Meet some of the new authors behind this week’s fabulous short story selection.
AS you’ll know from the Ed’s Letter, this week’s stories are all first acceptances – authors that are new to our pages and are being published in the “Friend” for the first time. During National Short Story Week, we’re keen to highlight some of the great new talent coming through, and we thought we’d introduce you to some of the people behind this issue’s wonderful fiction.
First of all, though, Fiction Editor Shirley told us a little about the value of new writers for the magazine.
Q how important is it for readers and for the magazine to have new writers coming through?
It’s vital – and I mean that in the sense that it’s what keeps the “Friend” vibrant and interesting and up-to-date for our readers. New writers bring fresh ideas, new styles, different perspectives and life experience, and that all feeds into the stories they write.
Q IS it exciting to read something unsolicited and feel a growing sense that you might have a new writer in your hands?
It very much is. There are four of us on the fiction team and we all love that feeling of discovery. I’m also grateful to those writers for sending their work to us. If they’re new to us, chances are they’re new full stop, and I respect the trust they’ve placed in us by sending their creative baby our way. I’m also grateful that it’s “People’s Friend” readers they’ve chosen to entertain with their work.
Q what challenges does short story writing have as a discipline that are different from any other form of writing?
I guess combining the natural inclination to be creative with the necessity sometimes of grounding your story in fact and research, which is especially relevant when writing a historical piece.
But the writer is also creating characters that the reader can believe in as if they were real people.
They have to sound authentic and natural. And they have to act logically, as people actually would, in the given situation. And they really have to prompt an emotional reaction and touch the heart of the reader. It’s a special skill.
Q IS there a sense of anticipation when you put a new story out into print? When you’re keen (and curious) to see how readers react?
There is. I hope the readers are as impressed and excited as I was the first time I read these writers’ work. You know how you feel when you share a new discovery with a friend, whether it’s a fab new restaurant, a place you visit, or a food you’ve never tried before? I feel the same when I get to share a new writer with our readers.