Sue’s dreams come true with short story to romance third agers

Sue Wilson. Earlston Author.
Sue Wilson. Earlston Author.

AN EARLSTON writer is the only Scot to have been chosen to contribute to an anthology for “third agers”.

Retired council official Sue Wilson’s story was one of 177 entries in a competition for the collection of romantic stories.

Judges for the University of the Third Age (U3A), a national association for retired people, picked the best 20, publishing Mrs Wilson’s story in It’s Never too Late to Fall in Love at the beginning of the month.

“I wrote the story years ago and adapted it for the competition. I’ve written on and off all my life,” she said.

The 64-year-old joined the local U3A, the Three Brethren, to take part in the handbell – or rather bellplate – ringing group when she retired from the council’s transport section more than two years ago.

Her story is about a lonely spinster who has spent all her time caring for her mother and would look at the lonely hearts column. One day the woman, who does copperplate writing, spots an entry that is so ungrammatical it prompts her write to the man. But she doesn’t sign her name. Nor does she know that the male is in the U3A group she attends – and he only realises it’s her when he sees her handwriting.

The former primary school teacher said: “It is not autobiographical at all. I write for my own fun. I just like painting pictures with words.

“Sometimes as a little girl I used to be brought out in front of the class to tell stories. My ambition was to be a writer, right from when I was eight, as soon as I could write, but it never happened. I was always very good at English.”

This is the second time Mrs Wilson has had a story in print – she won an inhouse writing competition at Scottish Borders Council (SBC). One of her poems was published in the Open University magazine.

She has written a sci-fi novel which she sent to two publishers: “I wasn’t determined enough. This one I’m doing is better than my first one, but I would never go down the self-publishing route – it costs a lot of money and it’s just an ego trip.”

The novel she’s working on now is about time travel and how people cope out of their time.

“I get my inspiration from everywhere and everything. It just flows in short story but I have to keep a record of characters in novels.”

Mrs Wilson, from Devon, was a primary school teacher in Suffolk before moving to the Borders when she married her police officer husband, John, now retired. However, she was unable to get a job in teaching so she did secretarial training at Borders College and worked for SBC for more than 20 years.

Aside from ringing bellplates, Mrs Wilson has played the organ for Earlston Parish Church for the last 17 years, makes greetings cards for family and friends, goes hill walking with her husband, writes to a pen friend, edits the Scottish newspaper for the handbell ringing association and is a member of the Galashiels Clef Club.

Small wonder she says of her writing: “It’s just a case of finding the time.”

It’s Never too Late to Fall in Love, by and about thirdagers, is published by Third Age Press (ISBN 978-1-898576-36-5) and costs £12.50.