I have just heard that my short story, A Mother’s Love’ has been selected for inclusion in an anthology DARK BARD published by Indigo Mosaic. I wrote this a few months ago and had forgotten I’d submitted it! A story based on a woman’s journey to visit her son in prison
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I’ve just heard that my short story, ‘A Mother’s Love’ has been seleceted for inclusion in an anthology, DARK BARD, published by Indigo Mosaic. A story set around a mother’s journey to visit her son in prison
Amanda Sington-Williams grew up in Cambridge and Liverpool, leaving school at 16. She has lived in Japan, Spain and Australia and has had a variety of jobs including teacher of English, bar work, film extra and model. She worked with homeless people for many years, was a co-ordinator for domestic violence policy for a local authority and managed a community centre in north London.
Her poetry has been read out on BBC radio. Many of her short stories have been selected for readings or published in magazines and anthologies. Her first novel The Eloquence of Desire was published in 2010.
Amanda has an MA in Creative Writing and Authorship from Sussex University. She teaches Novel Writing at The Hanover Centre in Brighton, is a freelancee writer and lives in Brighton with the artist, David Williams. Find out more on her website.
What attracts you to short fiction as a discipline?
I like the idea of writing about one incident that happened to a character during their life. Writing a short story gives me breathing space from the intensity of novel writing.
You have nine stories on the Ether app. What do you think about our combination of mobile phones and short content?
Mobile phones are perfect for short content. No need to carry laptops or books.
Who would you invite to a literary dinner party? (characters, writers – anyone!)
A literary dinner party? All the authors on my bookshelf, but logistically impossible so I’d invite Rose Tremain, Aminatta Forna, Miss Haversham to see what she’s been up to during last 100 years, Chekhov,Peter Carey, Fay Weldon and I think Bill Bryson to keep me laughing all evening.
As a published novelist, do you see any fundamental difference between the skills required for writing long fiction and short fiction?
I’d say that you need to have an obsessional streak to write a novel. Although a short story can take a while to write, you don’t have to attack it every day.
How has your work within the community, including with homeless people and victims of domestic violence, influenced your writing?
There’s more influence in my novels than short stories, but my work in that field definitely plays a part in my novel plots or characterisations.
What does the immediate future hold for you?
I’m working on a novel and will eventually get back to a short story I’ve nearly finished. Then there’s the teaching and mentoring.
One chapter left to edit, then it’s a matter of printing off all the pages and reading through. What will I do in my spare time then? It’s all a bit scary. One and a half years of slog, 330 pages of slog.
It is the first day of Jo’s holiday in sun-drenched Sri Lanka. Raquel befriends Jo, (calling herself Rach). She takes her to a beautiful beach far from the hotel where she steals Jo’s passport and money then checks out of the hotel before Jo can get back. Everyone at the hotel, including Senaka, a hotel worker who lost his family in the tsunami, seems to like Rach who is known to them as Raquel. No-one believes she’s the thief. Jo is spooked by this and by sightings of Rach as well as anonymous phone calls. She feels she can’t trust anyone at the hotel. Added to this, Mark, who she’s lived with for two years, is difficult to get hold of. He is a nurse and had to cancel his holiday because there was a ‘flu outbreak and staff shortages but Jocan’t understand why he isn’t more sympathetic about her present dilemma. Before she leaves Sri Lanka Senaka tells Jo that Raquel not only knows Jo but has told him she will see her in the UK. These words haunt her over the following two weeksOnce back home, Jo begins to suspect Markknows Raquel. Little does she know that the real reason he cancelled his holiday was because he’d had a fling with her and knew she’d be in Sri Lanka too. Mark doesn’t know that Raquel was scheming to harm Jo and that she suggested Sri Lanka and the hotel to Jo’s mother whom she met by chance when Mark and Jo had been arguing where to take a holiday. Jo is followed by the same black car several times and sees Raquel outside the house. Mark uses the terminal illness of his father as a reason for not engaging in any discussion about Raquel and implies that Jo is imagining it all. No one believes her. Not even her ‘hippie’ motherwith whom Jospent her childhood travelling round Asia. Jo begins to wonder if Raquel is an ex-client with a grudge from when she used to work as a Housing Officer. She contacts Rob an ex-colleague, an IT man who is still employed there and with whom she had a relationship. Rob and Jo still love each other, though she doesn’t admit this to herself. She is haunted by her past with him, when she drank and experimented with drugs at a party causing a fall from a window, which permanently injured her.Rob finds Raquel’s old case notes and Jo goes to his flat to collect them, but discovers he only has one page of Raquel’s file. It is apparent that the woman has many aliases and was suspected of arson. Also Jomade an error of judgement on her case when she was the manager. Rob agrees to find the rest of the file but when they meet again it’s the wrong case notes. Jo is angry with Rob over this and won’t speak to himwhen he tries to phone her.Jo finds further evidence that Mark knows Raquel but he always manages to dodge her questions. When his father dies she feels she cannot continue to ask him though she knows he’s not telling the truth. Jovisits the shop beneath which Raquel used to live and discovers that Raquelsells ethnic jewellery at the local market. She finds the stall but not Raquel.A few days later, Jo receives a phone message from the hospital receptionist where Mark works, telling her she must get home immediately. When she gets there, Raquel is in the bedroom threatening to burn the house down. Jo manages to get out. A car chase ensues and Raquel crashes into a lorry. Meanwhile Rob has been trying to warn Joabout Raquel. He has the file and has discovered she is very dangerous. Although this information comes too late, Jo realises her true feelings for Rob and they arrange to meet.Raquel is in Critical Care with serious burns. In the hospital canteen, Mark tells Jo the truth about Raquel. He leaves Joalone in the canteen for a while and Jo realises she cannot trust him again and that their relationship is over. She knows Rob is the man for her.When Mark returns he tells her that Raquel has died. Jo feels strangely reconciled with her as she realises that indirectly she’d helped her decide which direction her life should take.
Yesterday I over-ate,
Paella. Cooked in stock of Spanish origin.
Crisp green peppers chopped,
Washed down with fruit; fermented,
from fine French roots.
Today I must suffer.
A punishment most severe.
Nil by mouth.
Stomach in full time siesta mode.
Café espresso on tap
the lurking hunger pains.
Along the Barcelona avenidas.
Plane trees thick with pollen.
bread sticks, golden
fresh from the oven.
A baker opens his door; beckons.
Down to the port,
nets brimming with silver.
Tipped onto shiny decks.
Sailors in bars, knocking back brandy.
Tasting miniature fried fish
heaped onto porcelain plates.
Eating ‘till their bellies are bursting.
Into the covered market
See how far I’ll go.
Ancient salamis, with musky smell.
Catches at my throat.
Hues of brown, thickened pink, and spotted red
Swollen; frustrated longings
swinging in the breeze.
Circular cheeses split open.
Unblushing, they reveal the flesh beneath their coats,
the gentleness of churned milk,
tangy orange and creamy white.
I’m intoxicated, I’m being driven mad!
A stall of olives.
Soaked in oil and garlic
Stuffed with pimentos, coated with herbs,
green ones, pitted, or small black ones
not long picked.
Shoveled into bags.
Take, take, the man offers me a spoon.
Well just one. Just one black one.
To stem the rumbles;
to break my diet of the day.
Last night I went to my first tango class. First the teacher had us stamping to the music, then walking forwards, backwards and sideways in the tango embrace. I discovered that tango is really a kind of walking embrace. I danced the tango for two hours and experienced maybe for five minutes that heightened sensation of the tango meditative state which is talked about and yearned for and which I’ve heard is addictive. Well I am hooked! I’ll be dancing the tango every week from now on…