Monday, 10 August 2015

Bikers, Truckers and The People's Friend


I am delighted to have not one but two stories in The People's Friend Holiday Special and thought I would give you the inspiration behind one of the stories, One Big Family. 

Bikers and The People's Friend magazine - not something you would expect to hear in the same sentence, I know!

In my story, we are taken out of the cosy café people might expect to see in the magazine, and into a transport café. A different setting maybe, but one where the story remains true to the magazine's values of hope, friendship and loyalty.


One Big Family is a story about Janice, who has never married and has no children - she hasn't time for a family as Woody's transport café, which she bought five years ago, takes up all her time. When the café is threatened with closure after a bypass is built, she realises that her loyal customers have become, essentially, her family.

The inspiration behind my fictitious Woody's Café is in fact a real transport café on the A281 near Cowfold, called The Chalet Café. It is set back from the road and often has bikers sitting on the wooden benches outside. The funny thing is, I've never actually been inside the café but have passed by hundreds of times on my way to visit my mum, in too much of a hurry to stop. It appears from the outside to be a traditional place: simple, functional and from what I've read on their website, serving the hugest breakfasts imaginable.

Every time I've passed The Chalet, I've thought that it would make a great setting for a story. One day, as I was driving by, I wondered what would become of the café if something happened to take away their passing trade? Would the customers be loyal enough to keep on coming?

It was a light bulb moment. That would be the story I would write.

Now I am imagining walking into the café with a copy of The People's Friend in my hand to show them. I wonder what the customers would think!

21 comments:

  1. Love this, Wendy. Let me know if you fancy visiting the café - I'll come along to see what the big breakfasts are like :)

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    1. Thanks, Tracy. Think I'd be a bit scared to go in on my own!

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  2. Love hearing the story behind the story, Wendy. Bikers and The People's Friend - yup, we're changing! - Shirley

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  3. Oh do let us know the next bit of the real story - the one where you go in to the café. And read your story out?

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    1. I wasn't planning on reading it out, Lindsay! I think I'm hyperventilating!

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  4. Ha ha, can't wait to see what ideas you come up with next, Wendy. Now I have that music, 'motorbiking' in my mind. Enjoy the big breakfast, and I'm off to write a story about a nun on a car boot sale selling off the candlesticks, I know Shirley is dying to read it:@/))

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  5. Wendy, funnily enough I was thinking about writing a story about bikers just last weekend. It was the 'Bulldog Bash' near Stratford, so there were bikers on the roads everywhere, roaring around in their black leathers! Your story sounds great. I will definitely have to read it!

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    1. 'The Bulldog Bash' What a wonderful name, Helen :)

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  6. We have dozens of cafes in our little town, each with its own distinctive clientele. They are great sources of inspiration and, when needed, solace.

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  7. Love the story behind the story and your own story about how you started writing..
    See my words at:
    gramswisewords.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks, Marian. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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  8. Thanks for sharing that, Wendy. I'm feeling hungry now after seeing that picture.

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    1. Me too, Keith! I'm off to get some breakfast

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  9. Hi Wendy, lovely to read about the inspiration to your story. Maybe we all need to look to something different.
    Linda

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    1. I think that's what all mag editors are looking for, Linda.

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  10. Oh I do hope you get the chance to do that Wendy. It would be great to see their reaction. On the other hand it might be completely different from what you imagined and spoil the dream?

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    1. There's only one way to find out, Maggie!

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  11. I'm sure they'd be thrilled to discover they inspired your story. Bikers are lovely people (well, the ones I know are!)

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