‘Just write’. I have been just writing since I was six, when I wrote a poem which my mother sent to my father who was working at that time in either Khartoum or Rome.
At the age of ten I was sent to boarding school. Just writing was compulsory.
Having been brought up in the New Forest, Sudan, Italy, Argentina, Uruguay and Syria where the food was delicious, my letters to mother were complaints about pilchards in tomato sauce and crocodile walks and being bored by school.
My letters to my father were different. I felt deeply sorry at his being away from our English home. I entertained him with what my young brother had done and what the dog did. When he didn’t reply, my mother goaded him into answering, but the important thing for me was that I was, I thought, amusing him.
Now I come to think of it, my latest book is a novel in letters from a man to his ranching partner who never answers!
My second lesson in learning to write came when I was sent to France for two weeks to learn French. The daughter of the house did not welcome me and her mother imported her nephew to talk with me. He wasn’t conventionally attractive but he was funny, and he drove me around the countryside in his Deux Chevaux and made me speak in French of my upbringing, and the escapades of myself and my friends.
So I learnt to tell stories.
The problem of telling stories and writing letters is they are short.
Imagine my delight when I looked on Victorina Press’s website and it specified books of no more than 70,000 words and on finding its strapline was ‘Bibliodiversity is beautiful’. When I discovered Victorina Press aims to publish, among other things, feminist and South American material, I was delighted. The two main characters in Brockenspectre are women seeking their independence, and the novel is set in the English Lake District and Argentina with side trips to Whitby and Chile.
As I said, my latest book, Hunting Jenet Nish is epistolary and very short, but having the luck to be published by Victorina Press means I continue to JUST WRITE!