Our writer of the week is Mollie Mitchell!
Her debut story can be read in Special 235, on sale from November 30.
What inspired you to write ‘Where I Belong’?
I like islands and I like sewing. I particularly like mending clothes, something that everyone used to do at one time, but the ‘trend to mend’ has gathered a new momentum recently. As people become more aware of the environmental impact of the fashion industry on our planet, many are trying to make their clothes last longer. Passing on skills from one generation to another is important and I hope that, even in a world where fashion is such a huge industry, sewing and mending skills will continue to be cherished.
Regarding islands, I have been lucky enough to have visited numerous islands in Scotland and elsewhere. I feel they have a particular atmosphere and sense of community that is uniquely inspiring.
Have you always liked to write? What has your writing journey looked like so far?
I have written since I was a child in one way or another. I worked in BBC Radio for many years which is where I learnt to write properly. In radio, a writer/presenter has only one chance to communicate into the listener’s ear, so any writing has to be as clear as possible. My radio work was quite different from writing fiction, but it was a great discipline.
What’s next for you? What are your writing goals?
I cannot imagine not writing, so I hope that one day I will produce longer fiction. Meanwhile, I help to run a charity which means I write press releases and other pieces of prose constantly. I hope I can make everything I write as interesting as possible. Editing is a wonderful discipline!
Do you like to write stories in lots of different genres, or focus on just one or two?
I like to write in all sorts of genres. Newspapers and broadcast journalism, press releases and letters, and now fiction. In radio, I never knew what sort of story I might be dealing with from day to day. I like variety, research and challenge. For me, every story, fact or fiction, is a voyage of discovery. And I do like a satisfying ending.
Which author have you enjoyed that you think deserves more attention?
Robert Louis Stevenson. I have loved ‘A Child’s Garden of Verses’ since I was very young, but as a student I lived for a short time in the basement of his family home. His imagination amazes me every time I read any of his work.
If you could meet any author (past or present) for coffee and a chat, who would it be and why?
Agatha Christie. Apart from the fact she could plot brilliantly, I find her books deeply satisfying. And I think people forget how funny her fiction is – she doesn’t miss a trick. I suspect she was fascinating to talk to, although meeting her might have been intriguing – she must have been permanently on the look out for characters she could replicate in fiction.
Finally, what’s your top tip for aspiring “Friend” writers?
Imagine the reader. When I was broadcasting, I always tried to “speak” to the listener (although I also hoped there was more than one!)
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