My name’s Helen Keeling-Marston and I recently released my first book – Two Hundred Very Short Stories.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I was schooled in maths and statistics and, by day, I work as an analyst. However, I’ve always had a hankering to flex my creative muscle and so I finally bit the bullet a year or so ago and started writing short stories in my spare time.
Tell us about your book, and the story behind writing itTwo Hundred Very Short Stories is a collection of stories each so short that the reader can start…and finish…a whole one in one night – some even in a minute! Recognising that many people don’t have enough time for regular reading – and thus can easily lose the thread of a novel – I set about writing a collection of short stories.
Two Hundred Very Short Stories features an eclectic mix of short stories and flash fiction, and the book is a bit different to traditional books as reading some of the stories isn’t always a passive experience. For example, one of the stories has to be read with the aid of a mirror!
What’s the biggest challenge about being a writer?
I think probably two things: the first being sleep. I wrote Two Hundred Very Short Stories during my weekends and evenings. When writing in the evenings, my brain would become very active and so getting to sleep became a real problem! The second challenge for me was coming up with ideas. I had to come up with two hundred different ideas and, at times, I suffered from writer’s block. What I found helped, though, was going out for runs as, whilst pounding the streets, I’d often see things that would give me the germ of an idea for a story.
Do you have a specific writing space?
Not really. I write in many different rooms and locations!
What’s your number one piece of writing advice?
What books do you currently have on your bedside table?
Who have been your biggest writing influences and why?
I used to love reading books by Louis de Bernières as they were extremely funny but also very thought-provoking.
How do you market your writing?
I’m new to all this but am so far trying to spread the word through social media and interviews like this!
Lastly, something fun. What’s something our readers might not know about you?
I once had a group world indoor rowing record (I think it’s since been broken!).
by Helen Keeling-Marston
is a collection of stories each so short that the reader can start … and finish … a whole one in one night – some even in a minute! Recognising that many people don’t have enough time for regular reading – and thus can easily lose the thread of a novel – Helen Keeling-Marston set about writing a collection of short stories. Two Hundred Very Short Stories – Helen’s first book – features an eclectic mix of short stories and flash fiction: flash fiction being works of extreme brevity. Similar to a musical mixtape, the collection of stories aims to elicit a range of different emotions from the reader: joy, sadness, amusement, befuddlement, intrigue and fear. Be warned, however, that you’ll need to have your wits about you when reading this book, as Two Hundred Very Short Stories isn’t always a passive experience!