David Phelps was born in Hereford. His mother wanted him to work in a bank but he ran away to join the Civil Service, where, under the wonderful and much missed Enterprise Allowance Scheme, he was responsible for helping many creative people, including the poet Jay Ramsey, set up their own businesses. Retiring to his native county he set out to discover its rich folklore which has inspired many of his stories. He is the author of four books (Herefordshire Folk Tales, Haunted Hereford, The Bloody History of Hereford and Worcestershire Folk Tales) all published by The History Press. More details available on my website www.davidphelpswrites.co.uk
David Phelps in 60 seconds
When did you start writing?1963 Hereford, Herefordshire
What do you love about Short Stories?They have entertained us around the camp fire for thousands of years
Do you write in other forms?Novel hidden in draw
What distracts you from writing?Making cups of coffee
Outside of writing, what are your other passions?Folklore, history, gardenings, walking.
What is your favourite book?At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O'Brien
Who are your favourite writers?Tove Jansson, Ian McEwan and Jaroslav Hasek
Where is your dream location?Herefordshire
What one item would you put into Room 101?Donald Trump
Do you have any advice for new writers?I spent thirty years secretly thinking of myself as a writer without actually doing much writing, so my advice to any writer is WRITE
Work by David Phelps:
What is a princess to do with unwanted male attention? Perhaps the dark spirit of the river can help. "Everybody knows that a princess is bad news, especially to her father. That was the thought that occurred to King Cympo in the two seconds it took him to fall from the battlements of his castle onto the very hard courtyard below. However, such a thought was unfair as a large part of it was his own fault. A few months earlier he had said, “My dear, I want you to marry Count Gwenki.” “He’s a pig.” “Maybe so, but he is also an extremely noisy member of my council, probably earns more than me and certainly has a bigger army.” “I’d rather die.” Princess Cadarn chose not to die immediately but stormed up to her room, slammed the door and threatened not to come down until her father had changed his mind. The king had no alternative but to forbid any food or drink to be taken up to her until she became more tractable. A fearsome two days followed, during which the palace servants tiptoed around quietly, as if someone had died. Then the princess summoned the cook, ordered two breakfasts and the king arranged a date for the Count to visit. When Cadarn saw the Count she realised that she had been wrong in thinking him a pig. He was more of a weasel. He was tall, thin and his eyes were constantly darting around as if looking for prey..." (This ebook also includes an additional story)
The Night Study
A Danish painter is driven into exile by his father. But he can never escape the chains of the family's dark secrets. "I watched the face of the man who could destroy me and, even then, I remember thinking what a fine composition this room would make. The mighty bookcases indistinct in the darkness, the fire in the grate, illuminating the faces of the two men drinking but clearly having no care or regard for each other. I had never been good enough for my father but I could always trust my younger sister to act as a bridge between him and me. It was to her that I could show my paintings, before my father destroyed them. When my father insisted that I go into the family business, that was when I knew I had to leave. But at regular intervals I would row over the lake to see her when my father was away. When she told me he was making her marry his old business partner I wanted to go and confront him but I did not really have the courage and was too easily persuaded by my sweet sister not to do anything. On the night of the wedding I stayed on the other side of the lake, looking at my old home lit up in festivity. As the music died I rowed over to where I knew my sister would be waiting. That night we said our last farewells, for the next day she would be leaving for Copenhagen. I knew the composition we made was beautiful. Angrily I threw myself into painting, feeding on my melancholy. I tried a palette of blacks and greys but could not cope with these. Instead I painted the summer fields of my childhood, all greens and yellows and a bright blue sky. I despised my weakness. Even more so when I was taken up by the London art market, my bright daubs becoming popular with the bourgeoisie because enough influential critics liked them..."
The War Hero the Film Star and the Footman and Another Story
"When Frederick came home from work one day there was a strange bike leaning against the porch. He cussed; the last thing he wanted was having to be polite to visitors after a hard day in the fields. "As his eyes became accustomed to the gloom of the kitchen he found himself being stared at by a middle aged man. He was wearing a better suit than normally seen in the village and the best china was out. ""They said you were a beanpole and they didn't lie." the main said approvingly."
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