We have a chat to Ann whose pocket novel comes out on Thursday.
Tell us about your pocket novel, “We’ll Meet Again”.
I didn’t decide to write a pocket novel. The story just grew! I’d written the first part of what became “We’ll Meet Again” as a short story. During lockdown I emailed it to a friend thinking she’d enjoy the setting as she loves the Hebrides. She told me that she enjoyed the story which ended at the point where Molly is left behind when Charlie is posted away from Rodel but wanted to know what happened next, so I continued their story. I checked the guidelines and found that I’d written too many words for even a long short story but about the required number for a pocket novel.
Have you always written fiction?
I’ve always made up stories and English was by far my best subject at school. As a reception class teacher I didn’t have time to write and enjoyed doing so once I’d taken early retirement.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Although I enjoy reading contemporary novels by Mary Lawson, Alice Hoffman, Claire Fuller, Rachel Joyce and Elizabeth Strout, the books I return to are the “Anne of Green Gables” series that I loved as a child, “The Magic Apple Tree” by Susan Hill and my comfort reading during the pandemic, Miss Read’s “Fairacre” books.
How long did it take you to complete your pocket novel?
I enjoyed writing Molly and Charlie’s story and was able to draw on my father’s memories of being posted to Harris during WW2 to provide an authentic background. I spent about six weeks researching and writing the story and ended up very behind with Christmas preparations as a result.
What are your future writing plans?
For me an idea has to be good enough to justify a story and often two ideas come together and can be combined. I have just written a 40,000 word story set in the Welsh Marches. Entitled “The Dark One” it has mildly sinister overtones. I have written a 140,000 saga novel and learned a lot by doing so but I think it will stay on a memory stick.
What advice would you give to people trying to break into the women’s fiction market?
I’d advise anyone trying to break into the women’s fiction market to note down ideas as they occur, it’s so easy to forget them. It’s also essential to think of the reader and gain an idea of the type of stories used in individual magazines to give you an idea of what their readers enjoy reading about.
Thank you, Ann!