Welcome to the website of Liz Kershaw, writer of unsettling stories.
About my work
My stories often have their roots in the past, dark tales where long-ago events return to haunt the present, where evil is hidden behind a smile, or in a song, or among the tumbled ruins of a forgotten village. They are stories set in borderlands: between eras and countries; between madness and sanity. They are disquieting, or so I’ve been told, and leave shadows in their wake.
I’d describe them as literary mysteries with a nod to the supernatural and folklore, and my influences are authors who blend compelling settings with a sense of the ‘other’, and whose works have remained with me long after I’ve closed the book. Emily and Charlotte Bronte; Daphne du Maurier; Sarah Waters; Kate Grenville; Mary Webb; Toni Morrison; Andrew Taylor.
My Gothic novella, The Music Maker (Mantle Lane Press, 2018), was described by Andrew Taylor as ‘an alarmingly sinister fable about the underbelly of human nature … unsettling, unusual and absorbing.’ A mysterious stranger with a strange and compelling voice arrives uninvited in the middle of a choir rehearsal – and the lives of two friends are changed forever.
My short stories have won prizes and have been included in anthologies – there are links to some of them below.
My current novel-in-progress is set in the late 1950s on the Herefordshire English/Welsh border and tells the story of a young woman, Jancis, who has always viewed the ghosts she’s grown up with as benign … until she becomes a mother and discovers that they are not so benevolent after all …
I was born in Somerset and migrated to the Midlands when I went to Birmingham University to study English, back in the days of grants and libraries. I’d wanted to write fiction for as long as I’d been reading it, but the need for a salary took over after I graduated, and I started out on a long career in sales and marketing. That career was a tale of two halves, divided by a spell looking after my children when they were small, and continued until my need to write overpowered all other sensible considerations (money, mortgage, food) and I stepped down from full time employment to devote more time to making a writing career work.
Since that scary day, I have won three national competitions and been shortlisted many times, I have had work accepted for anthologies of flash fiction and short stories and was accepted in 2014 for the prestigious Room 204 emerging writer development programme run by Writing West Midlands.
Apart from my writing, I have studied counselling, I am a trustee of a care farm providing education and mental health support to vulnerable young people and I live with my husband on our Herefordshire smallholding tending to a tiny flock of Ryeland sheep and a bunch of free range chickens.
The Music Maker
An enigmatic stranger joins a provincial choral society – and everything changes for two of the members when he begins to sing …
‘An alarmingly sinister fable about the underbelly of human nature.’ Andrew Taylor, bestselling author of ‘The American Boy’ and ‘Ashes of London’.
Below are links to some of my winning and published short stories along with an opening line or two
I’m always happy to talk, no matter what the question. Follow me on my various social channels to stay updated with my latest work.