I like putting stories into themed collections and so far have three collections based on plants and gardens, two of family stories and one of slightly spooky tales.
Although I often write about subjects which interest me, it's not usual for me to be able to precisely answer that favourite question for writers, 'Where do you get your ideas from?' For 24 stories in With Love And Kisses, I'd have to give a very vague response. That's not the case with 'Just This One Time.' I remember exactly what prompted it and where I was when I came up with the plot.
My last day job before I became a full time writer was as a tour guide on HMS Victory. I can't remember why, but Norah McGrath who was then the fiction editor for Take a Break magazine, phoned me at work and was told I'd have to call her back as I was on the ship. When I spoke to her she asked which ship and what was I doing there. She then suggested I write something set onboard. I'm sure I'm not the only person who considered a suggestion from Norah to be much more than a hint, so when I returned to the quarterdeck of HMS Victory, in between answering visitor's questions, I began thinking of possible story ideas.
A historical story was out. That's been done many, many times before – and original, plausible plotlines suitable for a women's magazine are rarer than Admiral Nelson's arms. I'd already written several stories about tour guides, or based loosely on things which happened in our staff room (shh, don't tell my colleagues.) Then a family appeared up the port side ladder, headed by dad who was loudly repeating some of the common misconceptions held by visitors to the ship. He walked straight past me – and straight into the story.
The story actually ended up in a Woman's Weekly Fiction Special, as did Waiting For An Answer, another story with a connection to HMS Victory, and Portrait Of A Wife, one of my few historical stories. These are also included in With Love And Kisses.