Fresh Fic­tion

Meet some of the new au­thors be­hind this week’s fab­u­lous short story se­lec­tion.

The People's Friend - - Real Life 65 -

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.

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