I have two stories in People’s Friend publications this week – and I'm really delighted with the artwork they have given to each of them.
Telling Stories is in the weekly magazine (dated 25 June). A story about telling stories … my protagonist is Dorothy Mackintosh (‘Auntie Dot’ to her niece), a retired head mistress who gives literary tours of Edinburgh to small groups of tourists. For this particular group she has arranged a visit to a book festival – with unexpected consequences. I think she’s a character I might revisit.
Summertime Blues is in the Summer Special (No 125). This one is rather dear to my heart. I wrote a version of it years ago, long before I was Writing. It was around a thousand words then; now it’s three thousand. It was told from the first person point-of-view; then I did a third-person version; now it’s back in first. The setting and the era have always been the same though – an island off the west coast of Scotland in the summer of 1971.
It’s about feeling uncertain when you’re eighteen and are quite sure that you’ve failed your exams and that the boy you fancy doesn’t fancy you. I hope that all readers will empathise with these perennial problems and, for those of a certain age, that the story will conjure up happy memories of cheesecloth smock tops, purple flared jeans, Aqua Manda perfume, Maggie May and Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep. Oh, and for readers of all vintages there’s also a ruined castle under the moonlight ...
Is any of it autobiographical? You might think so – I couldn’t possibly comment.