Tracy Hutchinson has an MA in Creative Writing having successfully gained a first -class honours in English Language. She cares for her disabled husband and 6 of her 8 children that are still at home, 3 of whom are on the autistic spectrum. Tracy reads and writes for escapism when the time allows. She belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, and has held many teaching and leadership roles within the organisation. She also helps to admin an OU Carers group on Facebook, and helps in the Write Club Society Committee. She has been published in various charity anthologies, under the Write Club banner, utilising her editing skills by assisting in their compilation. She has used those skills to compile two anthologies to raise funds for NHS Charities.
You can follow Tracy on Twitter https://twitter.com/tracyjh8
2020 may one day be considered the year that didn’t happen. Everyone muddling through, making the best of each day. Everyone wanting to help. Everyone wanting to make a difference. This anthology is to help us remember that 2020 did happen and to provide everyone with an opportunity to help, and to make a difference. For your pleasure, and to help the vital work of the NHS during this pandemic, the writers, artists, photographers and editors, have freely given up their time, and snippets of their work that they have continued to create during this global challenge. 100% of the profits from sales of this book will go to NHS Charities Together for the Covid-19 Urgent Appeal, estimated at £5 per copy.“NHS Charities Together (registered charity 1186569) is grateful to be receiving a donation on the sale of each copy of this book. The Charity was not involved in writing, collating or publishing the book, and is not responsible for any of the content within”.The contributors all work in different genres, and although there is no particular theme the underlying topic is about the effects of Lockdown. Each contribution is creative, individual, imaginative, bitesize, and family friendly. 2020 Together is about being more than an individual, or a self-isolating group. 2020 Together is about being a community. Together we can make a difference.
2020 has been a long year. And now we must look with hope to 2021. We hope for a vaccine that can return the world to normal. We hope for an economy that will heal quickly, avoiding the painful recession that has been forecast. We hope for people to continue to develop the sense of togetherness that has appeared this year. We hope that 2021 will be an easier and a better year than 2020 has been.2021 Still Together is an anthology to follow on from 2020 Together. This second anthology reflects the community spirit of 2020, where writers, artists and photographers, who like you, want to continue to help our Covid-19 heroes. 100% of profits from sales of this book will continue to go to NHS Charities Together. Lockdown, Covid-19 and change has happened this year. Learning to stay safe, and helping to keep other people safe has happened this year. But we now want to look forward to a happy Christmas and a hopeful new year. And we hope that you will enjoy reading these short, family friendly creations, while also providing funds to help our NHS heroes.Together, we can still make a difference.
Tell me about your books and the anthologies the ones you have been part of and the ones you have put/are putting together
I still think of myself as a wannabe writer. I have been involved with some lovely anthologies, and have grown as a writer by helping in the editing process and contributing to them. I helped with Gift and Generations for the OU Write Club, and have created Tawny Owl Publishing for the anthologies I have put together with Alison Drury, to fundraise for some of our Covid-19 Heroes. mybook.to/2020_Together and watch this space for 2021 Still Together which should be out by the end of November.
When and how did you start writing?
When I was still in primary school. I absolutely loved The Famous Five by Enid Blyton, and I started scribbling my first ‘children’s novel- The Trio find adventure’ in an exercise book my teacher gave me for hand-writing exercises. I would whizz out a chapter in a wet-play. I’m not sure what my teacher thought.
What are you writing at the moment?
A post-apocalyptic fantasy novel. It is actually a prequel to another I started writing, but I found I had so much back-story it needed its own story.
How does a story begin for you? Is it an idea, a conversation, a title or an image?
All of the above. My current work in progress, The Miracle Child, started with an idea from a leaflet my daughter was given when she was chosen to represent her school to go on a course to learn more about the Holocaust, visit Auschwitz and then prepare and give a presentation on what she had learnt. The leaflet was a story of how a Jewish mum gave birth as she arrived at the camp, and her baby was thrown with the rest of the possessions that were confiscated.
One of my short stories came to life because of a character based on a grumpy little lady who seems to take delight in moaning at everyone she comes into contact with in the town I live in. True story, to give context, not in my story, but one day I was passing the jewellers, and she stopped me outside, and because she was in her speedy, motorised wheelchair, she demanded that I go in and ask for the jeweller by name, and tell him she was outside waiting to see him. I obediently went in and made the request. The jeweller said, ‘Oh, yes, I saw her coming. Tell her I died.’
What was your favourite research activity you have done for a book?
I really enjoyed researching about rappelling. I had a character who needed to descend a sheer, newly cut, cliff-face after an earthquake. Suddenly, I had a whole new piece of his background character where he had been taught by his dad about safe techniques for climbing.
What writing advice have you been given that really helped you?
It is better to have words on the screen, or on the paper, to edit, than a blank sheet of white that gives no inspiration.
What do you consider your greatest writing accomplishment?
To date, my biggest accomplishment is to have created 2020 Together, and soon 2021 Still Together. Most of the work isn’t my own, but instead it was a project that brought lots of creative people together who wanted, and still want to make a difference during this Covid-19 challenging time.
And which was your biggest challenge?
Writing related, I would have to say, studying for my degree, and MA. But as well as being a challenge, it gave me goals and focus. It rekindled my hope to be a writer, and have my own written work out there one day for people to read. Although, it must be said, I was actually writing when I was studying, because I had the goals, now life has an annoying way of poking its unwanted head around the door and disturbing me.
Not writing related, being a mum and carer 24/7.
Has a book really touched you? Made you rethink your views on life? If so, what was it?
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely fine, by Gail Honeywell, really touched a chord or two with me. Her characterisation was spot on.
A Woman of war, by Mandy Robotham, is very well written and gives some great alternative viewpoints.
I absolutely love the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. Again, great characterisation, and believable world-building. He has the ability to take you out of the safety of your chair and put you squarely in the path of imminent danger.
You are stuck on a desert island and can choose: one of your own characters, a character from someone else’s book, a famous person to join you, who do you choose?
Honestly, I would just want my family.
What is your ultimate dream as a writer?
To finish my own series of books, and at least see them on my own bookcase.
Any advice you want to share?
If you want to be a writer. Write. Read. Live.
All images belong to author.