Writer Of The Week: Amanda Parker

Our Writer Of The Week is Amanda Parker, whose story, “Sing To My Heart”, is in Special 257, on sale this week.

The story has a feel-good message to it. Was it important to you to highlight the gift of song?

Yes, music is so important and can help anyone from babies to people with dementia. I remember playing Abba records to my first son to get him off to sleep, which worked a treat. I especially like how music can cheer me up even on dark, dreary days. I’m loving sea shanties at the moment as well as binaural beats for relaxation.

The rural location worked well and complemented the characters. How much do you value story location?

The location is key to all sorts of things including characters’ occupations, the way they speak and act. I often like to match location to how the characters are feeling. So, for example, a story about someone who is feeling lonely will be set in a remote area, or a story about someone who has lots of worries will be set on a windy day.

What type of books do you like to read in your spare time?

I’m reading lots of children’s books currently as part of a course I’m doing, and it is such a joy. I’ve re-read “Tom’s Midnight Garden” by Philippa Pearce and discovered “Holes” by Louis Sachar and “Roll Of Thunder, Hear My Cry” by Mildred D. Taylor.

The last adult book I read was “Footsteps” by Richard Holmes, a fabulous book that entwines stories of great romantic writers with an autobiographical twist. To top it all, I was reading it on holiday and, by a coincidence, visited many of the places within the book.

Re publication, is it difficult to write seasonal or event stories in advance, e.g. writing winter stories in the summer?

I think it can be, but I am able to close my eyes and imagine say, Christmas in the summer or autumn in the spring. I get a certain emotional feeling for different seasons and I’m lucky to be able to tap into that.

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

Notebook for jotting down ideas then laptop for putting them together. I’d love an inspiring view from my laptop, but I can see the wood burner, which is comforting.

​What’s your one top tip for aspiring writers?

An online course for creative writing has taught me so much and increased my confidence no end. If I can squeeze in another tip, research who you’re writing for by reading, reading, reading and follow their guidelines. Good luck!

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.