Green Ink Sponsored Write 2023: Sarah Brooks & Penny Jones

Sponsor the writers for Macmillan Cancer Support at

Sarah Brooks

Hello! My name is Sarah Brooks and I’m a writer living in Leeds. I write historical fantasy and my first novel is coming out with W&N next year. I also work in academia and try to get as much fantasy fiction as possible into my teaching! Outside of writing I watch far too many police procedurals on TV, and have recently become a bad but determined crocheter. 

I definitely need deadlines to get anything done – the more time I have, the longer I take and the more I worry about it! When there’s a looming deadline I find it easier to focus, and to let go of the dreaded inner editor… And being forced not to overthink things can lead to unexpected places. So I’m looking forward to this aspect of the Sponsored Write, and it’s a brilliant way of supporting such a good cause. The work that Macmillan does is invaluable for so many people. Like most of us, I’ve had several family members who’ve had cancer diagnoses, and Macmillan has been a great support. 

I’m really intrigued by @paulgtremblay’s chosen theme, A Well of Strength/ The Strength of Will and the space it gives to explore and experiment, so I’m going to let the ideas bubble away for a while, in order to hopefully be able to do it justice in October!

Finally I just want to say thank you so much to Rachel for inviting me to join the Sponsored Write, and for all the work she does in organising this brilliant event in aid of @macmillancancer. And thank you to everyone who has donated so far. I can’t wait to read all the writing that comes out of it!

Penny Jones

1) Hello! Tell us a bit about yourself, writing, and/or life outside writing?

Hi, my name’s Penny and in my everyday life I’m a nurse specialising in rare disease and also visiting stem cell donors. There’s a lot of travel as I live in Devon, and even if the patients look close there is usually a 45 minute detour round a river to get to them. As a writer I’m mainly known as a horror writer, but I will write in pretty much any genre or form. 

2) What’s it been like Sponsored Writing in the past? Are you a ‘deadlines person’? 

I really like doing the sponsored write, it tends to take me several months to come up with an idea that links in to the theme. But I enjoy both the time restriction and also the thematic restriction. One of my favourite writing exercises is a mini-saga, which my English teacher used to set us. She’d give us a photo prompt and then we’d have to write a story which was exactly 50 words, with a six word title. Most of the class hated them, but I loved them. 

3) Many involved have personal connections with Macmillan Cancer Support. Do you want to share any experience of the charity’s work?

I’ve never had any personal connection with Macmillan, but I know many of my patients have over the years. I remember once turning up at a patient’s house whose washing machine had died, their cancer was causing nighttime incontinence and as they were no longer working due to their treatment schedule, they just didn’t have the money to replace it. I phoned Macmillan and within a couple of days a new washing machine was installed, and the old one removed. People often think that Macmillan is just there for someone to talk to, but they have a whole network working behind the scenes to try and make life as easy as possible with people living with cancer. If in doubt phone them, they may not be able to help, but they may know someone who can.

4) What do you make of Paul Tremblay’s theme for this year, A Well of Strength/The Strength of Will?

So far nothing. I have been cursing Paul’s name on a daily basis as I am struggling with this year’s prompt and time is ticking away. My only idea currently is someone called William stuck in a well. So you may just end up with a Lassie pastiche.

5) Absolutely anything else you’d like to share! 🙂

Unfortunately for the first time I won’t be able to do my sponsored write on the day, so I will be posting lonely updates on my progress on Thursday 12th October instead. Oh and please sponsor me: