me If You Can” came to me after I took my son to a university open day.
I told one of the tutors I’d always regretted leaving school at sixteen. He suggested I applied to join the university, and so I became a mature student at one end of the campus while my son was studying at the other end.
My husband is not a bit like Malcolm in the story, though!
Who reads your writing first? Who do you most trust for an honest critique?
My husband reads everything I write, and will always tell me exactly what he thinks.
I trust his judgement, and he has always been right so far, thank goodness.
Who are your own favourite authors, and why?
I love Jane Austen’s combination of wit and sharp observation.
Her characters are easily recognisable today, even though she was writing two hundred years ago — and love is always in fashion!
Do you belong to a writers’ group?
Notepad and pencil, or laptop? Kitchen table, or study? Blank wall, or inspiring view?
It’s paper and pencil for me, every time!
My favourite place to write is curled up on the sofa (if I can squeeze in between the pets) in front of the fire with a cup of tea and a slice of cake nearby.
And a P.S. – What’s your top tip for an aspiring Writer Of The Week?
Buy a pretty notebook and use it to jot down ideas whenever they jump into your mind, day or night.
Add a date, and then you’ll always have a collection of ideas ready for when you get some writing time. When you’re published, you’ll be able to look back and see exactly when inspiration struck.
I’m suggesting a notebook not a diary, as there’s nothing more depressing than having to leaf through lots of blank dated pages if it’s a while since you last wrote anything.
For more from our Writer Of The Week series, click the tag below.