For writer Amanda Huggins, competition finals are like buses, with two coming at once for her this month.
Ms Huggins, who grew up in Scarborough and now lives in Cleckheaton, is one of three writers shortlisted for the 2018 Costa Short Story Award. She is also waiting to find out if she has won the Bradt New Travel Writer of the Year 2019.
She has been nominated for the prestigious short story award for Red. It is a tale about Mollie, a teenage girl in America who finds herself 1,000 miles away from her New Jersey home when she moves to the ranch of her mother’s new boyfriend.
It is the first year that the prize has had an all-female shortlist. Ms Huggins and fellow finalists Caroline Ward Vine and Sophie Wellstood await the awards ceremony on January 29 to discover who has won the £3,500 prize for first place.
Having written a lot when she was young, Ms Huggins began writing seriously in 2011 after her partner bought her a laptop and she “finally ran out of excuses not to.”
She said: “I started with travel writing. I would write a piece every week and send it to the Telegraph until they finally published one. It was a story about a trip to India I took in 2005.”
Her love of travel often inspires her fiction.
Her short story collection, Separated From the Sea, published in 2018, contains stories set in India, Japan, Italy. Paris and Cuba. The theme of the sea is very much inspired from her childhood on the Yorkshire coast.
Though Ms Huggins has seen success in her writing over the past few years, she still works full time in engineering.
“When you’re a writer and you’ve got a full-time job it’s like having homework. I am sometimes able to get a writing retreat in by sneaking away to Robin Hood’s Bay with a friend but mostly it’s evenings and weekends.”
The shortlisted stories can be read at www.costa.co.uk/costa-book-awards