Pat Foskett is our Writer Of The Week! You can read her delightful debut story “Under The Stairs” in Special no. 233 out now.
What inspired you to write “Under The Stairs”?
The idea came from so many scams being reported in the press and on TV. Being of a certain age, I can remember back before social media to a lot of bogus meter readers gaining access to people’s homes, particularly targeting the vulnerable and elderly.
I thought, “wouldn’t it be nice to turn the tables and let us seniors get one over on these pests?” I did want a burglar with some moral fibre though and who was non-violent.
I added humour and a student’s skeleton into the mix and I had a story.
We love your main character, Maggie! Which came into your mind first, the plot or the characters?
The plot came first and I had in mind Miriam Margolyes when I invented Maggie, particularly the hair.
Have you always liked to write?
I only started to write about ten years ago – I started crocheting toys for my granddaughter Maya, then I wrote children’s stories to go with them. She was four at the time, now fourteen, and lives in Greece. She always ‘passed’ Ya Ya’s stories. I only started to write again during lockdown.
What attracted you to submit your story to “The People’s Friend”?
I had ‘Under The Stairs’ tucked away in a folder, never having the confidence to try and get it published. Then I showed it to a friend and she pushed me into having self belief in my writing. She suggested I send it off. I chose “The Peoples Friend” because it has a diverse spectrum of stories, something for everyone and good to read on a journey or lunch break.
Which author(s) do you admire most and why?
I love a good thriller. Dan Latus‘s Frank Doy books are among my favourites. His books are based mainly in the north east. They are so atmospheric I can almost taste the salty sea air. Frank is so believable that I feel I am with him on his adventures.
Oliver Tidy, too, particularly the Booker and Cash titles. I love the way he drops humour into his characters.
Joy Ellis‘s, Nikki Galena series has a true female hero, strong yet vulnerable. The stories usually have me gripped from the first few pages.
What is the best book you’ve read this year?
“Risky Mission” by Dan Latus.
Finally, what is your top tip for aspiring “Friend” writers?
Don’t upset yourself if your writing pool dries up, just think on it as your brain has gone on holiday for a while. One day a chance remark, something you see on TV or a memory will pop up like mushrooms in the dark and you will be off again.
But, most of all, never give up. I am 77 now and to get my first story accepted and published is testament that age is no barrier.
For me, it’s important to feel emotion with my character. One story I wrote recently had me in tears at the end, sad that she passed away, yet happy at the wonderful tender ending.
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