Writer Of The Week: Lisa Allen

Lisa Allen is our writer of the week! You can read her wonderful story ‘Picture Perfect’ in our weekly issue out on 22 February, 2023.

Can you tell us a little bit about your story and what inspired you to write it?

My story is about capturing moments in peoples lives in pictures, and how those pictures can tell a story without the need for any words. 

Looking back on old photos (from the 1990s) taken on disposable cameras inspired me to write the story. 

Today, with digital cameras, we can take the “perfect” picture, but on the old disposable cameras you never knew what the photos would look like until you got them back from the photo processing shop! I always think those “imperfect” photos, taken when people are laughing or not quite looking at the camera, tell the best stories of those moments in time. 

When did you start writing? Have you always wanted to be a writer? 

I wrote my first (very short) book at the grand age of seven – on a tiny typewriter complete with felt tip pen drawings to go with it! I’ve definitely always wanted to be a writer.

Do you begin with the character or the plot? Or, does it depend on the story? 

I think it depends on the story. Sometimes an idea for a lovely setting pops into my mind and then the character arrives and the plot develops as I write. But, other times, I already have a plot in mind and everything else follows on from that. 

Which author do you admire, and why? 

So many to choose from! For crime writing, I really enjoy the plot twists and character point of views with each chapter of Lucy Foley‘s books, and the atmospheric feel of Francine Toon’s, “Pine“. 

I also really enjoyed Maggie O Farrell’s “Hamnet” for a historical read as the language and story was so captivating. But there are too many other authors I admire and read often to mention all of them! 

Do you have any writing goals or projects you’d like to work on this year? If so, what are they? 

My writing goals for this year are to write more short stories (hopefully for “The People’s Friend”), try to enter some competitions, and develop a novel. 

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

Both! Always notebook and pen to jot down ideas and then onto the laptop for writing the story. Study – I am lucky to have an inspiring view of treetops, squirrels and birds which helps when I’m stuck for ideas. 

What’s your top tip for aspiring “Friend” writers? 

I always read the answers to this question with a lot of interest and I echo to read the “Friend” regularly before you sit down to write a story for the magazine. I’d also add, still write the sort of story you enjoy reading yourself. I think that shows through in a writer’s stories and helps connect with readers. 

Meet more of our writers and illustrators here.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.