Writer Of The Week Pamela Kavanagh’s stories and serials have been entertaining “Friend” readers for years.
Her latest serial, “The Tanner’s Son”, is the sequel to her previous work, “The Tanner’s Daughter”. Part four appears in this week’s issue.
Tell us about your writing background.
Oh, goodness, I think I have always scribbled.
When I was little I wrote stories about the family dog having adventures in a magical land. Then came school and college, writing for the circulars – anything that was going.
Actual publication came much later with stories in pony magazines and a first children’s novel accepted by J.A. Allen.
My first adult novel was taken by Robert Hale, and the rest went from there.
Short story work has always been a pleasure and is excellent writing discipline. I must have contributed to every women’s and children’s pony periodical in the market over the years, and met some great people along the way.
D. C. Thomson’s wonderful Bill Balnave was one. It was Bill who encouraged me to broaden my scope. This all sounds straightforward. It wasn’t. But once bitten by the writing bug the itch does not go away.
Your serial “The Tanner’s Daughter” was extremely popular. Where did the idea come from and did you feel you just had to write a sequel?
The idea for “The Tanner’s Daughter” sort of floated in when I was shopping on the Rows at Chester. Once the story took hold, the characters became real and wanted to be written about.
It is always sad to say goodbye to the players at the end of a serial. But some demand another showing and this is what inspired “The Tanner’s Son”.
I simply could not resist the antics of Jane and Will’s firstborn, Nicholas.
You must do a huge amount of research for your serials and stories. How do you go about this? Do you have a favourite era?
Well, I do try to research thoroughly – don’t always get it right though
! I have a pretty concise collection of reference books and museums are a good source of information for historical work. People are invaluable for helping with that vital elusive detail and there is always Mr Google if all else fails.
A favourite era depends largely on how I am feeling in the moment. The Twenties are fun (would have loved to have been a Flapper) and Victoriana gives lots of scope. Tudor times are enticing, so perhaps I’ll settle for that.
What are your future writing plans?
Future writing plans? There is a novel nudging.
What advice would you give someone who wants to write for “The Friend”?
Write what you know. If you are not a rural person do not attempt a country story – it will not be convincing to your readers.
Study the magazine and never try to imitate another writer’s voice. Find your own method of telling a tale and cultivate it. Love your players and wait until they are shouting at you before you begin to write. It rarely fails.
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