Wednesday, 14 August 2013
Like Father Like Son - Read My Story in the People's Friend Fiction Special
A double inspiration post today as I have been lucky enough to have stories in both The People's Friend and The People's Friend Fiction Special.
I'll start with my story in the special, 'Like Father Like Son'. In the town where I live, we have a local newsagents. It is small and sells papers, magazines, sweets, cards and the odd toy or two. The shop is often staffed with young people and whenever I go in, there are usually a couple of people in the queue in front of my at the counter.
One day, a few months ago, I was in the shop and there was an elderly lady in front of me. She was rather baffled by her paper delivery account and had trouble finding the right change in her purse. Behind the counter was a young lad, maybe eighteen or nineteen and I was struck by how patient he was: explaining carefully what the lady owed and helping her with the coins.
There were others in the queue, but the young man didn't rush the customer and made sure that she was happy with everything before moving onto the next in the queue.
I remember thinking how proud I would be if I was his parent - especially in a time when youths often get a bad name. I told my daughter when I got home and said, 'That boy was made to be a shopkeeper' and that got me thinking about the pressure young people have on them to go to university - feeling that they haven't succeeded in life if they don't. I knew it was a story I had to write.
I've no idea what happened to the young man - I haven't seen him in the newsagent for a long time and I wonder... did he go off to university? I'll probably never know.
My story in this week's People's Friend, 'For Eyes Only' was inspired by a little yellow beetle car that drove past me one day. I thought to myself, 'That is a car you would either love or hate', which led me to think about how embarrassed I would have been as a teenager if my mum had owned a car like it. This was the seed of my story. The James Bond theme, that is intertwined, came about because when I wrote the story, the new Bond film had just come out and it was all over the news and on the radio.
I wondered if any of the bond cars had been little yellow cars, did my research and - hey presto - found that Roger Moore drove a car just like the one I'd seen in 'For Your Eyes Only'. Good fortune or what!
I won't be blogging next week as I shall be relaxing on a canal boat but I have a story in next week's People's Friend as well, so look out for it. I shall write the inspiration for that when I come home.