Today I am happy to welcome Wendy Clarke onto the blog to talk about her new book of short Christmas stories, Silent Night. If you’re looking for something to get you in the mood I highly recommend this one.
What is your book about?
My book is a collection of thirteen short stories with a Christmas theme. All of them have previously been published in national women’s magazines. They are a window into the lives of ordinary people – some old, some young – at this special time of year. They offer hope, comfort and the knowledge that the spirit of Christmas is often found within ourselves.
What inspired the idea for your collection?
I decided to put together my collection after readers of my first two books, Room in Your Heart and The Last Rose, asked whether I’d be bringing out any more of my stories. I love the fact that it gives people who don’t read magazines the chance to enjoy my stories too. I love Christmas and a collection of my festive stories was the obvious choice.
What made you decide to write in this genre?
I’m known in magazine circles for writing emotional, uplifting stories with a message of hope. Hopefully, the stories in this collection showcase this.
How long did it take you to write your book?
The stories in Silent Night have all been published in Christmas editions of magazines. The earliest story, Finding Santa, was written in 2012 the most recent in 2016, so you could say I’ve been writing the book for four years!
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
What I enjoyed most was being able to see Christmas through the eyes of different characters – old, young, male and female. In a novel, you are stuck with the same characters for the whole book but, in a collection, you are invited to share many lives, visit the homes of many characters and encounter many different personalities on your journey from story to story. Writing short stories, especially at Christmas, is a real pleasure
What did you research the most while writing this book?
In short stories, there is much less research to be done than in a novel. I only really needed to do research for the two historical stories and for Mr Banhu’s life as a young man in India in my story, ‘The Memory Purse’.
For those who have not discovered your book, how would you describe it to get them interested?
I would describe it as the perfect book to dip into on a cold winter’s night beside a roaring log fire with a glass of mulled wine by your side. You won’t fail to get into the Christmas spirit!
What inspired you to want to be a writer?
After the small private school I was teaching at closed down, I enrolled on an online writing course called Writing Classes. Each week, we would have to write something creative and short stories quickly became my favourite. It was the first time I’d written a story since being at school. After the course finished, I was left feeling bereft – I’d got used to writing a piece a week and wanted to carry on. It was my tutor who suggested I try sending my stories to women’s magazines. Three months later, I had my first sale. So, she was my real inspiration.
Are you working on anything new at the moment?
I have just finished my second novel. It’s a suspense set in The Lake District.
What is the theme or message of your book?
It’s probably the triumph of people’s indomitable spirit over adversity.
Thank you for your time.
Wendy Clarke is a writer of women’s fiction. Her work regularly appears in national women’s magazines such as The People’s Friend, Take a Break Fiction Feast and Woman’s Weekly. She has also written serials and a number of non-fiction magazine articles.
Wendy has published three collections of short stories, Room in Your Heart, The Last Rose and Silent Night and has just finished writing her second novel.
Wendy lives with her husband, cat and step-dog in Sussex and when not writing is usually dancing, singing or watching any programme that involves food!