Writer Of The Week: Isobel J. Sayer

writer of the week

We meet Writer Of The Week Jenny Dale, who writes as Isobel J. Sayer.

Her story, “Don’t Stop Believing”, appears in our current Special.

Tell us where the idea for “Don’t Stop Believing” came from?

Our writing group gave a homework subject as ‘a story with a twist in the tale’. After I had written a much shorter original version, I decided that the characters had more of a story to tell, and it evolved from there. I love writing about diverse, interesting and unusual characters. I enjoy performing on stage myself, and can relate to the combination of nerves and excitement that precedes a performance. Sadly I am not nearly as talented a performer as Kitty is.

How long have you been writing fiction?

I always loved writing fiction at school, but was discouraged from pursuing this in favour of more academic subjects. About six years ago I joined a writing group and tentatively started again. I was thrilled to have my first short story accepted by “The People’s Friend” less than a year later.

Who are your favourite authors?

I like reading a mixture of styles and particularly enjoy anything by Jodi Picoult, Joanna Harris and Charles Dickens. I recently discovered a Spanish Author, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and his “Shadow Of The Wind” series. His amazingly descriptive story tells of some really memorable characters in early and mid 20th century Barcelona.

What are your writing ambitions?

To keep writing short stories for “The People’s Friend”, and maybe one day write a serial for the magazine. I have also written two novels which I am hoping to get published one day.

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

Mostly I write on a laptop in a quiet study, although I can write in libraries and other potentially somewhat distracting places (although being a “misophonia” sufferer — having a real aversion to eating noises — means that I can’t concentrate on writing if anyone is eating anywhere near me!)

I have worked on stories in a notebook though, while sitting in a busy café. I wrote one this way while living in New Zealand and was fortunate to have it accepted for publication in “The People’s Friend”.

What’s your top tip for an aspiring Writer Of The Week?

Believe in yourself, never give up and accept critique with graciousness.

My main tip however, is not to get despondent over rejections.

I have had my fair share of those, some of which have later been accepted for publication after I looked objectively at what didn’t work, and was prepared to re-write them.

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!