Welcome, Keith Havers.

It’s time for the September People’s Friend Author interview, and I’m pleased to welcome Keith Havers on to my blog this month.

Keith Havers.                              Digital imageWP_20140909_16_34_34_Pro

 

He’s the first male author to feature on here since I began doing this back in the springtime. And, hot off the press, I hear that he has recently had an email from People’s Friend editor Shirley Blair accepting another story, so that’s good timing for the interview.

This was the first story I read, and enjoyed with your name on…granny at bus stop
S/  I read about the lady at the bus stop story, and enjoyed it. There was no idea of the twist coming. What gave you the idea for this story?
K/ I can’t remember exactly where the original idea came from but it started out as a very different story. My first attempt had the old lady as a slightly confused individual who absent-mindedly collected various items from the people she spoke to at the bus stop. I think it was a scarf from the young woman, the business man’s mobile phone and the little girl’s doll. Although the main character was acting in all innocence, the idea of a befuddled old lady didn’t go down very well at The People’s Friend. Editor Shirley Blair liked the writing though and suggested I give it another try. So I changed it to the old lady recruiting people to help out in the village.
S/  Was that your first People’s Friend submission, and how long had you been sending them stories before your first acceptance?
K/ It certainly wasn’t my first submission. On looking through my records I see that I tried twice in 2008 followed by another three attempts in 2011 before achieving success in March 2012. I think I was having trouble hitting the right tone for People’s Friend so I was concentrating on other markets.
S/  I know you write for several other magazines, how does writing for People’s Friend differ from say, Yours or Woman’s Weekly?
K/ The Friend stories have to be upbeat and have a happy ending. You need a conflict, of course, in order to create a story but you have to tread a fine line. Yours magazine are very clear on the sort of thing they like. They’re not very far removed from People’s Friend in that they like nostalgia stories and those that involve relationships across the generations. I’ve had a few successes with them with ‘grandson’ stories similar to The Rainbow Baby.
Take A Break are very different. Their stories can be edgier and themes can include romance, the paranormal and even murder.
With their readership split between the sexes, The Weekly News also accepts a wide range of stories.
I’ve submitted to Woman’s Weekly several times with no success so I’ve obviously not figured out their exact requirements yet.

 

S/  Does your Grandson know he’s an inspiration for your writing, I loved the knitting story, and what does he think of his Grandad, the storyteller?
K/ Finlay is eight years old and he’s well aware of his influence. In fact I used his real name in one of my stories that appeared in Yours magazine. He’s pretty blasé about it though. He’s more interested in playing football with me.
S/  Do you have a set time for People’s Friend writing, and a target number for submissions; or do you write when you feel the mood?
K/ I have a part-time ‘proper’ job which means I can be called out at a day’s notice so I’m never sure when I’m going to have time for writing. I try to maintain a situation where I have several submissions to various magazines out there. However, since I have now accumulated the grand total of five successes with People’s Friend I’m thinking of concentrating a little more of my time in that direction.
S/  How does it feel to be a male People’s Friend writer in a world that is quite strongly female dominated; (not with dominating females, I hasten to add) And have you ever been tempted to write under a female pen-name?
K/ While The Friend readership may be predominantly female the stories can be about men. Also, many of my stories would work just as well with either a male or a female protagonist so I don’t really have a problem. I have found the womag community very helpful and the fact that I am a man doesn’t appear to matter.

 

I attended a workshop at Nottingham Writers’ Club where I am a member. The tutor was Bead Roberts, a name which I’m sure will be familiar to many of your readers. I asked her about using a pseudonym and she had no hesitation in advising me to use my real name. Soon after that workshop I had my first acceptance and I keep Bead regularly informed of all my successes.
It was quite a struggle to get accepted for People’s Friend but once I had made the breakthrough I found Shirley Blair to be extremely helpful. If your submission is good but not quite acceptable she will e-mail you and let you know where you’ve gone wrong. She allowed me to have three attempts at one of my submissions before it was accepted. In fact, she made a special point of congratulating me that The Rainbow Baby was the first time I got through at the first attempt. None of the other magazines have done this.
I think that the one strength I do have is perseverance. If I had been less determined I would have given up a long time ago. So my advice for those still struggling is to keep sending in those submissions.
Take a look at Keith’s Blog here – Dream it, then do it

You can find him on Twitter here @KeithHavers
Thanks Keith for agreeing to this, and since I put these questions together, I notice from the People’s Friend blog, that Shirley Blair is asking for more male writers. So, hope to see a lot more of your stories in our favourite story magazine Keith, and maybe I should be Steven instead of Susan…

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Welcome, Samantha Tonge.

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Hello Samantha,

thank you for popping in to tell us about your story writing for People’s Friend. Glad you agreed to this interview, and look forward to learning more about you and your writing.

 
Thank you very much for having me!

 
Sue/ Can you remember the first story you sold to People’s Friend?

 
Sam/ Yes, I think it was a Christmas one I called Good Times, about a mother reflecting on how times change. For the first time she wasn’t hosting Christmas Day and found it difficult.

 
Sue/ Did you send in many stories before getting an acceptance?

 
Sam/ Not too many – but then I had spent years writing novels beforehand, to hone my skills. Also, I belonged to an online writing group with other magazine writers, who were so helpful at giving me a few pointers. Then, somehow I just clicked with the People’s Friend and really enjoy writing for them.

 
Sue/ You’ve written more than one story lately about Goth teenagers in love. Do you have one in your family?

 
Sam/ Very perceptive! Not a Goth, as such, but one of my teenagers loves wearing black and used to sometimes look similar to the Goth style. I went through a similar stage myself, at university! My father used to despair of the lack of colour in my wardrobe (he is a very colourful golfer.)

 
Sue/ I’ve read more than one of your stories in People’s Friend about Grandchild/Grandparent relationships. Did these have to be altered at all for publication, or were they accepted exactly how you submitted them?

 
Sam/ They were mostly accepted as I submitted them. I love writing about that kind of relationship, across the generations – I think both age-groups can learn something from the other.

 
Sue/ Your cowboy stories are lovely, with great atmosphere and descriptions. How do you know the details are correct when writing about the 1800’s?

 
Sam/ Thank you! Well, I do Google an awful lot! And I had already done some research for a cowboy novel I thought I might write, at one stage.

 

Sue/ I noticed you’d written a children’s story in an issue some time ago as well. Is this something you’d like to do more of, or was it a ‘one off?’

 
Sam/ It’s a matter of time now, what with the novels – but I do LOVE writing for children, it is huge fun and lovely to think of youngsters enjoying the story at bedtime.

 
Sue/ I can’t let you go without asking about the new book release. Without giving too much away, can you tell us anything else besides that it’s set in Paris?

 

Sam/ It is the standalone sequel to my debut, Doubting Abbey. Lord Edward has just proposed to fun-loving Gemma, but she is not sure whether to settle down. Their trip to the City of Love unexpectedly complicates matters, as do her new friendships with a mysterious spy called Joe and a very appealing rockstar, Blade!

 
Thanks Samantha for popping in and for giving us a bit more insight to your writing.

 

For tips on writing for The People’s Friend, why not visit this page on my website? http://samanthatonge.co.uk/page7.php
The most important piece of advice I can give is not to stereotype The People’s Friend as a magazine for inactive, old people. I’ve sold stories about characters of all ages, and the older ones go speed-dating, go-karting, use the internet and have mobile phones…

You can find out more from the links below.

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaTongeAuthor

Twitter, https://twitter.com/SamTongeWriter

Website, http://samanthatonge.co.uk/

Amazon UKhttp://www.amazon.co.uk/Paris-Love-Samantha-Tonge-ebook/dp/B00KYU49XK/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1407231231&sr=8-3&keywords=from+paris+with+love

Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Paris-Love-Samantha-Tonge-ebook/dp/B00KYU49XK/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1407231287&sr=8-3&keywords=from+paris+with+love

 

 

 

What’s new?

My internet is back on again now. The modem died, and I was panicking a bit, because it’s time for me to send in my latest Redington story to

Creative Frontiers. It should be published next week. Will keep you informed on when it’s up there.

This latest one is Redington 111 and it’s called ‘Murder at Brook House Farm.’

Hope you can pop over and read what’s going on there. It’s been good fun to write, and now I’ve started on the next one.

Murder stories are catching to write, once you’ve done one, you want to do another.

Now I have a kindle…… so I can catch up on all those e.books lurking around on my computer. In my snazzy green covered kindle.

I’ve been promoted to supervisor at work. Not just an ordinary visor, a SUPER..visor. You have to watch Mrs Brown to find that remotely funny.

So, I still drive the van, and help anyone out, or tell them what to do if they’re stuck. On the same day I found out I’d been promoted, Alan listened to my news for ages, then said, ‘I’ve got some news as well.’ He’s got more hours at his job, and now he’s happy with the amount of work he’s got. So isn’t that funny, at around the same hour of the same day, we were both being told that we’re appreciated for what we do….

There are some great giggles coming up for August, and a People’s Friend interview with Samantha Tonge; call back soon.

 

 

Welcome Wendy Clarke.

It’s a great pleasure to welcome the writer who has taken People’s Friend by storm. Wendy has become a regular writer, with a story published in most issues, and the specials and seasonal issues of the Friend as well.

 

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Hello Wendy, thanks for taking time to share some of your writing experiences with us on my blog.

It’s lovely to be here, Susan – thanks for inviting me.

S/ Have you always written short stories, or is this something relatively new you’ve started?

W/ Unlike a lot of People’s Friend writers, I would be lying if I said I had spent my life writing short stories. In fact, until I was made redundant and started an online writing course three years ago, I hadn’t written a story since I was in school. I was lucky to have an amazing English teacher who I wanted to please and he was very complimentary about my writing – my mother still knows him and recently gave him a pile of my magazines to read and he said he wasn’t surprised I’d become a writer – I was so proud! When I became an English teacher myself (in a primary school) I was always saying to the children, “Ooh, I wish I could write that…” whenever I set them a story. Now of course, I can’t imagine stopping – it’s part of my life!

S/ You have recently started writing under a different name. Is there any special reason for this?

W/ I write under my own name but my editor at The Friend wanted to use two of my stories in the Summer Special and they don’t like to have a name used twice, so asked if I’d have a pen name for this occasion. It’s only happened once so far but I felt rather pleased to be asked. The other magazines I write for are happy to have multiple stories by the same author using their own name (my record is three in one issue). The only downside of having a pen name is that if you particularly like the story, you feel as if your fictitious author has taken the glory!

S/ You are a great help to me, and other writers with your informative blog. How important is social media to you and your writing?

W/ Thank you, Susan – that’s lovely of you to say so. I started my blog, Wendy’s Writing Now, when I had my first sale at the end of 2012 and I wanted it to chart my journey from that day to wherever my writing career would take me. I also wanted it to be helpful to other new writers – when I first started writing, I spent a lot of time reading other writers’ blogs in search of answers to my writing questions and wanted to give something back. Also, writing can be a lonely business and without social media, I wouldn’t have been able to meet other lovely writers such as yourself . As for Facebook, I avoided it for ages and then succumbed in April of this year – but purely for writing purposes. I have to say it has been immensely useful for information. I expect I shall have to join Twitter soon as well. Anyone tell me how?

S/ How does writing for the People’s Friend differ from the other popular magazines that you write for?

W/ I write for Take a Break fiction Feast and Woman’s Weekly as well as The People’s Friend and enjoy the different style of writing required for each. If I’m writing a twist story, I’ll probably send it to Woman’s Weekly and if I have written something more contemporary with say a teenager as my main character, then I would send it to Fiction Feast. Romances and historical stories, I always save for The Friend. Having said that, there is definitely a cross-over between the magazine. What I particularly like about writing for The People’s Friend is working with my editor. He has been like a mentor to me, encouraging and guiding, and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that my writing has improved since I started working with him two years ago.

S/ I know you’re working on a novel. Do you see yourself writing a pocket novel for People’s Friend? If so, in which era would you set the story?

w/ Ha ha -don’t mention the novel… I haven’t started it yet! After saying on my blog that I was thinking about writing one, I started writing a serial instead… and then another one. I’m not good at doing two things at a time. I don’t think I would write a Pocket Novel because if I’m going to write that many words, I may as well write more and do a whole novel. If I did, though, it would be historical – probably set in the mid nineteenth century. What I shall be doing in the near future, though, is putting together a collection of my published stories – watch this space.

Thank you so much for inviting me to be a guest on your lovely blog, Susan, and for being such a big supporter of my own.

It’s been a pleasure hearing more about your writing journey Wendy, and keep those lovely stories flowing….

 

http://wendyswritingnow.blogspot.co.uk/

Wendy on Facebook.

 

July Giggle blog.

A couple of giggles to keep you going. Sometimes, things are funny to you at the time, and they might not sound that funny, so here we go.

I’ve recently published The Angel and the Poet, and I needed a lovely front cover, which I found on a site called fiverr… It cost five dollars, which works out at £3.80, which is quite a bargain as it is exactly what I wanted. So, when I’d done that, up popped a question, ‘do you want to place a gig of your own?’ Each thing someone does is a gig. So I thought I’d put a gig on there. I’ve got four gigs. The first one, write a short story for children, 500 words is a fiverr, and in a few days, I’d had three gigs to do, so I was rocking and rolling with my gigs… As I sat telling our Son in the garden, I explained there’s a website where you can do all sorts of things, anything for a fiver. His face took on a look of horror….

He said, ‘tell me you’re not on the internet saying I’ll do anything for a fiverrr….’ I said, ‘nooooo, story writing.’ He didn’t look convinced.

More on fiverr in another post. It’s not all the sweetness and light you might think. Good job Mr Sensible asked me the copyright question.

Anyway, giggle number two came when I was out on my early morning cleaning round….

We turned up at this ancient old mill, that is converted into offices, and has three floors. This one office had lots of paper rubbish in a pile. Like boxes of brochures, and leaflets. Talk about waste of paper, and they’re a company promoting no waste! It was so heavy, and so much that my lady boss said, ‘let’s put it all on the trolley and in the lift. We’re not carrying all that down the stairs.’

Ten minutes later, a lady wearing stilettos came dashing in to where me and the bosses Son were working and stated, ‘is that your rubbish in the lift, because if it is it will make the lift smell, and we can’t use the lift?’ He directed her to where his mum was standing. She gave out the same statement. My boss answered, ‘no, actually it’s your rubbish and it doesn’t smell, because it’s leaflets and brochures.’ She also told her to go straight to her with problems and not come moaning to us…… (funny eh?) The Son took the rubbish, and dumped it all in the skip, as it was too heavy for me or his Mum to lift.

Then we were half way to the next job, and the bosses Son piped up. ‘Oh, I’ve just remembered, I’ve left their trolley in the lift!’ His Mum said, ‘oh, I’ll have to ring them up, they’ll think we’re taking the mickey. Can you imagine me in the back having fits of laughter…..

I’m sure the lady in stilettos was only peeved because she couldn’t use the lift and she had to use her little legs and walk up the stairs.

skunkblue vanI drive the van now sometimes. It’s a diesel engine, and sounds like a tractor. That’s the end of giggles and talk about gigs for July, more next month.

Coming soon, People’s Friend author, Wendy Clarke in the interview chair. It’s a good one, watch out for that around 8th July……

Keep giggling, there will always be something, and if there isn’t, you just aren’t looking hard enough!

Welcome Della Galton.

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It’s a massive pleasure to welcome Della Galton on to the People’s Friend author page for June. I’ve been following Della’s stories for a long while, so now let’s get a cup of tea, and hear from one of our greatest story writers.

It’s a pleasure to welcome Della Galton to my blog today. I’ve heard you described as Queen of magazine fiction, Della, but for me you’re more like the girl next door. Although perhaps a good thing for you that you don’t live next door to me, or I’d be popping my head in every day asking, ‘what do you think of this?’ It’s lovely that you always find time to help people who are trying to write a saleable story.

I’m definitely more of a girl next door than a queen, tee hee! And thank you for asking me to visit.

S/ You’re always busy on workshops and giving helpful advice, I wonder how you find time for your own writing?

D/ To be honest, Susan, it’s with difficulty. It’s not just the talks and the workshops – I love doing these – it’s the promotion of books I find is a real time eater. As well as doing my own blog I do Twitter and Facebook. I do at least one full day a week purely on PR – possibly more. If I know I want to write a story – as I did today (well half of one) I need to start with that and not even look at social media.

S/ When you had your first acceptance for People’s Friend, how long had you been sending stories in to them?
D/ Now, I have a sneaking suspicion that it didn’t work like that. I had been writing for My Weekly for a long time and my editor there, who was Angela Gilchrist, moved over to People’s Friend. She then wrote to me and asked if I would like to try my hand at writing for the Friend. Not to say that she accepted my first story or anything, but it was what prompted me to try.

S/  You have a clear and crisp style of story writing. Not a word too many, and often the ending isn’t what I thought it would be. So how do you get away with an unpredictable ending for People’s Friend, like ‘moving in the right direction’ with June, who should have gone to Canada, to her family, then pleased herself and stayed in England?

 

D/ Thank you for saying so but I’m not sure my endings are that unpredictable really – not too much for The Friend anyway. I tend to write with a universal truth (something we can all relate to) in my mind and the universal truth of that particular story was that it’s OK to make a major decision and then change your mind.

S/  I enjoyed the article in the ‘Friend,’ with you, at Battersea Dogs home. Was this your idea, or did People’s Friend ask you to go there, and any plans to visit again? I hope so. Did you get your dogs from there?

D/  They asked me to go – and I must say I was absolutely delighted. I love dogs. I couldn’t go there again unless I had a vacancy for another dog though because I would fall in love with someone with four paws and that would be that. It wouldn’t matter that I didn’t have a vacancy – this has happened before. I once had three dogs and then I brought one back from Greece! I am learning to be more moderate. And no I haven’t ever got a dog from Battersea but there’s plenty of time 🙂

S/  I enjoyed the story ‘walking a tightrope’ with the girl who went back to her parents’ home. How long would you say it takes you to get a story just right for the People’s Friend?

D/ Probably about two hours to write the beginning and then two days to get the end and polish it. That’s how long it takes me to get a story right for most mags. I know that people say The Friend can be hard to write for because they have a lot of restrictions, but actually I find that it’s the opposite. I think more restrictions make for easier writing because it’s clear what you can and can’t do.

S/  Writing as you do, for a range of magazines, how would you compare writing for People’s Friend, in relation to the other women’s magazine markets?

D/ I think there can be a perception that the Friend is very cosy and won’t take anything sad, but I haven’t found that to be the case. I’ve written plenty of sad stories for them. I don’t like twee stories – I like something to happen, I like a bit of pain – that sounds awful, doesn’t it, but it’s also important to make sure the ending is hopeful and upbeat. And the other key thing to remember is that the characters have to be warm. They don’t like baddie characters very much, tee hee!

S/ Any other information you can share with us about writing for People’s Friend would be great, thank you. That little blue book is my short-story writing bible as well, and the toolbox series is fabulous. Thank you, Della, for taking time out to pop over today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY…. (Sorry, just had to say it!!)

Thank you for having me, Susan. And thanks for saying such nice things about my books. And for the birthday wishes – don’t tell anyone how old I am!

More on writing for The Friend

One day a couple of years ago I was feeling quite poorly and it was all I could do to struggle to the settee. I wanted something to read but not just any old thing. I wanted something comforting ¬¬- something that wouldn’t tax me too much, something that would make me smile and definitely nothing distressing. I had several magazines around the place as I always do, but it was The Friend that I reached for. Now that is a very good thing to bear in mind if you’re writing for them. Ask yourself these questions:

Is my story comforting? Is it easy reading? And is someone likely to be cheered and/or inspired when they have read it?
If you would like to know more about writing short stories I’d be delighted if you’d take a look at my latest book, The Short Story Writer’s Toolshed. Click here to buy or find out more.
Also, my latest novel, which is definitely not a suitable story for the People’s Friend is called Ice and a Slice. Click here to buy or find out more.

Della’s website is here

 http://www.dellagalton.co.uk/

Her blog is here….http://www.dellagalton.co.uk/?page_id=28

 

https://www.facebook.com/DailyDella

https://twitter.com/DellaGalton

Thank you Della for spending time to chat on the blog, I’m reading Ice and a Slice at the moment…..

 

 

June Giggle Blog.

ATT00042We’ve been out enjoying the sunshine on the car-boot today, getting rid of a few surplus things. And here’s a few great giggles for you to enjoy, they made me smile.

I was sitting reading, and Alan was watching the busy traffic going past our house, and his face suddenly changed. His mouth opened, and eyes, and he looked completely shocked. Then he stood up, and went to the window. He said, a motorbike went past, then another, then another, and then one with no rider. From his seat, the bike was going along on it’s own. When he stood up, he saw it was being towed by a small car, and was up on a trailer. His face was the best part of it though.

Next giggle was when I stood in to water Mom and Dad’s garden, and pop in to the house while they had a much needed week away. I’d go and open the windows, have a cup of tea, water the greenhouse. And half the week was hot, so that meant getting the hose out and doing the back and front. The other half it rained, so it was only the tomatoes and cucumbers in the greenhouse that wanted water. As I left, walking down their long drive, I looked back on day one, and it felt really odd, not to wave to Mom who always waves either from the window or the drive. So on day two, when I looked back again, it occurred to me that you never know who’s watching, so I waved to the window, feeling a bit daft, but I had to pretend she was there…. and then when I go just out of sight, I had to wave again. Have you ever waved to an empty house? Feels silly, but it had to be done for safety’s sake…. so the rest of the week I’d walk down the drive, and half way, I’d turn and go, byeeee, waving, having a bit of a giggle to myself.

I’m enjoying the new job, where I go out early and clean offices and factory canteens with my boss and her family. They do a domestic clean, and they were saying how it’s more detailed with things like ornaments and glass objects to clean around. So we were out at someone’s home, and I was in the kitchen, as she’d had a message left that she wanted the cupboard fronts wiping over. Next thing I knew, I’d heard a clang, and a china ornament was hurtling down wooden stairs, somersaulting as it went. You know when time stands still, and your brain says, ‘I need to catch it, but I won’t have time. Then SMASH!!! A headless cat was on the hallway floor. Oops. Luckily the lady was alright about it, and thank goodness I didn’t send china puss to his beheading. I was quite wary of dusting round the other items though.

ATT00070Glad to be home out of the heat, and hope you enjoyed the giggles for this month.

 

On 12th June, I have another People’s Friend author interview lined up.

You’ll love it, and I’m keeping it a surprise, so tune in then for a real treat.

Speaking of a real treat, there’s Alan relaxing. I nabbed him having a break in-between

customers.

Welcome Pat Posner

Hope you’ve got a cup of tea, or coffee, so that you can settle down and enjoy this wonderful interview wit Pat Posner. I’m thrilled that Pat has agreed to be our featured author for May. Her stories are magical. For regular readers of People’s Friend, you will know that there aren’t many issues without one of Pat’s stories in there.

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Your favourite, Pat Posner

Friend favourite, Pat Posner

I began following Pat’s stories when I read a Cresslethwaite story. The mobile library was shutting down, and the character in the story depended on the library for her busy days in the tea shop. She came up with the idea of finding a corner for books, and this became the lending library. It was such a lovely story, I immediately wanted to go and visit Cresslethwaite, and have a drink in that tea-room, chat to the people, and find a book. That is the mark of a good story teller, and I’ve been hooked on Pat’s stories ever since.

 

S/ Pat, my first introduction to your stories was one set in the picturesque village of Cresslethwaite.
Where is this lovely place? Is it somewhere you’ve visited, or a mixture, because wherever it is, I want to go and visit.

P/ Hello, Susan. Thank you so much for inviting me here for a chat.
Cresslethwaite has quite a lot in common with the small villages and settlements in Littondale – a dale in North Yorkshire. It’s probably most like the main village, Arncliffe, where the outside locations for Emmerdale Farm (as it was in its early days) were filmed.

S/ We’d like to know a bit more about your Craikeworth Hall stories please? Did you write these with a particular place in mind, and did you need to research, or are the stories purely fiction? Since putting this issue together, I read on the letters page that one lady gave her son the middle name Craik, after the hall. The registrar wanted to put Craig, but she was adamant, he would be Craik. You’ve started a new trend Pat.

P/ I was researching traditions related to Shrove Tuesday and came across information about the Skipping Festival held in Scarborough on Pancake Day. It has been an annual event since 1903. Well, I’d already got a few characters (downstairs staff of a big house called Craikeworth Hall) ‘screaming’ for a story and, all along, I’d known they were from the early 1900s. I’d spent quite a while with them already – making sure their names were not only from the right era but also matched their personalities. Characters’ names are very important to me, once they’ve got the right name they spring to life.

Anyway, I decided Craikeworth Hall would be somewhere a couple of miles away from Scarborough and that some of the maids were hoping to go to the Skipping Festival. The rest, as they say, “is History”.

S/ Now, Pat, we can’t go any further without talking about the pre-fab stories. Set in the wonderful Broome Park Village, 1950’s era. Family spirit and sharing with neighbours is the theme that comes across in these adorable stories with those brilliant illustrations to match. You have the knack of showing us how hard times can be warm and wonderful in these stories. What made you choose such an unlikely setting for a series that can never read enough of?

P/ I honestly don’t know how I chose it. The prefab village and the villagers living there just sort of ‘came’ as the complete deal. When I realised the village was near a park, I chose Broome Park Prefab Village for the name because my favourite park when I was a tot (in the 1950s) was Broomfield Park – there weren’t any prefabs near it, though.

S/ We also love the Lobb Clough Farm stories. Recent one has been published in May issue of People’s Friend. Did you live on a farm, or is it purely from imagination?

P/ We do live in a farmhouse on a sheep farm but, although they seem to think differently, they aren’t our sheep and we aren’t farmers. I have used our farmhouse and surroundings in short stories and in a pocket novel but Lobb Clough Farm and its labourers’ cottages are set on a different Lancashire moor. The stories take us back to life in the 1840s.

S/ with so many series of stories going on, it’s sometimes easy to forget that you also write loads of stand-alone stories. Do you prefer to write something completely different, or are you happier writing the favourites?

P/ Oh, that’s a hard one to answer. As long as I’m happy with a story-line and I feel I really know the characters, I’m happy to write their story whether it’s a stand-alone or part of a series. Though, shhh! I think I love my prefab folk the ‘mostest’.

S/ How many stories did you send to People’s Friend before you had an acceptance? I know it wouldn’t have been many:)

P/ I think it was only two or three. “A Dog for Grandad” was published in 2006. I think that was after I’d had my first Pocket Novel accepted. But after that one short story acceptance the next few mss were rejected (with very helpful comments). I was still mainly writing children’s books back then so I didn’t try any more stories for the “Friend” until around 2010. The first four were rejected but I kept trying and “Cream-tea Tuesdays”, the first Cresslethwaite story was accepted in 2011.

S/ Any other information you have to tell us on People’s Friend Pat, your journey to becoming one of their top writers would be great.

P/ After the Cresslethwaite acceptance I really, really stuck at it and concentrated only on writing stories for the People’s Friend. I’d always loved the magazine – reading it for research (very important) as well as for pleasure wasn’t a hardship – and, after a few more acceptances, to think I might become a regular “Friend” writer kept me going through the rejections – and, yes, I still get a few! My editor, the lovely Shirley Blair, gives fantastic feedback and very often her comments help me turn a ‘No’ into a ‘Yes’. I feel the entire PF team are friends and I hope I’ll be writing for the magazine, and writing Pocket Novels, too, for many years to come.

S/ Amazing interview Pat, and thank you so much for taking time to let us into your People’s Friend world.

You can find Pat’s blog here…..http://writeupthehill.blogspot.co.uk/

Her latest Pocket Novel is on sale now.  Tangled Web009

Also she has lots of children’s books, can be found on her blog. I like the look of this one.

punch and JudyLooks good doesn’t it?

 

Look out for another interview in June…………

 

 

May Giggle Blog

Last week, I needed to get a new dress for a do coming up this weekend. Well, a meal rather than a do. And, speaking of meals, I think I’ve been overdoing it a bit. When I went in to the changing rooms, armed with three items I liked, I seemed to have attracted three unwanted guests.

There was Mrs chinigan who’d stuck herself around my neck. Her friend, Mrs hipster morish-moremore, who’d attached to my waist, and their mate came at me from behind, she’s Mrs wobble-bottom. They gave me a fright; especially as there were five mirrors, all showing close ups of these unwanted invaders. They have to go. I don’t want them around at all.

Not surprisingly, none of the items fitted, so I went off on a tangent and took three over-sized items in which were too big. Eventually, to the sales girl’s relief, I settled on the medium ones. (That’s me being kind to myself)

ATT00077

So I’ve been at the gym every day, bashing them all with the rowing machine, treadmill and other things they don’t like. I know they all hate oranges as well, and eggs. So I’m on the orange and egg plan, with salad, to get rid of these hags who have had the cheek to adopt me.

 

Here’s a preview of the dress I ended up with. The lovely sales assistant told me, ‘that’s quite a find, the only one of it’s kind in the store. So, hope to wear it quite a lot before I kick those three intruders off.

photo (2) Here’s me with my gym buddy who makes sure I turn up, and batter the three invaders.

Speaking of adopting, I went to a job interview. It was for a job in a coffee shop in a clothes shop, in a ski-centre. Sounds confusing? When I told people, they said, ‘oh, yes, the ski-centre’s a great place to work. It was one of those ‘fun’ days. Oh, haven’t had so much fun since I fell off a gate!

A group of around fifteen of us assembled in a room at the top of the ski-centre. First of all, I naturally went into the coffee shop in there. Almost had a cake and coffee, but I’d have been late, so resisted. A couple of tables were full of people, busy writing, and another table was free. There was a chap busy filling in his form, so I joined him. He looked familiar. Turns out he used to collect the rubbish from outside our shop on the estate. He was funny. Didn’t want to give personal details, hadn’t got a reference. Before we went, they’d told us if we hadn’t got this list of five things, with those two on it, we wouldn’t be considered for the job.

After that, he attached himself to me, and began following me around. Much like Mrs chinigan and hipster morish-moremore, and that pest Mrs wobble-bottom, he adopted me for the day. We had to stand up and tell the group about our partner. Which, by now, he’d made sure I was his partner. (oh lords and ladies…) He completely forgot everything I’d told him about me. The only thing he remembered was that I’d had a shop….  One of the main things was, you had to love coffee for this job, which was in a Starbucks, that’s going to be coming in a Next. I actually much prefer earl-grey tea, so when I didn’t get the job I didn’t cry buckets. The funniest thing was, Mr new best friend shouted after me as I left, ‘see you again, when we work together!’

Sorry I can’t post the video as promised, everyone’s deleted it from their phones. (I think they had an inkling I’d be posting it here:)

A giggle from Ann; she had a week off recently, and as you do, she had a browse around indeed, where you see what jobs are on offer. As you would, she posted her c.v. and viewed a few options.

Ann and Iwie.

After a nice week off, visiting her brother, and popping to see us, she went back to work. The manager said, “can I have a word, are you leaving us?” Ann kept a straight face and said, “oh, no, why would I do that? I’m happy here, oh no, most definitely not.” (For some reason I think a Mrs Doubtfire voice would work best here.

“Oh, only your c.v. has turned up in the hotel, as applying for the job there.”

Ann works on the receptionist in the spa, of the same hotel. The useful people, or robots at indeed, automatically send your c.v to employers where they think you’d be suited. Ten minutes later, I had one of those texts, omg. cringe…cringe… guess what???

Digital image

For the rest of the day, she kept getting asked, ‘so you’re not looking for another job?’

She’s happy where she is, so hopefully she explained, that her c.v. had always been on there, and it’s the indeed automated service:0)

Digital image Our Son popped in the other day. He was busy texting, so I asked him, ‘have you got a new girlfriend?’ He said, ‘yes.’ So I asked him if he had a photo. He replied. ‘Hang on, not sure if there’s one of her with her clothes on!’ Luckily there was, and she’s really pretty, lucky girl I’d say.

 

People’s Friend interview with Pat Posner is coming up on 12th May, and it’s a good one.

Nail Art

Digital image

 

Over Easter, our Daughter Ann had chance to practice her skills as a creative nail artist.

And five-year old Isla was first in the queue to be the model. Notice the colour she chose. Not only

purple, but glittery purple.

Find Ann and her creative hobbies on Pintrest.

I’m on Pintrest. It’s great fun, but allow an hour if you’re going to pin.

Her sister found one of Aled’s dressing up props – a black afro wig. And their mum had a go on his roller boots.

I’ll post a home-made video on the giggle blog for May.

We all made cakes, so we have lots of cakes to eat. Good job I went swimming and for a long walk today.

Now, off to put my c.v. in at a local shop. Fingers crossed. And, yes, they’re purple glittery nails on fingers crossed.

Hot off the press for St. George’s Day, you can read my latest Alfie dog story here. Lucky by name…. about a little black poodle.

You can read my latest short story here. Grumpy old man abroad.

Hope you enjoy reading that.

And, I can now tell you that lined up for the next People’s Friend interview, I have Pat Posner. If you read People’s Friend, then you will know that there aren’t many issues that don’t have one of Pat’s stories included. And they’re the best. Tune in on 12th May for that.

Enjoy the rest of Easter week, and giggle blog with video coming soon.