After a long period writing academic books (under my full name, Veronica McGivney), I have found it liberating to concentrate on writing fiction. My novels are very different from each other – as indeed are my short stories. I enjoy writing in different genres, and would find being restricted to one, constraining.
Things that happen every day - a chance encounter, an overheard conversation, a news item - provide a constant source of inspiration and material for my novels and stories. The opening scene of Inheritors of the New Kingdom was based on something that happened to a friend of mine. The main character in A Reluctant Hero was inspired by someone I spotted through a bus window. Several of the stories in Ghosts, Resolution and Revenge include incidents that happened to friends and members of my family, as well as to myself.
Short stories aren’t as fashionable as novels, but they can be immensely satisfying both to read and to write. They are, of course, far less labour-intensive than writing a novel, although they require a different and perhaps an even greater discipline. An idea or theme can sometimes be more powerfully conveyed through the concentration and concision of a short story than through a novel of 200-300 pages.
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