Welcome, Dawn! It’s good to see you again. The last time you came to visit, we heard all about your first book.
This time we’ll learn about Dawn’s second book ‘The Great War 100 Stories of 100 Words Honouring Those who Lived and Died 100 Years Ago’ was published in 2016. Her first book was a YA story published by Muse it Up Publishing, in 2014, entitled ‘Daffodil and the Thin Place’. Her third book will be published soon and is a romance set in the Plotlands in Essex, UK, in 1930. She enjoys a writing challenge and has had stories published in various anthologies, including horror and speculative fiction, as well as romances in several women’s magazines. Dawn has written a script for a play to commemorate World War One, which has been performed in her home town in Essex, as well as in Germany and France. Married with one son, she lives in Essex.
Short story from ‘The Great War – 100 Stories of 100 Words Honouring Those who Lived and Died 100 Years Ago’
(Note from Dawn: This is one complete story – exactly one hundred words long, not including the title)
With blank, unseeing eyes, he stares towards heaven.
God rest his soul.
I prise the blood-spattered envelope from fingers that are rigidly clenched over his heart, and I silently vow to carry his final words home, if I live to see my next leave.
A creased photograph of a young girl slips out of the letter.
It’s her heart I’ll break when I deliver the soldier’s farewell.
Should I tell her he died alone in a muddy hollow on French soil, with blood seeping from his severed leg into the earth?
No, I’ll simply say her sweetheart died a hero.
This touches my heart, Dawn. Just one hundred words make up this story. Seven short sentences. Yet they are powerful. Strong enough to make us see what the speaker sees…and feel what he feels.
Okay, guys. Let’s find out more about Dawn. Tell us how long you’ve been writing?
I’ve been writing seriously for about ten years, so I’m a relative newcomer. I’ve always made up stories in my head but it wasn’t until I was trying to encourage my teenage son to do his creative writing homework that I started writing any of those stories down. I gave my son the first sentence and suggested he write the next few sentences. Sadly, he wasn’t inspired – but I was! I finished that story and although I didn’t manage to get it published, I was hooked! I had several short stories published but it wasn’t until several years later that my first book ‘Daffodil and the Thin Place’ was published by Muse it Up Publishing. Since then, I’ve published ‘The Great War – 100 Stories of 100 Words Honouring Those who Lived and Died 100 Years Ago’ and have just heard that a romantic story has been accepted by My Weekly magazine and will be published as a pocket novel.
Everyone has their writing styles. I’m a pantser who does a little plotting. Are you a plotter, a pantser or some combination of both?
I’m definitely a plotter. I like to have at least the beginning and end of a story worked out before I start writing, and I like to know roughly how I’m going to get from one to the other! Often, I make changes as I go, so stories are rarely the same as my initial idea and I would be quite happy if a different ending seemed to work better than the one in my original plan, but that hasn’t happened so far. Without a framework, I think I might waffle and write aimlessly although I know that being a pantser suits some writers.
I love hearing stories about how authors get their ideas. Where do you go for inspiration?
I get inspiration from every day life, from reading, listening to the radio, memories, overhearing conversations or observing people when I’m out. When I first took up photography, I found that my powers of observation developed and I began to notice things I probably wouldn’t have seen before. The same thing has happened since I’ve started writing every day, and I now carry a note book with me so that I can jot things down as I see or hear them, to be used later in stories.
A notebook is a good idea. I carry one in my purse to jot things down I want to remember. Now, Dawn, tell us a little something about your current WIP.
My current work in progress is a play set at the end of the First World War, when the servicemen came home. I’ve already written a play about three First World War servicemen – one from England, one from Germany and one from France – which was part of our town’s Forget Never project to commemorate the start of the First World War. It’s called ‘The Sons of Three Countries Remembered’ and has been performed in my home town and our twin towns in Germany and France. This year, on 11 November, it will be performed again in our home town. Next year, the play I’m currently working on will be performed. I’m quite nervous about it and I’ve started early, so I can take my time and hopefully do a good job.
What is the best compliment you ever received as a writer?
I think the best and most surprising compliment I have received as a writer was to hear of the reaction of some German friends when they read the script of ‘The Sons of Three Countries Remembered’. In writing a play about the First World War which was going to have an audience comprising British, French and Germans, I wanted to avoid triumphalism or blame. Apparently, the first Germans to read it were touched and several of them cried. I was surprised when they requested that it be performed in Germany and amazed when the theatre was packed. And the standing ovation at the end was completely overwhelming.
That’s wonderful, Dawn. I am impressed. I remember looking at pictures of my grandfather in uniform (he was a doughboy in WWI) and listening to my dad tell us the stories about what happened to him overseas. This is a wonderful way to pass them on to future generations.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I go to the gym about three mornings a week although if I had more time, I’d go more often. Other than that, my hobbies include photography and drawing although I’m more likely to be taking photographs than drawing because I’m so slow at drawing! I like to do portraits and have done Tom Cruise, Marilyn Monroe, Sean Connery, Paul Newman and Elvis, amongst others.
It’s been a pleasure to have you visit again, Dawn. I’m especially fascinated by your stories about the soldiers. We should never forget their patriotism and their bravery or their simple acts of kindness that got them through each day, and we need to make sure we pass their stories on to future generations.
website and blog is http://www.dawnknox.com
email – firstname.lastname@example.org
The Great War – 100 Stories of 100 Words Honouring Those who Lived and Died 100 Years Ago https://www.amazon.co.uk/Great-War-Hundred-Stories-Honouring/dp/1532961596/ref=pd_sim_14_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=1P6GBNJW3KRVN8Z8Q96H