Warmest congratulations to the team at The People’s Friend as it reaches its 150th anniversary – a noteworthy moment.
The Ladies – Mandy Dixon
Jennet, Hetty, Carrie, Elspeth, William, Thomas, John, Harold, Phemie, Mr Souter and Drew Fleming were people I spent a lot of time with last year. They are the central characters in the Anniversary Serial I wrote for The People’s Friend magazine to mark its 150th year of publication.
And also many thanks to the fiction team for inviting me in. My editor, Alan Spink sent a query e-mail in March. It was a total surprise filling me with excitement and dread in equal measure: what an honour to be asked: what a responsibility to carry. Of course, I need not have worried as the editorial support for which the magazine is known among its writers was there for me throughout. Alan in the forefront, but fiction ed, Shirley Blair adding her Dundonian voice and Magazine ed, Angela Gilchrist pointing things out when the three of us might have let our enthusiasm outstrip our writerly antennae. (Really? Ed)
1869 is a year rich in happenings if you want to write something for a woman’s magazine. My first synopsis was liked and commended, but rejected on fairly straightforward grounds. It wasn’t set in Dundee.
Cue a huge learning curve helped along by the work of Judith Flanders, Lynne Wilson and Norman Watson. The serial is not history or documentary, but it is informed by the histories written by these people about life in London, Edinburgh and Dundee for the poorer class of person.
The serial, CITY OF DISCOVERIES, is fiction and I hope you’ll join us over the eight weeks and read the stories of my lovely characters. I’m looking forward to having them arrive in my life again every week.