Interview with the 2024 2nd prize winner - Julie Evans

 Meet the Winners!

Julie Evans’ won second prize with her story, The Sleeve.

Her short fiction has won and been placed in a number of competitions. Her work has been published in anthologies, magazines, national and local newspapers, recorded on audio, and performed on stage. Julie lives in Surrey, UK and her favourite things are family, forests, and firelight. 

Q. Where did you get the idea (for the story)?
I had written a tattooing incident into a historical story and was thinking about it in terms of how popular/unpopular tattoos have been in different eras, and people’s reactions to them. Once you start thinking about it, you see tattoos everywhere! So I made my character fascinated by her daughter’s new boyfriend’s ‘sleeve’ when he comes to stay. 
Q. How would you sum up your story in a sentence or two?
It’s really about motherhood and sexuality. The character, a middle-aged woman, is unnerved by the arrival of an attractive man in her home, which makes her reflect on her roles as mother, wife and lover. I am often reluctant to write characters who are my age and sex, because I don’t want people to think they are me, but on this occasion, I decided to take that chance. Glad I did – but the character is definitely not me!
Q. How long have you been writing?
All my life ‘under the radar’, but in terms of putting my work out beyond the four walls of home, about seven years. I write short stories, flash fiction and poetry. I think these are the forms of writing that suit me best, though I have written a couple of (quite poor) novels. I have won several competitions and been published in anthologies, magazines and newspapers. My first degree was in history, so quite a few of my stories are set in the past – though this one obviously wasn’t.
Q. Have you taken any courses in creative writing, and if so are there any that you’d recommend?
Yes, for some years I’ve been going to a local weekly class with a professional teacher here in Surrey. More than anything, this has provided a network of friends who share my interest in writing, and I wouldn’t like to be without it. Plus we consider the technical aspect of writing every week and learn a lot from critiquing each other’s work. I also have a Masters in Creative Writing but I think the stimulation you get from a writers’ group is probably the most important thing. 
Q. Do you have any advice for short story writers?
Get your work out there! Share it. Don’t be afraid to call yourself a writer. I was a bit shy of doing this at first, didn’t feel my work was good enough to enter competitions or make submissions etc. but each little acknowledgement, even if only a longlisting in a small competition, boosts your confidence enormously. 

Thank you, Julie. If you haven't read Julie's story yet, you can find it here!


Katy Smith said…
Well done Julie ,congratulations