Extract from Murmuration

Since December 1st Bridge House Publishing have been posting on their blog interviews with the authors from the Snowflakes anthology along with extracts from each story. Yesterday was my turn. To see it click here or see below.

From Bridge House Publishing Blog:

Day 15 – Murmuration – L.G. Flannigan

What gave you the idea for your Snowflakes story?

Although it is a work of fiction its storyline is a personal one. My mum has dementia and I’m aware of how much my dad has to do for her  on a daily basis. I hope Murmuration gives a little insight into being a carer and shows some of the symptoms a person in the latter stages of dementia may experience, and how precious moments of recognition are a joy for their family.

How would you describe your normal style of writing?

You won’t find long descriptive passages in my writing. I use a conversational style with dialogue driving the plot. I tend to write my novels in the first person and the present tense. My short stories are written in the third person and the past tense.

Have you published other material?

I emailed my first short story Trojan to Bridge House Publishing’s World Stopping Events competition. It was a runner up and was published in On This Day anthology in 2012. My novel Ordering Flynn Matthews was shortlisted in Choc Lit’s Search for a Star competition in 2015. I’ve had an offer from a US Indie digital first publisher to publish it but I am also looking at self publishing as an option. Either way I hope it’ll be published in 2016!

Do you have a writing routine?

I used to have a very structured writing routine but recently I’ve started a new part time job in a library and, along with my daughter, have taken up two new hobbies knitting and sewing.  However  I am writing on Monday and Thursday and every other Wednesday. The ideas keep flowing outside those times so my notebook is filling up.

Do you have a favourite place for writing?

In the dining area of our living room. It means I’m not hidden away from my family even if I am absorbed at my laptop. My children have learnt that they can ask for anything while I’m writing and I’ll say yes! The table looks a mess most days and I have to confess to tidying it up for the photograph.

Writing Space

Tell something quirky about you. 

I have notebooks I don’t write in as they’re too gorgeous to use! See the Owl notebook in my writing space photograph above.

An extract from Murmuration:

Gwen retrieved the Christmas decorations from the back of the cupboard praying it would keep Fred occupied for at least half an hour before he was yanking at the front door wanting to go out. This need had been manageable a couple of weeks ago when it had been unseasonably warm but now a bitter Arctic wind blew and she was tired of being cold or maybe she was just plain tired.

As Gwen walked into the hall Fred was making a grab for his woolly hat that hung over the newel post at the bottom of the stairs. Nodding to the over flowing box she said, “Fred dear fancy helping me with the Christmas decorations?”

He rolled his eyes. It was his new thing. His way of expressing his dissatisfaction at anything he was unimpressed by. He pulled his hat on. “I want to go out. You can’t keep me here.”

Gwen kept her sigh inside. It didn’t help matters expressing her exasperation. “I know I can’t Fred. We’re going out in half an hour so help me while you’re waiting.”

Fred tugged back his jumper sleeve and stared at his watch. He circled its dial with his index finger. It broke Gwen’s heart. He’d lost the ability to tell the time over eight months ago.

“It won’t take long. I promise.” Deliberately she staggered a few steps and tilted the box as if she was about to drop it.

Tutting he said, “Let me take that. Where do you want it?”

It was at times like these, when the old Fred kicked in, that Gwen had to remind herself that there was no point saying ‘in the lounge’ as he wouldn’t know where that was. “Follow me.”

With thoughts of the world outside their front door momentarily forgotten he did as she said placing the box in front of the real Christmas tree that had been delivered yesterday.

Still wearing his hat Fred prodded a branch, “Where did this come from?”

“Bill dropped it off.”

He frowned, “Bill? Do I know him?”

“Yes. He owns the grocers in the village.”

Fred rolled his eyes and shook his head. “You’re wrong. Herb owns the grocers.”

He didn’t, not anymore, not for thirty years but Gwen knew better than to argue the point. “Of course. What was I thinking?” She forced a smile. She spent most of her time pretending to be wrong to placate him. “He chose well didn’t he?”

“Herb’s always had a good eye.” Fred leant in and sniffed the needles. “I love that smell.”

His words warmed Gwen. It was one of his favourite scents. Maybe, just maybe, this would jog his memory for a while. She knelt down and opened the box. “Tinsel first, then the baubles.”

“Fairy lights first.”

Gwen leant over the box and flicked the plug switch. “I put them on last night.”

Fred took a step back and grinned, “I like them. They’re new.”

They were the same lights they’d had for the last decade but they shone as bright as when they’d first bought them. “They are.” She handed him a long piece of tinsel.

His eyes crinkled as he stared at the gold foil touching his fingers. Gwen took a handful of tinsel and got to her feet. She proceeded to weave it between the branches. Out of the corner of her eye she saw her husband watching her hands. Copying, he put his tinsel on the tree. He surprised her by reaching for more and adding that to the branches.

Murmuration - Somerset Levels - Love Alice Photography

Click on the Snowflakes cover below if you like to continue reading Murmuration along with 23 other stories.

Snowflakes Small

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Bridge House Book Launch

On Saturday, courtesy of my chauffeur (husband) I made it to Bridge House’s launch of Snowflakes and Cafe Lit anthologies not far from Leicester Square in Waxy O’Connors. Such a cool place. Should’ve worn a cloak!

Waxy O'Connor's

While my husband and son hung out in London my daughter and I had an interesting afternoon chatting with the other writers, listening to readings and finally meeting Debz, my wonderful editor! Her critique of my early novel writing was and still is invaluable. I’ve learnt so much from her.

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Me & Debz

Sometime during the afternoon her handbag was stolen right from under our noses. Amazingly she didn’t let it ruin her day. Check out her post about the day here: When Writers Meet

Murmuration

Snowflakes – an anthology by Bridge House Publishing was published at the weekend.

Snowflakes Small

Click on the cover to go to Amazon UK

My short story Murmuration is in it. It’s about a married couple where one partner has dementia. Although it is a work of fiction its storyline is a personal one.

My mum has dementia. She hasn’t known who I am for a good few years but there are times when she will look at me, smile and say, “I know you don’t I.” For a split second there’s that connection with her, with the past, with what might have been, what we’d be sharing now if she didn’t have the disease.

And then there’s my dad who despite his own health issues cares for her with patience, love and understanding. It can be exhausting however he still finds the time to be there not only for her but for others too.

Murmuration is more heart warming than hard hitting but I hope it gives a little insight into being a carer and shows some of the symptoms a person in the latter stages of dementia may experience, and how those precious moments of recognition are a joy for their family.

A murmuration is a flock of starlings. A talented friend of mine Tina Huckle at Love Alice Photography supplied the beautiful photograph for Murmuration in the book trailer. It was taken on the Somerset Levels.

Book trailer:

Snowflakes

I’m delighted and thankful that a story of mine has been accepted by Bridge House Publishing for its 2015 Anthology.

I don’t write many short stories as I prefer to write novels however my novel writing improved when I was told to treat every chapter like a short story. It has to have a purpose, something has to have happened, it follows the story arc. Like a short story every chapter has to grab the reader. All the same rules apply.

Anyway I digress. Back to the short story and anthology.

‘Murmuration’ had been circulating in my mind for some time and when I read the submission brief

Our theme for 2015 is snowflakes. Real ones? Perhaps but more likely stories that are like snowflakes. Unique and perfectly formed. As they melt into the psyche they bring a life-sustaining force. Snow can be beautiful and it can be treacherous. It can swing from one extreme to another in seconds. It is an important part of the nature cycle 

I knew I had to write it. Although fiction the subject is a personal one. I won’t say anymore for now. I’ll save that for nearer publication. Snowflakes is due out 15.11.15!

Snowflakes