My guest today is Sam Evans.
Welcome, Sam and thanks for answering my questions.
What inspired you to write your story for the anthology?
It was a combination of two things. Firstly I attended a booking signing in September in London and ended up talking to Julie Bozza about how I was struggling with my writing. From this conversation came a little challenge of sorts to submit a story for the Pride of Poppies anthology. Secondly I had always wanted to write a story around two characters and their last night together but could never find the plot (as such) to go with it. The above conversation however led to a visit to the WW1 exhibition at the Imperial War Museum North and ‘After and Before’ was born.
Could you tell me a little about it?
The story therefore revolves around two men who have been lovers for many years in what was then an unlawful relationship. Flipping back and forth between from end of the war in 1918 to the start in 1914 it tells the story of their last evening together, as one man – Wilf, a gardener – is about to leave for the frontline and the other Robert, a doctor who will never be able to fight on the frontline due to an debilitating injury. The reader follows their last night together as well getting a glimpse of what happens as the war is drawing to a close.
Could you please tell me about your other work?
I’m at kind of at the beginning of my journey in this genre. I have a short story published through Dreamspinner Press in the Not Quite Shakespeare anthology that was released last year. My story in The Pride of Poppies anthology will be my second piece of published work.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently doing Camp Nano. I failed miserably at NaNoWriMo in November so I thought I would give this another short and it’s going okay – for now! It’s a novella I had originally planned as a short story but it’s not turned out that way and will end up being longer, much longer. It’s about a young man called Simon who lives a very normal and ordinary human life in an extra ordinary world. It’s my first crack at paranormal – there will be druids and wizards and vampires all going about their daily business and a boy who lives in an ivory tower.
Please could we have an excerpt?
You can – It’s from After and Before from the Pride of Poppies Anthology
As usual for the time of the year, the external glass-paned door to Robert’s bedroom sat slightly ajar, a warm breeze threatening to sneak its way through the small gap. Across the courtyard, low-level sun turned the sky golden, and as the sun set further it cast long, roof-turret-shaped shadows over the immaculate gravel driveway.
From his position Robert could only hear the familiar sounds of a day winding down. The locking of doors, the clanking of keys and the birdsong that signalled dusk was now falling upon the estate. Only through a small pane of distorted glass could he see over the well-manicured lawns that flanked the driveway. On a normal day they would seem filled with staff fussing over each blade of grass. Tonight, however, an unusual calmness had fallen on the estate leaving the lawns to the mercy of the low setting sun and clusters of flies that swarmed over the heads of flowers Robert had no chance of knowing the names of. Whilst in the distance the rhythmic beat of steam-powered farm machinery thumped along as it snapped grain from the husks.
It could be, Robert thought, anywhere.
If you would like to follow Sam you can keep up with here on her Website or on her Twitter account – @samjevansstuff
A Pride of Poppies – an anthology from Manifold Press
Modern GLBTQI fiction of the Great War
Ten authors – in thirteen stories – explore the experiences of GLBTQI people during World War I. In what ways were their lives the same as or different from those of other people?
A London pub, an English village, a shell-hole on the Front, the outskirts of Thai Nguyen city, a ship in heavy weather off Zeebrugge, a civilian internment camp … Loves and griefs that must remain unspoken, unexpected freedoms, the tensions between individuality and duty, and every now and then the relief of recognition. You’ll find both heartaches and joys in this astonishing range of thought-provoking stories.
An anthology featuring authors: