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  1.  Allison Davies


     Allisons Profile Pic

    Acted as one of the three judges in the 2012 'Flashy Shorts' Competition.


    Author of the Play 'Toast' showing at the Stockton Arc, as part of the Short Sharp Festival Saturday 19th May.  



    Tell us a little bit about you:

    I’m a female, short, I like to write and I don’t like whelks. Will that do?


    What do you like most about writing?

    Most of it, from getting the first whisper of an idea to finishing a piece and all points between. (Well, may be not the editing, especially when you’re on draft 7) It just fits, like putting on a favourite pair of boots. Plus, if I like I can do it at 6 am with toast in my hair.


    Is there anything you dislike about writing?

    Only that I wish I’d committed to it sooner. I’ve written since I first got my fat little fist on a pencil aged 3 and if I don’t make time for it I am not pleasant to live with. Oh, and sometimes I have to take the toast out of my hair and be vaguely presentable.


    What are your strengths and weaknesses as a writer?

    I come up with ideas at the drop of a hat, though I can get distracted so it can can take me a while to execute them. As far as prose goes, I’d love to be a faster writer as it takes me ages to build up the word count, though once I’m gripped by a story I think of little else. When I’m writing drama I find it easier to get into a groove and can turn out a first draft pretty quickly.

    I’ve been told I have a good ear for dialogue and that I write rounded, believable characters. People seem to like my poems too.


    What inspires you to write?

    Anything! From the blurb on the back of a cereal packet to an overheard conversation. Friends, family, the state of the world, people I meet, places I travel, things I eat, watch, wear, feel; it’s all fair game. “The lights only come on when you come in.” (That’s from the door of the loo in my local supermarket).


    Which author(s) would you say have most influenced your writing?

    I read a lot of Asian authors so I guess that must have an impact. People like Rohinton Mistry, Amy Tan and V.S. Naipaul really get the juices flowing. They’re all about character and emotional journey.

     I also read a lot of poetry and this month have kept “Whistle” by Martin Figura close at hand. It’s excellent!


    What are you reading at the moment?

    I always have more than one book on the go. Currently I’m reading the latest Granta magazine, “Sacred Economics” by Charles Eisenstein and “Hope & Glory” by Stuart Maconie.


    Which three books would you list as your favourite all-time reads?

    That’s a hard one. Today I’m going to choose “Chasing the Monsoon” Alexander Frater, “India: The Road Ahead” Mark Tully and “A House for Mr Biswas” V.S. Naipaul. I got into Naipaul at school and it was his books that made me determined to keep writing.


    Do you have a preferred genre or particular style you apply when writing?

    Somewhere in the realms of modern literary fiction - at least when I’m writing prose. When it comes to drama I like Brechtian theatre, so no fourth wall. My stories tend to be about the emotional journey of the characters as I’m fascinated by the events that shape us and make us who we are.


    What are you working on at the moment?

    I’ve just finished a short play which will be performed at ARC in Stockton at the weekend. There’s plenty of scope to take the story further so I’ve begun looking at it with a view to turning it into a full length theatre piece or a radio play. I’m also working on a novel and a series of poems, as I’d like to get a collection or at least a pamphlet out.


    Any thoughts about e-books and e-book publishers?

    If it works, do it. A number of authors have been ‘discovered’ online and as long as you find a publisher who has your best interests at heart it’s well worth pursuing. The key is to do your research so that you end up working with someone you can trust and who has a good reputation. (Like a certain gentleman at Good Guy Publishing).


    Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

    Accept criticism. Be prepared to trash stuff that doesn’t work.

    Try new forms. Attend classes, workshops, whatever it takes. Explore until you find your voice. Write as if your life depended on it.


    What are your hopes for the future?

    To always have a story to tell. To keep honing and developing my skills and to continue being published/performed etc.


    Where can you be found online?


    At Listen Up North 


    In the “I Am Woman” Anthology 


    At Everyday Poets


    I also have a blog at, but I don’t visit it very often so be prepared to be underwhelmed!


    Many Thanks Allison 














  2. Graham Smith

     Graham Smith

    3rd Place Runner-up in GGP's 2013 'Flashy Shorts' Competition with his short story entry A Girl I Once Met.


    Graham's latest books can be found by clicking here

     G. Smith 01
    Gutshots: Ten Blows to the Abdomen is a collection of hardboiled short stories of revenge, retribution and renegades. Humourous, shocking and touching by turn, the ten short stories will leave you begging for more.
    And there is more! Five stories previously shown online or in other publications have been included as bonus material.
    Each tale comes with a short introduction detailing the story behind the story.
    Graham Smith 2

    'Eleven The Hardest Way' can do found here:

    Eleven The Hardest Way

    What do you like most about writing?

    I love the buzz of throwing the first draft down when the story is escaping my brain via my fingers. I find it very liberating to just let fly without caring about typos, spelling or getting the exact word or phrase right. Seeing the story take shape before my eyes is great fun and after a while my fingers take over and write far better than my brain ever can. Strangely when I am in full flow I seem to be a much quicker typist and make far less typos than I do when fine tuning and really crafting a piece.  


    Is there anything you dislike about writing?

    Tidying up after the first draft and doing the necessary editing. After the high of seeing the story evolve and the freedom of writing a first draft to change to being critical and exacting is a culture shock. What I have learned to do is leave the draft sitting for a few weeks and then not only is it less fresh to my mind and my eye but it is also easier to see what changes are needed.


    What are your strengths and weaknesses as a writer?

    I think my strengths are that I can grip the reader, write fast paced stories and also that I write excellent twists. (These are all comments I have had in reviews) Another strength I have is that as I’m new to writing I have not yet tried something which has phased me or frightened me. I’ll write crime and hard boiled noir from all angles and perspectives. I have written closed room murder mystery, chase stories, crime and suspense thrillers. And that’s just one collection of short stories.

    My weaknesses are that I can get tangled up with dialogue and tenses. I’m also easily distracted from writing by the promotion of my e-books on social media sites.


    What inspires you to write?

    Nothing more complex or simple than a desire to tell entertaining stories.


    Which author(s) would you say have most influenced your writing?

    Every author I’ve ever read has influenced me one way or another. Some authors have shown me exactly what to do and others have shown me mistakes which can be made. I have learned something from every book I’ve read and now I’m writing myself I seem to have an instinctive knowledge for what works and what doesn’t.


    What are you reading at the moment?

    Alex Connor’s Legacy of Blood.


    Which three books would you list as your favourite all-time reads?

    HMS Ulysses by Alistair Maclean – Character, pace and plot all come together perfectly.

    Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien – A classic good versus evil tale.

    Severed by Simon Kernick – A wonderful chase novel which was a one sitting read for me.


    Do you have a preferred genre or particular style you apply when writing?

    Both my reading and writing are firmly rooted in crime fiction, although I do tend towards the hard-boiled and noir end of the scale. By the time I’d moved on from children’s crime fiction to the adult version I’d read all the missing necklace stories I could stomach.


    What are you working on at the moment?

    I’m finished the first draft of my debut novel and then I’ll be releasing another couple of collections of short stories before going back to edit the novel.


    Any thoughts about e-books and e-book publishers?

    E-books are great for indie authors like myself and e-publishers should be treated with the same respect and caution as traditional publishers. Authors should do their homework before signing up with the first e-publisher to wave a contract in front of them.


    Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

    My only advice would be to read the genre you want to write in and then write critical reviews of the books. This will teach you to subconsciously analyse as you read and then when you come to write you will have a better understanding of what works.


    What are your hopes for the future?

    To get a traditional publishing deal for my novel. I am realistic though and recognise that in the current climate it is unlikely. That won’t stop me trying though.



    Graham can be found at the following locations:


    Twitter - @GrahamSmith1972


    Facebook -


    Blog -


    Amazon Author Page



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