Welcome, Gail Aldwin!

From Gail’s #WIP, The Girl and the Tutor…

It was well after five o’clock when Stephanie prepared to leave the office. Glancing through the window, a great belly of cloud suggested a downpour was likely. She opened her desk drawer expecting to see her foldable umbrella tucked beside the desk tidy which always contained a ready-sharpened HB pencil. Not in its rightful place, Stephanie wondered where the hell it was. From the corner of her eye, she saw Doug approaching. Please, not one of his little chats when all she wanted to do was have a full-scale search for the umbrella and go home. Letting the drawer slide shut, she watched Doug rolling his shoulders as he walked with his long-legged gait. Stephanie stifled a laugh. Perhaps a karate chop to the spine might straighten him – she could try it during drinks after work one Friday.

‘Can I have a word?’ he asked.

‘I’m on my way out.’ An idea sprang into Stephanie’s head. ‘Yoga class.’

‘It’s important.’ Doug frowned and lines spread from the corners of his eyes. ‘Let’s go to my office.’

Shit. ‘Right this minute?’

Doug didn’t answer, just turned and Stephanie was obliged to follow.

They walked between rows of abandoned hot desks. Conscientious colleagues cleared their work spaces while others left the detritus of a birthday celebration: screwed up napkins, cake crumbs and a shrivelled balloon. Stephanie remembered the days of greasy fingerprints on a shared keyboard. Honestly, there should be some rule about office hygiene. Those were her concerns before the restructure at the West Country Post. The changes had been to her advantage. Stephanie acquired a nearly new executive chair, a permanent base in a quiet corner and the title of features editor.

Doug took his chair behind the desk and Stephanie sat opposite.

‘What’s all this about?’ she asked.

Doug tapped the manila folder in front of him. ‘I expect you know what’s coming.’

‘Expect what?’ Stephanie undid a button on her cardigan as heat began surging. Of all times to have a hot flush.

‘You must have heard the rumours.’

‘Rumours?’ Her fingernail snagged on the buttonhole stitching. Oh, for an emery board (also kept in her desk tidy). She was almost tempted to bite the jagged edge of nail to stop it catching on anything else. Shaking her head, she knew that would never do.

‘Are you alright, Stephanie?’

‘Absolutely.’ She crossed one ten-denier, pale-crystal leg over the other.

‘The business needs knocking into shape and there are going to be economies,’ said Doug.

‘Don’t worry – I’m not going to stockpile the office stationery to take home.’

Doug didn’t even smile. ‘Jokes aside.’

Bloody hell. She flapped her collar in an attempt to cool down. The Meno-ease sage tablets she’d been taking for the last month were having little or no effect.

‘There are going to be redundancies.’

‘I understand.’ She glanced at Doug and his look of consternation made her realise she should say more. ‘If it’s the only way forward.’

‘I’m glad you feel like that. I’ve been dreading this moment.’

‘My shoulders are broad, Doug. You know I can take on extra responsibilities.’

‘You don’t understand.’ Doug’s expression was strangely contorted. This made Stephanie focus. His cheeks were rosy and probably complemented her own shade of too much heat.

‘What’s wrong?’ she asked.

‘I’m afraid it’s your job that’s being cut. I’m very sorry.’

Writer’s WIP Questionnaire – 2

  1. In the past two weeks, I have felt mostly happy about the progress of my WIP.

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It’s got to be a good fortnight when I read through the latest version of my dual timeline psychological novel The Girl and The Tutor. Once I’m finished, I’m going to start submitting to agents and publishers.  

  • In the past two weeks, I have mostly managed to balance my writing life with the rest of my life.

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It’s been tricky with the holiday season taking up great chunks of time. Thankfully, I’m now back into a regular routine.

  • In the past two weeks, I have made drastic changes to my WIP.

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During the final read through before submission it’s simply about tweaking. Sometimes I move sentences around, correct the odd typo and delete a few speech tags.

  • In the past two weeks, I have mostly suffered from ‘writer’s block’.

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Comment: No writer’s block whatsoever. And when I’ve finished with this manuscript, there’s another to work on.

  • In the past two weeks, I have focused on one project.

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Yes, the vast majority of my writing time has been dedicated to The Girl and the Tutor, but as my last contemporary novel This Much Huxley Knows was published less that six months ago, I still get involved in writing pieces for marketing purposes.

Thanks for taking part, Gail! Poor Stephanie – can’t wait to find out how she reacts! Happy writing!

Gail Aldwin

Novelist, poet and scriptwriter, Gail Aldwin’s debut coming-of-age novel The String Games was a finalist in The People’s Book Prize and the Dorchester Literary Festival Writing Prize 2020. Following a stint as a university lecturer, Gail’s children’s picture book Pandemonium was published. Her second contemporary novel This Much Huxley Knows uses a young narrator to shine a light upon the follies of adults. Gail has appeared at national and international literary festivals including the Bridport Literary Festival, Stockholm Writers Festival and the Mani Lit Fest in Greece. Prior to Covid-19, she volunteered at Bidibidi in Uganda, the second largest refugee settlement in the world. When she’s not travelling, Gail writes at her home overlooking water meadows in Dorset.

Find out more about Gail…

Twitter:                https://twitter.com/gailaldwin

Facebook:           https://www.facebook.com/gailaldwinwriter/

Instagram:           https://www.instagram.com/gailfaldwin/

Blog:                      https://gailaldwin.com

Published by morwennablackwood

When she was six years old, Morwenna wrote and endless story about a frog, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She’s the author of bestselling noir psychological thrillers, The (D)Evolution of Us, and Glasshouse, has an MA in Creative Writing, and can usually be found down by the sea. Her third novel, Underrated, will be published by #darkstroke on Valentine's Day, 2022. She often thinks about that frog.

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