My story ‘A Day Out In London’ appears today in ‘The People’s Friend’. It was inspired by the wartime experience of my grandfather as a doctor during the Birmingham air raids.
The picture below shows my grandfather (left) with his wife and father after receiving the George Medal.
I have changed some names and details for the story and relied heavily on my imagination to fill in the blanks but the bit about my grandfather helping someone who had fainted after having the pin of his medal stuck in him by the King is true, according to a very reliable source, my mother; I owe her a great debt of gratitude for answering my endless questions about her father and about the War, furnishing me with material for this story and many others.
I am thrilled that ‘The People’s Friend’ chose this story, which is very close to my heart, for their 11th November Remembrance edition of the magazine.
Reviewed by me as a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.
I have long been an admirer of Wendy Clarke’s short stories; she writes with great delicacy about the deep emotional truths found at the heart of seemingly everyday lives.
Christmas is a time of heightened emotion and this collection explores themes of loneliness, loss and love, all with the constant thread of the real meaning of Christmas running through.
In ‘Finding Santa’ we sympathise with a family stranded at Gatwick Airport as the festive season starts and in ‘All I Want for Christmas’ we feel for the new step-father desperately searching the shops for the elusive must-have-toy late on Christmas Eve.
The most original story of the collection in my opinion is ‘Silent Night’, but my favourite is ‘Christmas Strike’, for its humour and for the tenderness of its resolution.
So, enjoy this wonderful collection, with a mince pie and a cup of tea at your elbow!
WARNING: keep a tissue at the ready too, as Wendy Clarke really knows how to pull at the heart-strings.
Link to Silent Night on Amazon UK
My short story ‘Gloria Crumb, the Crimplene Mum’ is published today in ‘The People’s Friend Special’.
This is how I feel:
Thank you, People’s Friend, for patiently ploughing through my stories and selecting this one!
Note to writers: The People’s Friend is the most generous of magazines and so encouraging to fledgling writers. It will comment on your work and gently steer you in the right direction. Feedback from magazines is rare these days, except from The People’s Friend. They genuinely want to help you develop.
The inspiration for Gloria Crumb came many years ago from my sister. As teenagers, we shared an aversion to crimplene. We thought it was old-fashioned and used to laugh (and not always in a nice way!) at crimplene-clad characters. I filled in a coupon at the back of a magazine which promised to send you various free samples of crimplene so that you could choose the most suitable pattern to cover your sofa – but I filled it in using my sister’s name. She was naturally enough ecstatic to receive the little multi-coloured squares in the post and set about making a patchwork bag, the home for a cardboard cut out figure she named Gloria Crumm (now changed to Crumb). I came across the bag recently at the bottom of my wardrobe and decided it was time for Gloria to feature in a story.
Hope you manage to grab a copy of ‘The People’s Friend Special’ (4.1.2017) and get acquainted with ‘Gloria Crumb, the Crimplene Mum’. You can buy The People’s Friend Special 134 from today from all good newsagents – or a digital version through The People’s Friend website. https://www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk/category/the-magazine/