Much as I despair of living in a country where the birth of a baby is headline news – ditto his naming the following day – I do try to bear in mind that the extended family I involuntarily support via my taxes is made up of human beings, and therefore worthy of my respect. I sincerely hope I’m incapable of channeling my rage at inequality and unearned privilege into a bizarre racist tweet, as a BBC DJ did recently. How could he not know, as he has claimed, that an image of the latest royal baby as an ape would cause offence? But, in reflecting the world as I see it in my fiction, with darkness as well as light, I do risk inadvertently offending my readership, especially in portraying the isms from which, in my other identities, I’m at pains to distance myself.
I wouldn’t blame you if the opening has put you off my most recently published short story (or the length at over 3000 words) but, if you do choose to read it, you might be able to help me decide where, if anywhere, to take these ideas next.
Life’s tough on the fringes of society, perhaps particularly if you’re female. Not only have you your own vulnerability to contend with, but the projections of others who feel safer dwelling on your difference than on your similarity to them. Let me take you into the worlds of three such fictional females: The Parcel is harrowing novel about sex workers in Bombay; Dance by the Canal is a lighter novella about a homeless woman in East Germany; my recently published short story, “Ghost Girl” is about an African girl with the wrong colour skin.
If you’ve ever held back from having an affair for fear of the hurt it might cause other people, let me offer you a risk-free alternative. These two novels about women with roots in America who stray from marriages to European men can furnish the excitement and eroticism without the guilt or fear of discovery. If you like to read on-screen, no-one need even know you’re having a fictional affair.
Let’s take a look at a couple of debut novels with some fine evocations of the natural world and a strong sense of place published by small independent presses based in Scotland.
These two novels explore the impact of two of America’s controversial wars (Vietnam and Iraq) on combatants, observers and their nearest and dearest.
finding truth through fiction
Annecdotal is where real life brushes up against the fictional.
Annecdotist is the blogging persona of Anne Goodwin:
slug-slayer, tramper of moors,
author of two novels.
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I don't post to a schedule, but average around ten reviews a month (see here for an alphabetical list),
some linked to a weekly flash fiction, plus posts on writing and my journey to publication and beyond.
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