This week, I thought I might introduce you to some of my short stories. I’m a novelist at heart. Many of my story ideas don’t even stop at one volume but sweep into sagas. But every now and then an idea occurs to me that’s a little gem. I hope I’ve polished these gems until they shine for you.
In one of my writing classes, we were asked to write a modern fairy tale. When I was young, my favourite story book was called something like The Big Book of Princesses. I loved those stories, but I couldn’t actually relate to those pretty, blonde princesses, so I wrote The Beautiful Princess for little girls just like me.
I’m of the generation that grew up in a house with a big, black telephone securely attached to the wall and watched the evolution of the mobile phone from car-phone, to brick, to flip-open Motorola, to the iPhone. I’ve also watched with bemusement how attached people have become to their mobile phones. You’ll see a little of that bemusement come through in my story Disconnected, which was written, I must admit, just before the introduction of the iPhone.
In May to December an unusual newly married couple are honeymooning in Venice when something happens that forces them to acknowledge a hidden truth. It is also based on a true story, but while the incident I describe actually happened, how or why it happened is entirely of my own invention. The bride is a famous writer. Can you work out who she is?
In I’ll Always Have Chiang Mai two strangers meet for a blind date, but the outcome is entirely unexpected. This story is also based on actual events, but they had to be mightily tweaked to bring this story to a happy conclusion.
Echoes is about a weekend by the beach that was meant to heal but only opens up new wounds. It was inspired by a soap opera I used to watch with my grandmother. It seemed to me that the writers were setting up a perilous situation then pulled back from the edge. I took it to what I saw was the logical conclusion, though I might have crossed a line for some readers.
In The Legacy a young woman discovers the mystery that lies behind her family’s dysfunction. The story developed over many years from a seed planted a long time ago – a story about a man discovering a discarded suitcase full of photographs from which he solved a mystery. The story of that cache of photographs ended up as a very different story of one newspaper cutting that solves a mystery. It’s a new story and not many people have read it yet, so let me know if you think it works.
If you have friends who enjoy reading short stories, please share this roundup with them and then you’ll have someone to discuss the stories with.