Harvesting: Johanna Grassick and the Sophie King competition

Johanna Grassick

Johanna Grassick

Johanna Grassick is my guest today. Johanna and I met on a writing course and have kept in touch. We both joined the RNA new writers’ scheme and often attend the conference in July. Johanna writes contemporary romance and has recently reaped an exciting success in the Sophie King short story competition. Johanna came third with her story, Rum Truffle. A really worthwhile way to fill in while waiting for the reader’s report or response from a house. Congratulations, Johanna.

Anthology

Anthology

I asked Johanna a few questions. To begin, I wanted to know what attracted her to short stories.

Johanna says, when I first started writing more than ten years ago, I began with short stories. I used to attend a writing class once a week and our teacher would set us homework which we could interpret into poetry, plays, novels – anything. For me, it was always a short story (I had a one year-old baby at the time, and could only snatch an hour or two a day to write while he was napping) and I’d bring it the following week for feedback from the group.

Since then a lot has changed: my writing has evolved and novels have been my preferred genre for a good while now. However, I still enjoy writing shorter pieces and, more importantly, entering competitions. These give me deadlines (so important when you’re unpublished), inspiration for new ideas, and the satisfaction of completing something quickly – in contrast with a novel, which is such a long-term project.

I also read more short stories than ever because I have the Kindle app on my phone. I find that if I arrive early for an appointment and have ten minutes to spare, they’re the perfect length for dipping into, and I get through a lot of anthologies.

Question What are you working on at the moment, Johanna?
My current NWS submission is called Her Forget-Me-Not Ex, and it’s a contemporary romance set on a vineyard in Provence. I really enjoyed writing that one because it reminded me of my own childhood and summer holidays spent with my mother’s family in France (though we didn’t have a vineyard!).
Question What else are you writing at the moment?
I’m about to revisit a women’s fiction novel which I began last year. I’m also dabbling with other ideas, including some shorter pieces.

Question How easy is it to move in and out of different disciplines?

Generally, I stick to novel-length work. However, I really enjoy writing shorter pieces because they give such instant gratification. The whole process of drafting, editing and polishing is complete in a matter of days, and that gives me a real rush of satisfaction. I can switch between the different disciplines, but I find that this period in between finishing one book and starting another is the perfect time for experimenting with short stories.

The Love is All You Need  anthology of ten winning short stories from the Sophie King competition can be bought for kindle here. It will be available in paperback in August.

 

 

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