Tell me about your story in Aftermath
- but don't give any spoilers!
“The Beach Where He Found It” is a hopeful story about grief. Following the death of her twenty-something daughter, the narrator feels she is over the worst, until she gets a phone call that brings it all crashing back.
What inspired you to write this?
It came to me as I was walking from an edge-of-town car park to the concert hall where I was taking part in a performance of Verdi’s Requiem. So I was already primed with thoughts of bereavement when I slipped on the sludge of leaf mould from the autumn trees. In an instant, I had the opening of this story.
Why did you think it important to contribute to this collection?
From my personal life, and from my professional background as a clinical psychologist, I’m curious about how we carry on after what seems unbearable. How does the trauma change us? Alongside the losses, are there also gains? Before the pandemic, I felt this was a minority interest, but now recovery is everyone’s business. The collection is a great opportunity to bring different perspectives together.
How have you coped with the pandemic?
My home circumstances made it easier for me than most. I have company without overcrowding; my writing to keep me busy; and room to breathe both inside and out. In the beginning, I naïvely thought the virus was a leveller, so I ended up wasting a lot of emotional energy raging at the increased inequality, with inadequate provision for those who were already vulnerable and shameful profiteering by some. But I was heartened by the Black Lives Matter protests during the first lockdown, which catalysed my next (as yet unpublished) novel.
Can you tell us about your other publications?
I’m the author of three novels and a short story collection published by small independent press, Inspired Quill. There’s an element of aftermath in all four books. My debut novel, Sugar and Snails, which was shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize, is about a middle-aged woman who is still haunted by a life-changing decision she made at fifteen. My second novel, Underneath, is about a man’s unusual and alarming response to a ruptured relationship. My new novel, Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home, which stems from my experience of working in a long-stay psychiatric hospital, is about a woman who has survived fifty years’ incarceration by immersing herself in an alternative to reality. Several of my short stories, both within my identity-themed collection, Becoming Someone, and among those published elsewhere, are about recovery or otherwise from adversity of various kinds.
Publisher Inspired Quill
Link tree https://linktr.ee/annecdotist