My writing story began about 4 years ago. At the time I had been retired for a couple of years and looking for something different to do. I found it when I applied to join Helen Hollick’s team at Discovering Diamonds, a Blog reviewing Historical Fiction, primarily from Indie authors.
At the end of the first year, Helen invited her reviewers to ‘have a bit of fun’ and contribute a short story to a special feature on the blog. The theme was ‘Diamonds’ and I submitted a piece using that simple title and which called on my memories associated with that tune (recorded in the UK by Jet Harris and Tony Meehan).
For the following year, the theme changed to (and has remained as) ‘Inspired by a Song) and I submitted ‘What Price Freedom?‘ which was inspired by the Kris Kristofferson classic, ‘Me and Bobby McGee‘. The idea was to use a different title for the story so that the reader would be invited to ‘Guess the Song’. ‘Chips and Ice Cream’ and ‘Of Ghosties and Ghoulies and Things that Go Bump in the Night‘ comprised the following two years’ offerings.
I had always enjoyed writing, but never pursued it seriously. Life tends to get in the way. But I embraced the discipline of writing and the brilliant concept of song-inspired stories was right up my street! More followed and I also expanded my subject matter to include my love of history, my own memories and things which came to me, triggered, perhaps, by a photograph or a memory.
In the meantime, I had also had a short story, ‘Corners of My Mind‘ accepted for an anthology entitled ‘Right Trusty and Well Beloved‘ and this appeared earlier in 2019.
Later in that same year, Helen had a social ‘meet-up’ with her friend, author Barbara Gaskell Denvil and, for some reason, the subject of my writing came up (I had contributed a further two stories to Helen’s Blog by this time). Also present at that meeting was Barbara’s daughter, Gill Trewick, who just happened to have her own publishing company, Gaskell Press.
An offer was made, via Helen, and the only problem was that I did not have enough material! I had a few song inspired stories written for the future and I decided to split the book into two sections. Clearly, the first section would be that main theme, but the second would comprise a free-for-all selection of brand new stories on a variety of subjects.
In May of 2020, Melody Mayhem was published. My debt to those three ladies is immeasurable, enabling me to experience that magic first holding of one’s own, first book! The stories mentioned above are included in this compilation as well as ‘Corners of My Mind‘
Apart from songs, what inspires my stories? History and Folklore rank high on the list. I have written stories about Aeldgyth, the widow of Edmund Ironside, another one about Richard III, Eilmer, the Flying Monk of Malmesbury and a character in 18th C Scotland known as the Brahan Seer.
When writing a more contemporary story, I try to use a location that I either know very well or have visited. I believe this adds to the authenticity of the story and how wonderful it would be for a reader, somewhere, to say, ‘Oh I know that pub’ or ‘My friend lived on that street’!
I have also written two stories about football (soccer) and a ghost story based on newspaper reports.
I believe the essence of a good short story is the ending. More than once an ending has come to me before there has been a single thought about a story. The ending should bring about shock, surprise, bring a tear or perhaps a chuckle to the reader. Basically, the ‘I didn’t see that coming’ reaction. But that is not always necessary, especially in the historical stories.
I am publishing my stories on my writing Blog, Scraps and Scribblings with a new one appearing every fortnight.
And what about the future? I have previously completed a full length novel, Ulfius, set in Arthurian times (another historical passion) and have been sending that to mainstream publishers but without success so far. I have been writing new stories consistently since Melody Mayhem was published with a view to ‘A Second Movement’ follow up. And I am also working on a light hearted novella which tells of the adventures (and misadventures) of an entirely fictional group of authors set in the North London suburb where I grew up. The first draft is complete, but severe rewrites and editing are necessary before I can present that for possible publication and I am fully dedicated to finishing that shortly.
Find Melody Mayhem on Amazon: viewbook.at/MelodyMayhem
Connect with Richard Tearle
Scraps and Scribblings – new short stories every fortnight https://scrapsandscribblings.blogspot.com/
Slipstream – historical figures, interviews etc. https://rtslipstream.blogspot.com/
Discovering Diamonds Review site – https://discoveringdiamonds.blogspot.com/