Finalist 2017, The Magic of the Matinee
'I must have looked a right mess. I’d had a shower at the pithead, of course, but we were working unusual shifts to get the new equipment bedded in, which meant I didn’t have time to go home and change. Not that we had many different outfits to change into in those days – work clothes, overalls, one set of casuals and Sunday best.' The Magic of the Matinee
Often, without even realising, I fall back on the old adage, “Write about what you know”. My parents started their professional lives as teachers in a small mining village in Derbyshire; a number of their friends and relatives worked in the local pit. Drawing upon these recollections provided me with the initial setting for The Magic of the Matinee, a story about love being stronger than Alzheimer’s – and the other stresses that life may place upon it.
The wet and windy Isle-of-Wight winters have made me an avid and eclectic reader. I blame an excellent local coffee shop for the fact that I’m also now a published and prize-winning short-story writer!
In 2017 I was appointed Creative Writing Practitioner by Independent Arts, a wonderful organisation that aims to help improve the health and wellbeing of people facing disadvantage or social exclusion. This was also the year that I reached the final seven in The Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition, a highlight of my writing career to date.
I share my love of writing with my daughter, Natasha, a young London-based journalist. Encouraged by her and also by friends who are best-selling crime writers, I have overcome my natural Luddite tendencies to develop the blog, www.andrewwrites.co.uk
I blame J K Rowling, myself. Like so many of my fellow writers, these days much of my output seems to start life in a local coffee shop. Yes, it may be an example of that ubiquitous chain but another well-worn saying comes to mind, one about not judging books by their covers. A convivial atmosphere, friendly baristas, coffee to die for – who wouldn’t feel like putting pen to paper?
In Redefining Normal, I finally created a short story that I’m happy to have written. So, now, I’m trying something a little longer, taking encouragement from the example of folk like Mary Wesley. She proved that a successful first novel can be achieved even by those joining the creative throng a little later in life. Rather aptly, mine’s called The Season of Second Chances. I’ll let you know how I get on…