Wednesday 16 December 2015

Day 16: The Meetings by Paula . R. C. Readman

1. What gave you the idea for your Snowflakes story?
Well, it all started with a writing competition theme picture. You had to write a story about a park bench.  I’ve always thought being a park gardener must be a very interesting job, not just because you’re working outside in all weathers and in time with the ever-changing seasons,  but because you must see a lot of comings and goings as the public enjoy the open space.
I decided to write it from the gardener’s point of view because I thought that was the most interesting, and of course he wouldn’t know who the two people were, or their circumstances. The theme of my story is, of course, about lost fathers too.
My parents divorced when I was 14 though my father still lived within walking distance so I did have contact with him, but I do understand how hard it is on the children when their much loved parents make it difficult for them to keep in touch with both parents. I lived with my mother and siblings but felt I was somehow betraying my mother by seeing my father.
My father remarried and his second wife wanted daughter as she had only sons by her first marriage, so she tried very hard to be a mother to my sisters and I, which added to my sense of betrayal to my mother.  She then went on to have another son by my father.
In my story the father and daughter have to meet in secret trying hard not to betray the people they love, thus giving the tale an air of a sad love story, which isn’t a romance.   
My father passed away before he got to see me published, I think he would be proud of what I have achieved so far. My mother passed away the 7th Sept this year. She had been in a nursing home for the last eight years of her life. Though she had good and bad days, she did seem to understand that I was writing to get published. Every now and again, she would ask me ‘How’s the book coming along, Paula.’  This would make me walk on air for days afterward.
2. How would you describe your normal style of writing?
My normal style of writing is very dark. I like writing psychological crime stories without the gore, but like tap into the recess of the mind.  If I had been better educated I would’ve studied psychology to have a better understand of human nature.
3. Have you published other material?
Yes, mainly short stories. My first story was published by English Heritage after I was one of 50 writers whose work was selected for their anthology ‘Whitby Abbey Pure Inspiration. Two stories were published by Bridge House in their anthologies, ‘Crime after Crime’ and ‘Light in the Dark’. I’ve had another selected for in The Best of Cafelit in 2014 by Chapeltown Books and a wild life story published by Springbok Publications.
In 2014 Parthian books were on the hunt for New Gothic Fiction and I was lucky enough to have my story for their anthology ‘A Flock of Shadows’
In 2012 I was the overall winning in a writing competition run by the Writing Magazine and Harrogate Crime writing Festival, my short story  ‘Roofscapes’ is still available to read on the ‘You’re Booked’  Harrogate Crime Writing festival site in their ‘Joys of Reading’ site.
The story is the backdrop for my novel which I’m busy editing, which I hope to find a publisher for soon.
 Picture of Mark Billingham when I won the writing competition.
4. Do you have a writing routine?
Yes, of course I do. Bum on seat and keep writing until I run out of ideas. No matter, how bad it may seem whenA I first get it down. Then the fun begins when I start editing it. I like to start work early in the morning when it’s quiet. I write better in the winter months and get more done as there are fewer distractions as I also enjoy gardening, painting, walking and photography.  One needs exercise, if you are sitting all day so in the summer months my friend, Ana are normally out early walking with our cameras, then I’m home to spend the rest of the day writing.
5. Do you have a favourite place for writing?
Facing the wall in the box room that’s painted yellow and blue as I read somewhere that it is ideal to face a wall and not a window because you can easily become distracted by what is going on outside. Why yellow and blue for creativity, of course.   
 l something quirky about you.
Hmm, I have a motorbike licence. I grew up at a flour mill and my ancestor (by married) is Capt. James Cook.  (James never had any surviving children and descendants are by his sister’s side of the family.) My husband, Russell & I love the Whitby Goth Festival and go twice a year.  Picture of my husband Russell stand on my hands taken by Rob Taylor at the Whitby Goth Fest 2014 
I’m found on ‘Facebook’ and I’ve a blog at: 

An extract from The Meetings

As I sit on the park bench, I trace out the words engraved on the small metal plaque with my fingertips. By doing this simple act, I recall the happiness I witnessed so long ago. 

Every day I come here as he did, all those years ago, and wondered if the plaque could be a marker for my life too. As crazy as it may seem I used to watch him, this unknown person, so strong, so full of life, and her too.

I noticed the young woman first. Usually, she came into the park, where I worked from a small, side-road. Her long, blonde hair flowed behind her like a veil of sunshine, even on the dullest of days; her footfall on the gravel was so light it barely made a sound. 
Some days when I was busy tidying the flowerbeds, I would almost miss her arrival. Straightening up to ease my back, I would catch sight of her pausing in the gateway. Her face would brighten when she saw him. Laughing, she would rush into his waiting arms.

The casually, dressed man would arrive at the park some mornings so early; the mist hadn’t had time to clear to wait for her. He was always the first to arrive and came into the park through the main entrance, with its large ornate gates of black and gold. A couple of hours later, she would arrive with her beautiful smile.
I never quite knew what time of day they would arrive. Sometimes, if the weather was awful in the morning, they came in the afternoon, but I never saw the two of them arrive together.
At first, I wasn’t sure about their relationship, whether they were lovers or not. Not that it was any of my business. I just saw two happy people enjoying each other’s company.
Happiness is a rare thing these days and I considered myself the lucky one, a silent witness to the happiness they shared as I worked among the flowerbeds and borders.
I’ve never been a good judge of age, but I thought the man looked slightly older than the woman as the sun highlighted the passing of his years in the changing colour of his hair. Though to be truthful, I didn’t like to guess the woman’s age as I hadn’t seen her close up, well, not at first.

About the author:

Paula R. C. Readman lives in Essex. In 2010, her first success was with English Heritage selected her story for Whitby Abbey- Pure Inspiration. Since then she’s had several other short stories published and won two writing competitions. In 2011, ‘The Meetings’ was selected the overall winner by Austin Macauley in their short story competition. In 2012, ‘Roofscapes’ selected as the overall winner by best-selling crime writer, Mark Billingham in the Harrogate Crime writing Festival. In 2015, Parthian Books selected one of her stories for their New Gothic Fiction: A Flock of Shadows. Now she’s working hard to find a home for her first novel.
Find out more about Paula and her writing on her Amazon Author page or on her blog:


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