My short story titled "Keepers" has just been published in the anthology At The Lighthouse edited by Sophie Essex for Eibonvale Press, and as usual I'm blogging a few words discussing how the story came to be written. There may be spoilers within.
Before I go ahead, I should say that the editor, Sophie, is my partner, but for the submission process she read all the stories without bylines so there is no favouritism when it comes to selecting my story for this book.
As the title of the anthology suggests, each story here features a lighthouse as it's central theme. I had been amassing a list of interesting female names to use within a story (Juska, Candelaria, Ottile, and Cosmina), and it felt natural that I could tell a story from each of their individual viewpoints as to how they might work together for a lighthouse to be restored. Their names - and the meanings of their names - felt a good fit for this piece and they are - therefore - the keepers of the title. The actual nature of the lighthouse itself is revealed - perhaps ambiguously, perhaps shamelessly, depending on your reading - at the end of the story, so much so that I don't feel I can add much more to this blog without it becoming too much of a spoiler.
Here's an extract:
The island is - inevitably - windswept. When Juska - the refuge giver - steps one foot from the boat her sense of home is evident. Two steps anchor. The Captain has a gruff sensibility, the bonhomie during the two hour journey rough and frank. Now he hauls her suitcases from the deck to the shingle. It's a long way up to the shack which abuts the lighthouse. She accepts his offer to share the weight. Gorse prickles against the thin cotton material of her leggings as she moves from stones to dunes, until eventually this shades into moorland and she sees that the coarse vegetation which surrounds the base of the lighthouse will require cutting back to allow an easier access to the entrance.
Regular readers of this blog will know I usually listen to music through headphones whilst writing, and this entire story was written to three different albums by Blonde Redhead: 23, Penny Sparkle, and Barragan on continual repeat.