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The Debt Collector & the Ghost In the Privy – background information

January 8, 2013

In March 2012 the group of writers I belonged to who took part in writing competitions run by Author Sue Welfare, also known as Kate Lawson, decided to put together an anthology of stories and poems which, upon publication, would benefit a charity.

Sue comes from Norfolk and so it was decided that a  local charity of her choice and in her area would benefit and so this is how The Norfolk Hospice was  chosen to be our beneficiary.

Our group, known at that time as ‘Writers for Welfare’, had members from all over the world and so the collection of stories and poems has their origins  across continents. 

I was lucky to have two stories chosen for the book, ‘Telling Tales Anthology’, which was published and sold in hardback, paperback, and e-book by in March 2012.  It went on to sell extremely well and the Hospice is now benefiting from the sales.  Sadly the book is  no longer available however.

Telling Tales Anthology featuring two of my stories: The Debt Collector and The Ghost in the Privy

Telling Tales Anthology which features two of my stories: The Debt Collector and The Ghost in the Privy.

My first story – ‘The Debt Collector’ – is a tale based on my time in the Music Industry and is a Crime story which takes place in London at a famous nightclub, and in The Falls Road, Northern Ireland back in the time of  ‘The Troubles’….around the late 1980’s.  Those unfamiliar with the workings of the Music Business and Nightclub life back then, should find this short story an eye-opener.

London Hippodrome

The most famous nightclub in the World at one time

The story takes place in a famous Soho nightclub (which was known in those days as The Most Famous Nightclub in the World), and is about the seedier side of the Music Business where managers and club owners, bands and the money men all want their slice of the cake.

On the surface – to the audiences and kids wandering round the many bars inside the club waiting for the bands to perform – it all seems glamorous and exciting.  Underneath it is seething with tension, dirty deeds and violence, especially when you add a little ‘Irish business’ into the mix.

My short story, The Debt Collector, touches on this world and gives a little taster of what it is like to cross swords with the wrong people.  Names and identities have been altered to protect myself….you will see why when you read it!

At some point I shall be adding more stories about my life in the International Music Business which might take the form of a novel or a series of short stories.  I am still to decide.  Whatever I write I have to take care as many of the characters featured throughout my career are alive and kicking and with top shelf legal representation,  I know!

Soho: streets behind the clubs and bars featured in The Debt Collector

Soho: streets behind the clubs and bars featured in The Debt Collector

My second short story – ‘The Ghost in the Privy’ – is based on some of the events and characters in my novel ‘God’s Waiting Room’ which is still being written and I hope to complete in 2013.

The Privy

The Privy

The novel is based on characters  (all lifelong friends and acquaintances), who live in a village and have done so all their lives.  Now in old age, they tend to meet up now and again whilst waiting for the bus, on the bus, or shopping in town.  The stories include several comical characters and I write about their lives, loves and losses, and the various adventures they had when younger or are still having now in later life.

Bus stops feature a lot in the series God's Waiting Room

Bus stops feature a lot in the series God’s Waiting Room

The Ghost in the Privy features some old favourites, local gypsies, who have lived in the village for as long as there has been a village.  Their ways and customs seem strange to most folk, but those who grew up with them take it all in their stride.

There is the clay pipe smoking Granny Hedges and the adulterous, Doc Marten wearing, Ma Cox, never without her Trilby hat. They are joined by Ma Cox’s cousin, Ma Green, somewhat of a shrinking violet in pink velour and Wellington boots most of the time.  They meet for a chat at the bus stop weekly and the story relates their conversations whilst they wait.

Obviously I have changed names to protect these wonderful ladies.  But every word of my story is a true depiction of what they spoke about.  Really!

‘God’s Waiting Room’ (GWR) stories will eventually form a series of stories in one novel, or may spill over to a series – I have so much material and so many characters to write about,  who knows!  GWR and  ‘The Ghost in the Privy’, are what can best be described as ‘Gentle Humour’ and I do hope that once I have completed the book/series, it will be available to purchase.

Sadly ‘Telling Tales’ is no longer for sale so unless you have already purchased a copy there is nowhere at present where the two stories I have featured in it can be purchased.

I am considering adding them to this blog at some point.  I shall let you know.


From → Blog

  1. Margot, it is a shame and I don’t know how we can get it into print again, as the publishers have ceased to function as publishers.

    Jane, it is wonderful to hear about the music industry and how it was an inspiration for your story ‘The Debt Collector.’ This is a great blog post and very entertaining. All the best in your writing, Jane. x


    • Many thanks Anne. It is a shame as you say but a learning curve for us all and you particularly – though a hard one! Still you have come out on top and I think you have done the right thing, The White Cuckoo is out and available and I hope visitors here will seek your book and your website out. I am glad you enjoyed the background to The Debt Collector…just tickled the surface really but with a word count restriction I got most of what I wanted across. Thanks again and good luck to you too. x


  2. Jane – What a disappointment to hear that that anthology isn’t available at the moment. I certainly would love to read your stories and I hope you’ll make them available again.


    • Margot, the reason is a little delicate to do with the publisher not paying the charity! The writers kicked up and in spite he pulled the book and deleted it. It was selling well too. I am thinking about putting them out via Kindle etc. Time is my enemy but as they say, ask a busy person if you want something done! I will get round to it soon. I Am Woman is available still via Amazon (vol 1) and there is a vol 2 which I am not included in this time. The Look is my contribution to I Am Woman which is in aid of Breakthrough, Women for Women and Women’s Aid. Thanks for your interest, appreciated. x


    • I should add that the Charity did get paid in the end. So it worked out and the reason we put the book out was to raise funds…so mission accomplished. x


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