Last year I submitted a short story to the wonderful For Books Sake when they announced they would be putting together a YA anthology and lo and behold it got selected! With the release date for (RE)Sisters now on the horizon (8th February people), I thought I'd share a bit about how my story came about as well as a sneaky extract.
It all started with a prompt. My writing buddy Jo and I selected three music videos for each other with the idea of creating a few paragraphs inspired by each one, and my story, Operation M, began life as a response to the video for 'People Help the People' by Birdy. For this particular prompt, I quickly found I couldn't stop until I eventually ended up with something that had the potential to become a fully formed short story which doesn't happen too often with me. I suppose the moral is that you never really know where you're going to find your next dollop of inspiration. Oh, and try out writing prompts because they really work - you might not come out with a story at the end of it all, but they're great practice and a good laugh which is just as important in the whole scheme of things I think.
I don’t expect it was how they’d planned it. Maybe they didn’t have a plan at all. Maybe they were just going to wait and wait and eventually forget that I hadn’t left the house in several years, or that I was even there at all. I’d tried to explain to Dr Carroll that the triggers, the clues, they weren’t working. But he said I needed to have patience and that eventually I might be able to remember the name of our first dog (Barry, apparently) or what my favourite subject at school was, or what my cousin Christine looks like, or that our neighbour used to have a budgie called Brilliant Bill who I liked to talk to when I was six (according to my sister Caitlin, Mrs Briggs was very disappointed that this wasn’t one of the very first things that came back to me after I woke up). I hadn’t forgotten everything. I could remember what it felt like when Mother was in hospital giving birth to my brother Alastair (like standing on the edge of a ravine). But I couldn’t remember the name of Alastair’s boarding school, or why he’s scared of cats. And I knew almost immediately that I didn’t particularly like the company of Caitlin, but I still couldn’t remember her middle name, no matter how many times I’d been told it before she’d slammed yet another door in my face.
So what about this anthology then? Well, it's called (RE)Sisters and it's a celebration of women and girls in all our diverse glory. To find out more (and to pre-order), have a look here, and if you end up reading my story in full, you might find out how what that extract has in common with the video below...