Prize winning short story writer and novelist. On this site you will find some examples of my short stories. I also write novels: The House Fell on Her Head, 2016, is a historical/ crime/ family saga. My second novel, The Last Thing She Did, was shortlisted for the Good Housekeeping Novel Competition in 2020 and published by Bloodhound Books later that year, and on audiobook in 2021. My current work in progress, He Saw What She Did, will be completed shortly. My short story collection, 'Martini Girl and other stories' is on Amazon. I try to keep an up to date list of my writing on my website here: https://linktr.ee/katemitchell My writing draws on my career as a probation officer and social worker, and also reflects that I travel a great deal, and often set my stories in the worldwide locations I have visited. I always wanted to write, but the need to earn a living was a diversion. In 2007 I went on an Arvon course where I started to work on an idea for a novel. Later, I attended the MA in Writing at Sheffield Hallam University, and completed my first novel.
Kate Mitchell in 60 seconds
When did you start writing?At school - I wrote a story that my teacher accused me of copying from a story I must have found somewhere. Thus I did not write again for some time.
What do you love about Short Stories?A short story is a journey to a fictional dimension which is time-limited but stays with me for a long time.
Do you write in other forms?Novels, script.
What distracts you from writing?Politics; paid work; the garden.
Outside of writing, what are your other passions?Bee keeping; reading; travel; folk festivals; fundraising for children in danger worldwide; welcoming refugees to our country.
What is your favourite book?Too many to name. My first books were the classics, Hardy and Dickens.
Who are your favourite writers?Charles Dickens, Rose Tremain and Hilary Mantel
Where is your dream location?I live there.
What one item would you put into Room 101?Algorithms.
Do you have any advice for new writers?Keep reading. Do it critically, analytically, and keep on doing it.
Work by Kate Mitchell:
During her anniversary holiday in Egypt, Judy decides that one honeymoon is one too many, and it's time for a change... "Muttering under her breath, each angry phrase driving her forward, she marched through the lobby and out of the door. What an anniversary. Call this a second honeymoon? After just a few steps, her forehead started throbbing and a wave of nausea pressed against the back of her teeth. Behind her, the door swished open and the cool breeze of air conditioning hit her legs. The concierge called, ‘Taxi, madame?’ Swallowing the nausea, shaking her head, she kept walking across the hotel forecourt. Ahead, the tops of the Pyramids were just visible above the line of stationary traffic. The stench of diesel burned her nostrils. Perspiration trickled between her breasts and her sunglasses slipped down her nose. A wizened man in a galabeya blocked her way. ‘Carriage, lady?’ She followed the reins, held in one hand, to an emaciated horse. She stepped around him. ‘No, thank you.’ ‘Pyramid? Sphinx? Special fix price.’ He walked beside her, yanking the horse along behind him. She stepped off the pavement, weaving between vehicles, losing his voice in the cacophony of revving engines, blaring horns and shouting. It felt so different to the first time, their real honeymoon. Everything had changed. Or perhaps not. Maybe it was her memory that had changed the original, coloured it in with a rosy tint, like touching up an old photograph. Whatever made her think a second honeymoon could save this marriage? The belly dancing outfit was the final straw. It was over. Time to call time. At the thought of calling time, she pictured Kevin as she had left him, slumped and scowling, in the balcony bar. The whole thing had been a mistake..."
"I killed my little brother. When he was two, and I was six, I crept into his bedroom and suffocated him with a pillow while he slept. ‘No you didn’t, Nadine,’ said my mother, ‘It’s a dream.’ ‘It’s a dream about guilt,’ my psychiatrist said, patting me on the knee. ‘You mustn’t blame yourself, my dear, it wasn’t your fault.’ On Tuesdays, I go to the Community Clinic for my weekly meeting with parents who are thought to present a risk to their children. Publicly, it’s called a ‘parents’ support group’ so they have a cover story when they come into reception. But these mums and dads are under no illusions; they watch me scribbling notes and know my risk assessment will dictate their future. If they give the right response, the courts may grant them a family life; the wrong answers and they won’t see their children again; something in between and they could get one afternoon a fortnight at a contact centre where, corralled by cuddly toys, they will try to engage their little strangers in a parody of play, under the watchful eye and busy pen of a social worker. While this process grinds slowly forward, the children who are being protected will metamorphose into sullen teenagers with unmet needs who will probably follow the pattern of their parents, having children of their own who will be in need of protection; and the cycle will start again..."
Dan has persuaded Amanda to accompany him on a cruise of the Faro Islands, to see the eclipse. But are they being followed? In this chilling tale, we find Dan must make hard decisions, in order to safeguard his marriage. "It’s our first night on board so we dress for the occasion: me in my best bib and tucker, and Amanda wearing her plungiest neckline with the white gold pendant I bought her for Christmas. We’ve barely sat down to dinner when I hear, ‘I don’t believe it!’ which makes me think of that character on TV, but the chap bouncing towards us looks too young to remember the sitcom. He stops in front of our table and smiles at Amanda. When she doesn’t speak I look at her and see she’s staring down at the table. The skin on her neck is a mottled pink. Perhaps she’s seasick; but we’ve barely left Newcastle and the North Sea is like a millpond. Thinking this must be an acquaintance of hers, I stand up and hold out my hand. He grabs at it with a sort of damp, two fingered slide, saying, ‘Felix, you must be Dan,’ while his eyes slip over me and back to Amanda..."
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