Ten answers to ten questions in 20 words or fewer. That’s less time than it takes to burn a match*.
(*Depending on the length of the match and your tolerance for burned fingers, obviously)
Our newest Flash! Friday winner is Deb Foy (again). Read her winning story here. Note that this is her THIRD win (knock our socks off, Deb!!!) — read her first #SixtySeconds interview (from Jan 21) here and second one (from last week) here. Then take another bit of time (no word count limits for three-timers!) to get to know her better yet below.
1) What about the prompts inspired your winning piece? You definitely went outside the box. This was one of those prompts where I didn’t connect at all with the picture. When that happens, I check the corners. There’s a house. Okay, what could be going on inside the house? For several weeks, I’ve had a story slow-cooking for The Molotov Cocktail “Flash Fools” contest. The story was highly seasoned with images from the Mirel Wagner’s “No Death.” I decided to give Flash! Friday my story rather than MC, which meant a lot of chopping! Eventually, two women formed inside those log and mortar walls, two women with a history and a shared aspiration.
2) What do you like about flash as opposed to working on longer projects? Has writing flash helped you with other aspects of your writing? if so, in what ways? Absolutely! Flash fiction has taught me it is okay to wax eloquent, to use odd images. My chica Lauren Akers and I bemoan the fear of sounding pretentious or like John Milton wannabes. Flash has given me permission to relax and realize the way I write is not a gimmick. It’s my voice.
3) Has your flash fiction or approach to flash changed since you started in October? It’s done a 180. I want to disown my first flash pieces (sorry, Loves!) because they couldn’t have found their way out of a wall-less box if dark chocolate waited, wrappers open, within reach. Now, I let my mind jump to other places or run to forgotten memories, and once the story is built, I weave webs back into the prompts.
4) What advice would you give writers who are new to or considering flash? What encouragement might you give to seasoned flash writers who have a hard time nabbing a win? Oh goodness, I don’t feel qualified to answer this question (which means I’ll answer it with way more words than necessary)!
I guess for new flash fictioneers, I would say jump in! The water’s fine. 🙂 Even if you don’t win a single category, ever, for the rest of your writing days amen, you’ve given yourself ideas and tales to expand on in the future. And more importantly, you’ve joined one of the most supportive online communities you’ll find. Friends outweigh wins.
For those faithful flashers still chasing that capricious dragon, know that it is just that. Capricious. Sometimes your words will push the souls out of one judging team and leave the next team puzzling. That’s what I comfort myself with anyway. It’s better than falling into the despair that this writing dream is actually a delusion.
5) Who is a writer we should follow, and why? Sydney Scrogham. She has the determination and the skill to go far. I expect to see her name (or pen name) on Best Sellers lists in the coming years.
6) What are your favorite books of this past year? What’s your desert island book? Die Empty for starters. It made me realize what a weight of loss I would feel if I found myself on my deathbed with no fresh ink to speak of.
Second, the FlashDogs Anthology. While reading it, I keep thinking, “Oh! I need to message this person and tell them how much I love their story,” and then life blusters in and the thought slips away. I’ve told Tamara Shoemaker I’d love to mail a copy of the Anthology across time zones, collecting signatures from each brilliant contributor. That book would be more traveled than I am.
7) What are you working on now? Still working on my NaNoWriMo story and every day more grateful that I’m not sick of it yet.
8) Tell us something about your writing life. How do you balance writing and responsibilities? This is sumamente difficult for me. I work full-time, weekdays and sometimes weekends so before SVW I didn’t make writing a priority (which is why I’m eternally grateful to Allison Garcia!!). Carving time out of rump roast-round minutes is something I’m getting better at. It means mornings might start at 5:30am. A Flash! Friday baby could be conceived on lunch break and born by clock-out. You make time for what you love. Thankfully, I have an understanding husband who’s happy to let me create beside him while he fights Ozma, Nemesis, or Yiazmat.
9) What’s your writing process like? Do ideas just float into your head from the Great Muse Factory in the sky? I think they come in fragments, elements of beauty and meaning demanding to be included. That’s why it takes me a good while to get a cohesive story on paper. When you find that Great Muse Factory in the sky let me know!
10) Any hobbies? Other than writing and eating? Long distances races. I don’t consider myself athletic, so obstacle courses (looking at you, Tough Mudder) or sprints are not my forte. But I can run 20+ miles with a friend beside me and tell myself I want to sign up for another while dragging myself over the finish line. 🙂