Here is another in my series of 'Inspiration Behind the Stories'. Today I am going to tell you about my story 'Town and Gown' which is published in The People's Friend this week.
Two years ago, after I had been made redundant, I started an online writing course. One of my assignments was to use as the story setting a place we knew well. There was no doubt in my mind as to where this would be as my daughter had, the previous September, started a degree course at Cambridge University. You can imagine how proud I was, especially as I had brought her up on my own from the age of two and the school she had attended was just the local comprehensive, not an elite independent school.
I can still remember the first time we visited Cambridge to choose a college. The sun was shining (as it always seemed to on subsequent visits) and the colleges were all stunning - I was only sad that we couldn't visit them all. There was so little to choose between the ones we visited that in the end my daughter stated she would choose Gonville and Caius as it had the best 'Harry Potter' hall!
I remember standing on a bridge watching the students punting on the river and thinking it would be the most magical place to study.
My story combines my love of Cambridge with my other love - dancing. In this tale, June finds an old dance hall ticket in the pocket of her deceased husband's pocket as she sorts out his clothes for the charity shop. She reminisces about her life as a young woman in Cambridge and the love of ballroom dancing which brought her and her husband together so many years ago. When the young assistant at the charity shop where she works tells her that she has been accepted at Cambridge University (against all odds) and has nobody to visit the colleges with (her father says she should get a 'proper job'), June is quick to offer herself as a companion and so begins a trip down memory lane.
I loved writing the story and it was after this assignment that my tutor and author of the fantastic travelogue 'The Blonde Bengali Wife', Anne Hamilton suggested I try writing for magazines. I hope that she will be proud to learn that this story has now been published!
Thank you to Anne for your confidence in my ability and to the lovely editors at The People's Friend for liking it enough to publish it.
In my next post I shall tell you all about my trip to London for the Woman's Weekly Workshop - just as well I'm going as I just had another story rejected by them!