Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Towns and Gowns - Read My Story in The People's Friend


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!

16 comments:

  1. What a lovely story, Wendy, and thank you for sharing it. I'll have to buy a copy of PF now to read the real thing. x

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  2. Hope you enjoy reading it, Rena.

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  3. This is lovely, Wendy - to hear the inspiration behind the story :-) x

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    1. Thank you, Teresa - just seen we are sharing the pages of WW fiction special this month.

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  4. Loved reading about the background to your story, Wendy - and I know Anne slightly! Really looking forward to hearing about that WW day.

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    1. Of course you are both from Scotland - it seems that so many good writers are. I'll let you know next week how WW day went - feeling kindly towards them as they have just published my story in Fiction Special.

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  5. Awe, what a lovely story, Wendy. It is clear to see from your blog why your stories are so successful. Your writing seems so effortless, yet is gripping from start to finish. Thanks for mention of writingclasses.co.uk. I am sure Anne will be very proud :)
    ps Also looking forward to hearing all about WW day next week!

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    1. Thanks Marianne - I wouldn't be writing at all if it wasn't for the two of you (and Natalie).

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  6. When you publish your collection of stories (and I think you definitely should) then you must include all of your inspirations behind the stories - I love these. Please keep sharing.

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  7. Congrats on your publication success! I think the best fiction is usually based on fact (write what you know ...) I haven't been to Cambridge for years although I don't live too far away. I think I must take a day trip there soon, perhaps it will inspire me, too!

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    1. Oh, yes, you must visit it again, Linda - it's a wonderful city.

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  8. Hi Wendy

    Delighted that you have had another story published - you are going from strength to strength and such an inspiration! And thank you for the mention...

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    1. The pleasure is all mine, Anne - thank you! Have a wonderful trip and thanks for taking time out from it to comment.

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