Newsletter no.140, August 2019

I don’t know about you, but I struggle to work in this warm weather. I have fans upstairs and downstairs and go from one to the other. But, I am happy to report that my To Do pile has decreased considerably. In fact, there’s just the filing to be done now. ‘Just’ is not quite the right word, because that looks like a five coffee pile to me. But nevertheless, I do feel better for having got some of the business stuff out of the way.

I’ve also finished and sent off another short story. This is going to be published in the Methodist Recorder some time in August, but I don’t have the date yet. When I do, I’ll let you know. And yes, if anyone would like a copy, just drop me an email and I’ll send you one free after the publication date. This story is about a lost child who won’t or can’t speak. Can Bruce work out what’s happened? Ah, but he’s feeling really grumpy and he doesn’t know how to talk to children, anyway.

Also coming out in August is the next Ellie Quicke. This one is called MURDER FOR GOOD, and features another of my difficult-to-like-but-pitiful characters . . . Oh, and Diana, of course. At the end of this one, I almost feel sorry for Diana. Well, not quite, of course. She really is not a likeable woman, is she?

So now it’s back to work on the next Bea Abbot, which is coming on a treat. I suppose this story is really all about friendship and I’ve had to ask myself what makes a friend as opposed to an acquaintance?

How would you define ‘a friend?’ Some of my real-life friends and I have been debating this. Is it frequency of meeting? Is it even-handed so that each relies on the other to the same extent? Is it based on having similar interests? One of my friends said; ‘If you feed me, then you are my friend.’ (Fine, if you’re a cat!) And then, what about those people you’ve known for a long time but don’t see on a regular basis . . . do you drop into the same relationship when you meet again even after, perhaps, a year’s gap? In False Conclusion the fourteen-year old Bernice grudgingly begins to develop a relationship with a needy school friend who has a different agenda. Can it last? I don’t think I’ve ever had to think so much about true friendship.

May we have a good balance in our lives of work and play, of helping others and of accepting help for ourselves, of sunshine and sorrow. But in all things may we look forward with confidence to what is to come.

Veronica Heley