lesley atherton, author

Lesley Atherton big glasses

Lesley's Published Work

'Melissa and the Mobility Scooter'

'Conflict Management'

 

'Life's a Mess... And Then You Die'

 

'Feet On The Table'

 

'The Waggon'

'Crash Test Dummy'

Words Are Life Blog

 

Lesley also edited and contributed to a number of anthologies:

Time

...And Tide

Another Time

Survival

Wartime Tales

Winter Tales

"In common with many obsessive writers, I keep a notebook in every bag and in every room. Sitting on the park bench, waiting for my dog to finish his sniff around, I write about what I see and hear and feel. I make notes about the characters who pass me. And, lying in bed each night, I regularly switch on the lamp to make notes on the ideas that visit my reluctantly settling brain" - LA

"The greatest pleasure in life is just after you've finished a piece of writing and you allow yourself to feel happy with it. But that's only a few seconds before you realise how much time it will take to edit the thing!" - LA

I’ve always been somewhat of a writer. I was the kind of kid who would create little books of my own, and I also did quite well at school when it came to writing projects and exams.

 

I’ll always remember my lovely English teacher, Mrs Nash, giving us an assignment. We had to read Seamus Heaney’s poem ‘Blackberry Picking’ and then were told to write our own version.

Seamus Heaney’s ‘Blackberry-Picking'

Late August, given heavy rain and sun

For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.

At first, just one, a glossy purple clot

Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.

You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet

Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it

Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for

Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger

Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots

Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.

Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills

We trekked and picked until the cans were full,

Until the tinkling bottom had been covered

With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned

Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered

With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's.

 

We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.

But when the bath was filled we found a fur,

A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.

The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush

The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.

I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair

That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.

Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.

 

My resultant poem, though simple, used some strong words and brought positive and glowing reactions from Mrs Nash, both at the time and later in her literary flourish of an end of year report card in which she told me how much my writing had blossomed and would soon become wonderful. I loved that teacher so much. She was awesome, kind, creative and a little eccentric. Unfortunately, I don’t have her report anymore, and I don’t have the poem either. I just remember that it began something like this:

 

Blackberry picking, sweet and sticky,

Dum de dum de dum de dum

Like a gaping wound.

 

Later in life, I married a writer who became a publisher and helped him out with office and business management. I loved the writing-related work that came with it too - reviews, articles, copywriting and editing, proofreading and the rest of the whole shenanigans. Yep, I loved all that.

 

Later, when we split up and the children were a little older and more self-reliant, writing seemed to become my ‘thing’. It was what I wanted and needed to do.

 

When I got a little braver I saw a poster on a bookshop wall. It was for a writing group, and it gave Michelle’s email as a contact. I emailed her a few breathily nervous messages, then we agreed to meet at a local café. It was a lovely and unforgettable meeting. She directed me to join a writing group and this was what I did. Joining the group expanded my new writing confidence massively. 

So I began publishing more. Writing a little less (temporarily). And Scott Martin Productions was born.

The company became Words Are Life as I moved away from publishing fiction (I am truly appalling at selling things, and nonfiction sells itself to some extent). I carried on writing, ready to publish.

So, that’s my history. Good at editing, not bad at imagination and writing skills, but bloody awful at selling stuff.

In recent years I’ve published ‘Melissa And The Mobility Scooter’, which is a gorgeous book of bedtime stories for children (not just girls!) between 5 and 8. Older children will enjoy reading ‘Melissa’ themselves.

I’ve also published a collection of novelettes called ‘Conflict Management’. It’s an interesting collection of stories about good and evil twins, managing autism and long term illness, making serious life decisions, ghostwriting, revenge, and working with a male supermodel.

My first novel originally came out under the name, ‘Past, Present, Tense’, then was slightly re-written under the name ‘Life’s a Mess… And Then You Die. I love this book. It’s all about hoarding, family lost and found, dysfunctional relationships, vengeance and hope for the future.

And, I've also written what might just be the largest, floppiest book of empowering short stories ever created. It's called 'Feet On The Table' and is the result of many, many years of work.

At the time of writing, I’ve just published my second novel, ‘The Waggon’. I normally don’t have much confidence in my work but I believe this to be the best thing I’ve ever written! It came about as the final assignment of a Masters Degree in Creative Writing. This was back before Covid times, and I was due to publish it, but lost a lot of creative confidence when I was given a Merit on the course. I genuinely believed the writing deserved a better grade, which is unlike me. Unsure about how to progress, I gave it to a number of beta readers for feedback. It is their feedback that’s enabled me to rewrite the book. I hope it is deserving of a Distinction grade, even if it is only in my own head! Better late than never.

I have also just published a short ebook (a novelette or long short story) called 'Crash Test Dummy', about a middle aged alcoholic and the three street girls he cares for. 

 There's another ebook too, called 'Bigheart'. It's a sweet romance. Not like me, but I do care about the characters and I'm thinking of expanding it from a short story into a full length novel.

So, that’s where I am at the moment. I’m publishing on a few different platforms and am concentrating on editing and writing. There aren’t enough hours in the day to write all I want to write, but it’s getting a little easier every day.

 

Blackberries Small