Forgive me father, for I have sinned. It has been four years since my last confession. That is to say, since I last wrote a word of creative fiction. It was four years ago that I submitted my novel, Killing Beauties, a work of historical fiction based largely on the real lives of two seventeenth century women, to my publisher. It failed to set the world alight. I think it sold four copies in 2022. And yet I call myself a writer.
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The swimmer reaches the shore, drags herself from the water and collapses, exhausted onto the beach. A knot of holidaymakers gather round her and gawp at each other while the officious tell the rest to give her space, let her breath. A young girl asks her mother if she can use the first aid she learnt to get her badge at Brownies. Hermother shakes her head and pulls her precious daughter close, remembering the lilo incident and dying inside at what might have happened. She sees her daughter lying there, motionless. Not this woman, muscular and broad-shouldered, wearing an all-in-one, swimming hat and goggles. Continue reading →