Tuesday 13 December 2016

Day 13 Past, Present and Future by Patsy Collins

What gave you the idea for your Baubles story?

Past, Present and Future was inspired in part by Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Although I'm not as bad as the lead character in my story, and neither of us come close to Scrooge, I can be a bit cynical about the commercial aspects of Christmas. I do like some of the traditional elements though, including that of telling stories about the spirit of Christmas winning through.

How would you describe your normal style of writing?

I type everything straight onto my laptop.

Oh! That's not what you meant ... I write in a variety of genres and forms. The one thing (nearly) all my work has in common is that it's entertaining or uplifting. I don't do bleak, obscure or grim.

Have you published other material?

Yes. Hundreds of short stories in magazines, four novels, five short story collections, several articles and I've co-written the very recently released non-fiction book From Story Idea to Reader. 

Do you have a writing routine?

No. I have two, depending on whether I'm at home, or in the van.

At home it's – Mug of tea, write some words, mug of tea, write some words, mug of tea, write some words ...

In the van it's – Pot of tea, write some words, pot of tea, look round a castle, pot of tea, write some words ...

Do you have a favourite place for writing?

My campervan - which is why I'm sometimes referred to as the travelling writer. Many of my stories and novels are written 'on location' in there.

Tell something quirky about you.

There's nothing. I'm completely normal in every way. For a writer.

Excerpt from Past, Present and Future  



It’s three years since I first saw the haunted bauble. Of course back then I didn’t believe it was haunted with the spirit of Christmas, mostly because I didn’t believe in such a thing.

Nothing had gone right in my life for months. My unreliable boyfriend left me. My job was tedious. I suffered from vertigo, which made getting out of bed in the morning a worse than usual ordeal. The weather was as cold and grey as my mood. Was it surprising I’d turned into a biscuit-addicted semi-recluse?

Why socialise if I’d be a figure of gloom at every gathering? I couldn’t drink with my medication. Couldn’t eat because my clothes were already too tight. I couldn’t afford more; my ex left me a mortgage as crippling as my broken heart.

Everyone said, “Stop feeling sorry for yourself. You’ll feel better if you get into the Christmas spirit.”

I didn’t want to do anything anyone told me, or believe anything anyone said. Even so, I dragged myself round the shops looking for gifts and something to wear at my parents’ home on Christmas Day.

I was in full Bah Humbug mode when I reached a shop called ‘Christmas Marvels’. I went in, expecting to feel condescending towards people wasting their money on junk, but it wasn’t like that. Although I’d not seen the shop before it wasn’t one of those tacky looking efforts which appear in empty premises just for Christmas. This had an old fashioned charm and gave the impression it had been there forever.

On offer were shiny little antiques, heirloom decorations and unusual gifts. I’d barely glanced round when I saw it: the bauble. Although pretty, it would have been far more my sort of thing if it had been a vase or a non-Christmassy ornament. I didn’t bother with decorations much at the best of times and certainly didn’t intend to that year.

“You don’t want that,” the shopkeeper said.


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