Writer Of The Week: Tony Redcliffe

Tony’s story “The Show Must Go On” is in our current bumper issue. It features everyone’s favourite nun, Sister Bernadette!

Hello, Tony. Can you please tell us about Sister Bernadette. Is she based on a real person?

Many years ago the Head of my infants’ school  was a Notre Dame nun, Sister Bernadette, much loved by all the children. She was gentle with a smile I still remember. The Sister Bernadette in my story is much feistier, a match for a truculent parent or an uppity priest, but much loved by her children.


Do you enjoy writing recurring characters?

I have quite often used recurring characters both in light humour and murder solving. I like the idea of trying to develop a relationship between the character and the reader, a certain amount of warmth or understanding.


Tell us about your writing background?

I only started writing after I retired. By chance, I heard on BBC Radio Manchester that they wanted entries for a short story competition – a Christmas Ghost story. I had a go. I was amazed when the producer of the programme phoned to say I had won and the story would be broadcast on Boxing Day. So after that I began to read my wife’s “Peoples Friend” and began to submit stories and was eventually successful.


Where do you like to write? Do you have a designated area at home?

I write everything in longhand, usually sitting in an armchair in the sitting room with my pad on my knee. Then I have to type it up on my computer using two fingers – takes ages, especially serials or long reads.


What’s your favourite genre to write about?

In my writing I do like a good murder and fortunately “The Friend” does too, but nothing too gory. Luckily Britain abounds with fruits and flowers that can provide deadly poisons and a Victorian murder is very useful because arsenic, colourless, odourless and tasteless was quite easily available. A murder story needs a strong motive, a foolproof method and a clever detective. I also like light humour. Humour is a challenge because what one person finds amusing others wonder why. Humour in a story should never be unkind. If you want a reader to smile at what a character says or does it should be an understanding smile or a sympathetic chuckle.


What are your future writing plans?

I confess I’ve never read any of “The Friend’s Pocket Novels”. Attempting one would be a real challenge. Perhaps one day.


Thank you, Tony, we look forward to it!


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!