Petersen tensed, peering. The headlights showed snow coming down thick and two feet of white road. He felt the wheels skate, and he braked without thinking. Beside him, Julius slammed his hands against the dashboard and swore, while the car turned in a circle, graceful even in its gliding. And then a hard, heavy lurch forwards into a ditch.
‘Christ, oh Christ,’ Julius cried.
‘It’s alright,’ Petersen said. Calmness he’d feigned for so long he almost believed it.
‘We’ll be too late!’
‘We’ll walk.’ Petersen took his doctor’s bag from the back seat and clambered out into the storm.
This is a 100-word flash fiction, inspired by the picture, provided by Dale Rogerson. Click here to join in and read others’ stories.
This week my second novel, Swimming Lessons, was selected by YOU Magazine in the UK as their Reading Group book. Click here to buy it at a discount, to see some book club questions, and to read an exclusive piece by me about what’s true and what isn’t in the novel.
Win a reading set of Swimming Lessons
Following on from the US competition about the oddest thing ever found in a library book, a UK version has now been launched. The Reading Agency and Penguin want librarians and UK book groups to tell them the oddest thing they’ve found in a book, for a chance to win a reading set of my latest novel, Swimming Lessons.
The book is partly about Ingrid, who writes letters to her husband and hides them in the books that he collects. And he collects books for their marginalia and the things that previous readers have left behind in them.
It’s always fascinated me – what gets left in a book. It makes me think about the person who read it before me and what they thought of it, or perhaps where they were when they were reading and what else they were doing, because I suspect that not everything left behind in library books should really be there, not even as bookmarks. The American competition turned up many instances of food and other things that people put between the pages for safe keeping and forgot.
To enter, either email your entry to email@example.com or tweet it using #SwimmingLessons and tagging @ReadingAgency. The competition closes on 8 March when I’ll judge the weirdest entry. The winner will receive 12 signed copies of Swimming Lessons for their reading group or UK public library.
If you’d like book group questions for either my first novel, Our Endless Numbered Days, or for Swimming Lessons, drop me a line.
And if you’re in a book group, I’d recommend you joining the Reading Agency – it’s free and there’s lots of information on books that make good book group reads, as well as the occasional giveaway.