1. Do you remember the first short story you sold to a women’s magazine? Which one was it, and what was it about?
My first sale was to Australia’s Woman’s Day magazine. The story was called “A Red Rose”, a romantic twist. The setting is a wedding. When the bride walks down the aisle, she has to force herself to keep her eyes on the groom. She’s actually in love with the best man, her ex, and hadn’t known he’d be here. Then the director says, “Cut”. Between scenes being filmed, she and her ex sort things out.
2. Are there many markets in Australia for short stories, and how do they differ from U.K. ones?
That’s Life and Fast Fiction are our major magazine markets. They seem similar to Fiction Feast, but with fiction editors changing quite frequently, there’s always a chance to offer previously rejected stories. Take 5 Fiction Feast is a newcomer but essentially uses stories from the UK Fiction Feast, sourced directly. We also have magazines such as Cosmos which publish sci-fi. And a growing number of literary magazines such as Wet Ink and Positive Words. There are other magazines which use stories but have no dedicated fiction editor and approach writers rather than being open to general submissions. Family Circle is an example.
3. I enjoyed your story in Iain Patterson’s Quintessentially Quirky tales book. I may even start sewing dolls of certain people as well, but put them in the garden instead. How did the story in his collection come about? They’re all good stories in there by the way.
I was tired and irritable from lack of sleep when I wrote that story. We’d driven down into northern New South Wales and were staying in a small cottage on a farm. As soon as I went to bed, there was a huge storm. Windows rattled, the wind howled outside, and I ended up with only a few hours sleep. Probably nearly as disgruntled as my character, Connie.
I’d brought a beret I was knitting…
And I felt angry. A bus had hit the new Peugeot a friend had lent us, causing quite a bit of damage along one side. The powers that be denied there’d even been a bus in the street at the time, despite the fact we’d both seen it. My husband had actually been in the car at the time it was hit, and I’d written down the number.
So I needed somewhere to put my anger – and by coincidence one of Connie’s victims may have had the same name as one of those concerned…
4. Above my desk there’s a poster with the article in Writers’ Forum. There’s you, me, Della and Teresa. That was really exciting for me to be with three special writers. We spoke about e-publishing there. Is this something you’ll be doing more of as short story markets seem to be shrinking?
To be honest I can’t see me doing much of this. With short story markets shrinking, and fewer opportunities to resell stories to several magazines, my focus has started to shift to non-fiction. I’ve always enjoyed writing articles. It’s nice to have a certain sale when you write something that’s been commissioned. So in my spare time, I’m reading books like Simon Whaley’s The Complete Article Writer and Deborah Durbin’s So You Want To Be A Freelance Writer?
Having said that, I want to put together some books of my published stories, mainly for family and friends. I might as well put out eBook versions of them. My daughter’s come up with a wonderful cover for me too. I’m aiming to have the first one ready before Christmas.
5. Looking forward to reading Edit is a four letter word. Can you tell us about the new book? What or who inspired you to write it, and what will be next?
I suppose once the title popped into my head one night – as it did! – I wanted to use it. So my antennae were alert when there was something on the Compass Books Facebook page about wanting an editing book for writers. It was more coincidental timing than inspiration really.
Once I got the go-ahead, I kept the younger generation of my family in mind. We’re a family full of creatives – drawing, painting, dancing, music, woodworking, photography. Some already have unfinished manuscripts sitting in drawers.
I’m hoping my experiences might be of help. And I’ve tried to include as many other writers as was feasible. Editing is an individual thing and we each have to find our own way.
There are no plans for a next book. But if the right idea and opportunity come along again it’s something I’d enjoy doing.
Thank you, Glynis for taking time to pop in today, and good luck with the new book. It’s on my list already.