Over the next few weeks, I will share a few insights into the stories that make up my collection Sky Light Rain. I’ll explore them in the order in which they appear in the book, so will begin with the tale ‘Untrue Blue’.
This story examines a relationship between a brother and sister, from the point of view of the sister Tia. Themes include trust and betrayal, and when the truth can be the greatest cruelty of all.
You might notice if you’ve read my stories that sibling relationships and rivalries are recurring topics. A brother or sister might be the first person you come to know on an equal footing – your earliest memories are likely entwined with theirs, and there’s a high possibility that they know all the versions of you. It gives them a rare power. If anyone can derail you, I bet it’s them!
Bristol’s Cabot Tower, which I can see in the distance from my home and spent many childhood days climbing, is a key location for the pair in ‘Untrue Blue’.
The story begins:
As children we would go flying at night. You were always the instigator, shaking me awake then unlatching the window to let the night creep cool and bright beneath our pyjamas, under our skin. I’d edge out first, blinking in the sweep of orange-tarnished sky, beneath the faint stinging stars.
The story contains hints of fairytales and a touch of magic realism. For me, there’s a bit of wish fulfilment too – as a child I believed there was no more enviable superpower than the ability to fly!
I started writing it with the image the tale opens with, and then wanted to know why Tia seemed so wary of her brother. A lot of my fiction unfurls that way – with a scene I glimpse in my head like something from a film, and a question that leads me to what happens next. In fact, a lot of my writing is a journey of discovery.