Jane O’Connor was the winner of the Hysteria 2020 short story competition with her story The Flower Box published in the Hysteria 7 anthology. Jane is a writer of short stories and novels, as well as a researcher and reader in Childhood Studies at Birmingham City University. Her latest novel,’The Trial of Gwen Foley‘ is out now, July 2021 and published by @Bloodhoundbook
Listen to the interview and her reading of The Flower Box
Key takeaways from this episode:
- Jane began writing fiction during her second maternity leave. The novel she started with was runner up in a debut novel competition and published by Penguin, it’s called Needlemouse.
- The genre she writes in is called UpLit – for uplifting. Everything she writes has a happy ending, even if it’s not classically seen as that.
- Her central characters are often middle-aged women as she feels this population is very under-represented in modern fiction.
- As an academic she had to learn the craft of writing and that allowed her to move easily into the emotional writing you get with fiction.
- Her favourite quote is from John Yorke’s book Into the Woods: how stories work. “When we write fiction we go into the woods to find a part of ourselves that is lost and we bring is back in the form of a story.”
- The inspiration for her winning short story is Pansy, a dog she knew as a child.
- We’re often not aware of the immense treasure trove of images and experiences stored in our memories ready to come out in a story.
- The Flower Box was originally a longer story written for a magazine and was cut down to meet the 600 word limit of the Hysteria Writing Competition short story category.
- Her top tip is to make every work count.
- Good, well-written stories are a shared journey between writer and reader.
- Jane’s latest book The Trial of Gwen Foley will be published on 6th July 2021.
Mentioned in this episode:
- Catch up with Jane on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/janeoconnor100
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If you have any general questions or comments for Jane or the show, leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.