A great story deserves a great follow up profile.
This week we’re putting a spotlight on all our contest winners.
A former Engineer who spent most of his working life in England, Frank Parker moved to Ireland upon retirement in 2006. Since then he has attempted to fulfill a long held ambition to write.
Like most people, he began with a few self-indulgent memoir pieces, but quickly discovered an interest in the history of Ireland and began researching and writing about the people and events that shaped the island’s relationship with its neighbor, and with the places to which Irish people migrated.
He lives in the Irish Midlands with Freda, his wife since 1963. Having dabbled in politics during the 1980s, Frank still maintains a strong interest in current events in the UK and elsewhere. This is sometimes reflected in the posts on his website, https://franklparker.com, alongside articles featuring the background to his research and writing projects.
Frank’s story, The Fourth Option, tied for 3rd place in our November Word Weaver Writing Contest.
Pull up a chair as we chat for a moment with Frank Parker.
DAN: Did you write your story for the contest or was it part of a larger piece or something you had written before?
FRANK PARKER: As it happens 3 contests became open for submissions in November. I had 3 stories I thought would be worth entering after a bit of polishing. The question was, which was most suited to which contest? When I read that one of your judges liked stories with a dark ending it was a no brainer!
Tell us about your writing process. What is the journey from idea to published piece /completed story?
I belong to a “flesh and blood” writing group where we often end the meeting with a prompt for the following week’s “homework”. A lot of my short stories begin that way. “The Fourth Option” did, although I seem to remember that “What am I going to do about you?” was my suggestion – I like the way it hints at a guilty secret.
Longer works, my novels, usually start from a real historical event. I research the place and the period, then try to imagine what it would have been like to have been one or two of the people caught up in it.
Where do you do your writing?
I often write in bed accompanied by my morning “cuppa” (cup of tea for non-UK readers, and actually a mug!) before breakfast. Then it’s the kitchen table later in the day.
Do you have a writing goal you want to achieve?
It would be wonderful to leave behind a body of work that informs and entertains.
What helps you the most when it comes to writing?
Reading! You cannot write unless you also read – and not just for research. You can learn so much about the craft simply from reading the work of the acknowledged masters/mistresses.
What does writing success look like?
A body of published work that readers appreciate. Messages like the one I got the other day from someone who had read the digital version of “A Purgatory of Misery” and asked if it is available in print because she wants to use it as a text when she is home-educating her child.
What are you working on now?
Having completed and published my non-fiction book about the famine that afflicted Ireland in the mid-nineteenth century, I am now attempting a historical novel based on the life of two men who were actively involved in the situation in one of the worst affected districts.
There are a lot of writing contest out there. What drew you to this one?
“I’d entered the previous Word Weaver and was impressed by the quality of the critique I received.
Getting that, even though I didn’t win, made it well worth entering.”
– Frank Parker
Have you ever entered a writing contest before?
A few. This is the first time I’ve been in the “winner’s Enclosure”. I expect to do so again when I have a story I deem good enough.
Will we see you again in the next Word Weaver Writing Contest?
If you’ll have me. Some contests don’t let previous winners enter the next contest, in order, they say, to give new writers a better chance.
Did you know the piece you submitted was special?
We all think our work is special. But I worked hard on polishing the original draft to make it even better.
What’s next for you?
I need to finish that historical novel set in the Famine. Then I have several abandoned projects lurking on my hard drive that I need to re-visit. I also need to work harder at marketing my already published work. Success in this contest will help with that and I’m truly grateful for the encouragement and support I’ve received from you.
Gang, join me in congratulating Frank for a terrific contribution to our contest!
Think you could win a writing contest? Wanna get your story critiqued by a bestselling author? Check out the NEXT Word Weaver Writing Contest that starts in March 2018! 3000 word approximately per submission, NO limit on the number of times you can enter, and the winner will be published in an anthology we release in 2018.
Click HERE for full details and to enter NOW!
THEME: mystery/murder/ and or suspense – and you can get started right now. Early bird fee of $15 locks in your spot – click the CONTACT ME button to register early and save $$$ plus ALL entries will be critiqued BY ME. Early Bird discount ends soon!