In the series of interviews with the Timeline authors, writing short stories for children,
I am talking with Lucinda Nettleton.
[©2013 to L. Nettleton]
Tell us how you got involved in the Timelines project.
I was approached via email by Sherry Ashworth to submit an historical short story for a new anthology called Timelines. The email explained how Animal Stew, the anthology produced the year before, was a huge success and I simply couldn’t wait to get started!
How and why did you come to write your story?
I researched many initial ideas before I decided on my historical theme but eventually I decided on the witch hunts in England in the 17th century as I felt that this would give me more scope, as a writer of fantasy fiction, to include a magical, mythological element to my tale. All writers and their stories were subjected to various editing stages until the editors were satisfied which was challenging but insightful.
Tell us a little bit about your story.
My story is set in 17th century England during the time of the English Civil War and at the peak of the witch hunts. I added further historical depth by basing my villain around the notorious Witch-Finder General. My protagonist is a young girl that is accused of witchcraft and sentenced to be hanged by the money-grabbing witch hunter who roams the country accusing innocent women of witchcraft and sentencing them to death for a handsome fee whilst the country’s gaze is distracted by war. But as promised, I included a mystical twist when the girl manages to escape her conviction by jumping off a cliff and into the sea, magically transforming into a seal as she discovers she is a Selkie – a woman by land but a seal by sea.
Some people think it is easy to write while Ernest Hemingway said: “It is easy to write. Just sit in front of your typewriter and bleed.” Where do you stand?
I love writing and once I have an idea in my head there is nothing on this earth that can hold me back from frantically scribbling my ideas down but no, I do not think it is easy to write. It is not just a case of sitting in front of a typewriter and bleeding, and often it is the bleeding, the pouring of your heart and soul into a piece, that is the most difficult part of writing as the world of publishing and editing, not to mention the critics, is cut-throat especially when so much of the writer has been invested into the pages they have so lovingly created. Writing that will not be submitted or subjected to criticism and may live out its days happily hiding in an office drawer may be easier to write, but to write is to share and to share means subjecting yourself, the writer, to bleeding yourself dry in the hope of gaining an audience.
What is it that appeal to you when writing for children?
I enjoy the freedom and imagination of writing for children. Sure, there are areas of censorship that need to be taken into consideration when writing for a younger audience but in terms of unabridged imagination, I love writing for children as anything goes, and it is often the ideas that are the most unique, bizarre and unorthodox that appeal most to child reader which is great for me as a writer of fantasy fiction as I often find myself delving into the weird and wonderful world of mythology for inspiration.
A warm thank you to Lucinda for answering those questions.