This year, Halloween coincided with NZ Bookshop Day.
To celebrate this fortuitous collision, Speculative Fiction NZ challenged its members to write a short story that combined the two. Imagine my delight when I heard that my submission, The Bookshop, had been placed second!
The Bookshop is about a woman, Charlotte, who returns to the home of her earliest memories, to try and make sense of her past. Once there, she must overcome her fears and fulfill her destiny.
When I started writing this story, I had a very clear picture of the bookshop itself. I knew that it was old and no longer occupied – it was spooky, after all. I pictured it as a smallish, stand-alone, two-storey, weatherboard building – run down and neglected. It had been empty for decades, and yet, there were still stacks of old books inside, along with the memories.
I tried to think about why the bookshop had been vacant for so many years… What (if anything) had happened, and when? It was a fun challenge!
The process of writing can be very much like a jigsaw puzzle. The pieces are all the ideas battling for favour inside my head, waiting to be selected and placed within the frame that is the story itself.