I am delighted to welcome Gail Aldwin to Linda’s Book Bag to stay in with me today because Gail is a new to me author and it feels a real privilege to ‘meet’ so many wonderful writers through this feature that I wouldn’t otherwise have known about.
If you’re an author who’d also like to stay in with me to tell me about one of your books, please click here for more details.
Staying in with Gail Aldwin
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag, Gail. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.
Thank you for inviting me to stay in with you, Linda. I’m looking forward to sharing a splendid evening.
Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
Paisley Shirt is a collection of short fiction published by Chapeltown Books. It contains twenty-seven fascinating stories that reveal the extraordinary nature of people and places. Through a variety of characters and voices, these stories lay bare the human experience and what it is like to live in our world. You can immerse yourself in Paisley Shirt one evening or dip in and grab a satisfying story to read during a coffee break, while a child naps or between train stops on a journey.
(I love short pieces of fiction like Paisley Shirt, Gail, as I feel I have achieved a real read completing a story in a short while.)
What can we expect from an evening in with Paisley Shirt?
All the stories in this collection are themed around the quality of resilience and you’ll find reflection, humour, surprise, intrigue and more. Maria Donovan, author of The Chicken Soup Murder, says the stories in Paisley Shirt are ‘sensitive, surprising, unnerving, tender and crucial.’
(What a wonderful description.)
Here is a taster of one of the very short stories.
The dining room is laid with paper cloths and napkins. In my pocket, the stone slips between my fingers, the surface smooth and cold. I found it in the garden as I shuffled along the path. I think of Laura and her clear gaze, her eyes watching my mouth as she tries to understand the words I dribble. I place the distorted heart on the table where she sits, a stone love letter.
(That’s so effective in just a short paragraph Gail. Lovely.)
A review by Tracy Fells on Amazon says this story ‘gives a lingering punch to the heart.’
(And I quite agree with Tracy.)
What else have you brought along and why?
The title for this collection comes from one of the stories. A caller to the home of Auntie Maggie wears a paisley print shirt, which reminds her of an earlier relationship. The history of paisley pattern is fascinating. The droplet design originally appeared on shawls made in Kashmir, which were brought back to the UK as gifts by soldiers returning from India. Later, the East India Company began importing shawls and due to their popularity, production of woollen shawls began in the small town of Paisley in Scotland. Paisley print shawls became a must-have item for Victorian women. As a reflection of their popularity, I have brought with me this evening a painting called Paisley Shawl by Robert Lewis Reid (1862-1929).
(How fascinating. I love hearing how titles and inspiration for writing happens. I’m off to India soon too so I shall look out for a paisley shawl.)
Although the paisley pattern fell in popularity over the years, there was a revival in the late 1960s when the print became fashionable for men and women to wear.
I hope you enjoy reading Paisley Shirt and that it will fire you with enthusiasm to read other flash fiction collections published by Chapeltown Books.
Thanks so much for staying in with me to tell me all about Paisley Shirt Gail. If your sample story is anything to judge by, I can’t wait to read the rest of the collection.
‘Paisley Shirt’ is a fascinating collection of 27 stories that reveal the extraordinary nature of people and places. Through a variety of characters and voices, these stories lay bare the human experience and what it is like to live in our world.
About Gail Aldwin
Gail is a prize-winning writer of short fiction and poetry. Her work can be found online at Ink, Sweat & Tears, Slamchop and Words for the Wild and in a range of print anthologies including Flash Fiction Festival One (Ad Hoc Fiction, 2017), Gli-ter-ary (Bridge House Publishing, 2017) and Dorset Voices (Roving Press, 2012).
As Chair of the Dorset Writers’ Network, Gail works with the steering group to support the skills and confidence of writers across the county by connecting creative communities. She is also a visiting tutor to undergraduates of creative writing at Arts University Bournemouth. In 2017, Gail co-wrote Killer Ladybugs a short play that was staged by Cast Iron Productions (Brighton). Paisley Shirt, Gail’s collection of short fiction is published by Chapeltown Books.