An Interview with Rosemary Kind

I am delighted to welcome author Rosemary Kind, who is the founder of Alfie Dog, a publisher of short fiction based in the beautiful county of North Yorkshire.

Welcome, Rosemary.

What was the deciding factor that motivated you to switch from a successful business career to becoming a full time author?

My husband had the opportunity to move to work in Belgium and I said ‘Why not?’ Because we were going back and forth every fortnight to see my stepchildren an ordinary career wasn’t going to work, so as I’d proved everything to myself that I needed to in a traditional working environment it was the perfect time to follow my heart. I’ve always written, but in my spare time. I knew I’d regret it if I never found out if I could do more.

Please tell us about your published work and what inspires you?

I write in a number of genres. Inspiration can come from the strangest places. My first published book (leaving aside ‘Negotiation Skills for Lawyers’ which was commissioned), was a humorous guide to travelling on the London Underground ‘Lovers Take Up Less Space’. I wrote most of the ideas as therapy when I was working in London. ‘Alfie’s Diary’ started as a daily blog in January 2006 when our first dog moved in. I’d been in Belgium for a couple of months and was writing mainly non-fiction, business articles, company newsletters etc. I wanted to write fiction, but it felt like a big step. Writing Alfie’s view of the world was a way to make myself write something every day. I originally intended to write it for a year of two, but nine years on it’s still growing and has spun off into several other projects, not least because he set up his own political party The Pet Dogs Democratic Party.

Inspiration for my novels is more interesting. ‘The Appearance of Truth’ came out of a writing group project to write 300 words on ‘verisimilitude’. Once I’d looked it up in the dictionary I started mulling it over. I was researching my own family tree and had ordered a birth certificate. It occurred to me that it would be quite possible to pass a birth certificate off as belonging to someone that it really didn’t relate to and it all went from there. Lisa was given the birth certificate of a baby who died at 4 months old and the story is her search for who she really is and why it happened. ‘Alfie’s Woods’ came from our woodland walks. We’d just rescued a hedgehog, who was stuck in a fence, when a helicopter passed overhead. The rest of the walk was spent thinking ‘What if they were looking for the hedgehog? What if he had escaped from the woodland prison?’ ‘The Lifetracer’ was inspired by seeing an electronic countdown clock in a catalogue and finding myself thinking ‘What if it could be programmed with Time to Death and used to send a death threat?’ I have more ideas than I have time to write them.

What appeals to you most about Entelbucher Mountain Dogs and Alfie in particular?

I fell in love with the breed long before there were any in the UK. They are incredibly loyal affectionate dogs who are great with children and like nothing more than to be close to you. I also adored the way they look, not only their colouring but the fact they are such happy smiley dogs. Alfie is my pride and joy. He is a gentle giant who is everything I had ever dreamed of in a dog. We are incredibly close.

When did the inspiration for an online digital site for short fiction first occur to you?

Not only do I write short fiction as well as books, but I have many friends who are widely published in that field. The more I talked to other writers the more frustrated I felt that there were so few outlets for short stories and for earning an income from secondary rights. It was January 2012 when I wrote the business plan. I launched to authors in February and to readers in May. I was overwhelmed by the response and we had more than 100 stories by the launch and have rapidly built a library of 1700 stories. I also wanted to set up a site that gave as much back to authors as possible. The culture is very much to give support to the writing community where we can. I was amazed by how word of mouth spread the message across the globe and we very soon had writers from more than 25 countries, all writing in English.

stp version smallWhat can a reader expect to find on

We carry good quality stories in a wide range of genres. All submissions are reviewed and where necessary edited and only the best are accepted for publication. We want our readers to come away having had a really good read and be looking forward to coming back for more. We carry work by over 400 authors, so there really is something to suit everyone’s taste. Many of our authors are widely published, but we enjoy introducing high quality work from new writers too. Unlike most sites, we carry the stories in a range of formats to suit all types of ereader or to print. We also publish a range of books in both electronic and paper formats. They are mainly short story collections, but we do carry some novels as well.

Of course for writers, our International Short Story Competition may also be of interest. The closing date is the end of September so there is plenty of time to take part. First prize is £200 and book publication.

How do you see developing in future?
PDDP cover final small

The site is already one of the biggest short story publishers in the world, but hopefully it will be the site on everyone’s list when they talk about short stories. I want it to be ‘THE’ place that people go to when they are looking for quality short fiction.

What is next for Rosemary?

I’m writing another novel at the moment. This one was inspired by a chance comment in a meeting. Someone made reference to the ‘Orphan Train’ movement in America in the late 1800s and I had to go and find out more. As soon as I did, I was hooked on a story idea and the lives of three Irish immigrant orphans, fighting for survival, was born. It is my first full historical fiction writing and the research has been fascinating. It even made me get on a plane for the first time in over seven years, but that’s another story!

More from Rosemary

Meet Janice Rosser

Janice OAPschat

I am happy to welcome the creator of – a website with a mission to help the community it serves.

Could you tell us something about yourself?

Hello Valerie and thank you so much for inviting me. My name is Janice Rosser, (please call me Jan!) I was born and bred in Hereford, where I still live fifty plus years later. I have one sister, the author Margaret James. On leaving school, I had a career in banking, followed by a few enjoyable years working as a book keeper in a local Veterinary Surgery. I took a career break to look after my two sons. I then spent twelve years working in various Pharmacies. Since 2010, I have looked after my elderly mother full time.

What inspired you to start Oapschat?

A family conversation around the dining room table one lunchtime. We realised there were not many online community pages for the people approaching the silver and golden years of their lives. So, I started a Facebook page in April 2013 and began posting and commenting on various topics to do with the over fifties age groups.

How did you visualise the concept of Oapschat initially?

I thought I would see how the FB page took off and then write a weekly blog to see if any interest was generated. It quickly became clear that people were very interested and commented and posted daily. I was mentioned in The Daily Mail and once I reached 300 plus members on FB, I decided the time was right to launch the website in November 2013.

You encourage interaction between the readers and contributors to the site. Have you found it encouraging to see the response and also the number of sponsors that support it? 

I find it extremely encouraging to read the various viewpoints and comments and to know that I am helping people engage in online conversation. I do not have sponsors as such, I have had various companies and individuals that have donated raffle prizes for me which is fantastic and I also have fifteen contributors to date who have written their own articles for the website.

Did its success surprise you, or were you aware of a need for such site for this age group? 

The website is building very nicely after launching on November 1 2013 and the Facebook page now has 408 members. I realised last year that there is a real need for this age group after the Facebook launch in April 2013.

Being a carer and developing a website are both demanding activities. What do you see as the next step forward for Janice and Oapschat? 

Caring is indeed very demanding. It can also be very tiring and isolating. Oapschat is hard work, but extremely satisfying and rewarding. I want to see it grow and develop in order to reach out and help many people who may be in a similar situation to myself. I receive many messages of support from people who are living alone and they say that it is a good way of interacting and realising you are not on your own. It is a great way to make new friends and develop my writing skills. Oapschat is my baby and I shall nurture it for many months and hopefully, years!

Thanks you for taking the time to answer my questions and I wish you every success in your very worthwhile venture in reaching out to others.