Penned on her phone...the Caste Douglas author shortlisted for a top fiction prize

  • Video report by Bruce McKenzie.

A short story written by a Dumfries and Galloway author on her mobile phone has been shortlisted for a major international prize run by the Sunday Times.

Former STV journalist Rachael Fulton, from Castle Douglas, turned to writing last year during the pandemic after finding herself with spare time when her family's hotel was closed.

She's had just two stories published before being shortlisted for the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award 2021, £30,000 prize for the winner.

Rachael has been shortlisted for the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award 2021. Credit: Sunday Times website

She told ITV Border: "When the pandemic hit I thought there's no excuses now. I've got all this time, the hotel was closed and I just thought it's time to start making a name for yourself and try to get some stories out there. And it worked, which is great.

"I can't believe that this is happening. It's really strange to hear people talk about them as if they're real stories! It's been incredible, but very strange."

Rachael penned the story on her mobile phone. Credit: ITV News

In a whirlwind few days since being named in the Sunday Times shortlist, she's received emails from the likes of author Ian Rankin, signed an agent, and is making her first audiobook recording. It all started with picking up her mobile phone.

She said: "I didn't think that writing on your phone would be an unusual thing until I read the other authors methods of writing. I was a journalist for a few years and you couldn't read my handwriting if you tried!"

Rachael dreams of a full-time writing career and is proud to be doing from home. She said: "A lot of my short stories are set in fictional, rural Scottish towns and emotions are really important so I really want to write about raw human connection and feelings. But hopefully there's a thread of hope, even in the darkest of stories."

For now, a novel beckons. Typing all 100,000 words of that on her phone might be a bit of a challenge, but it's worked pretty well for her so far.