Sixty Seconds III with: Marie McKay

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 Marie McKay.  Read her winning story here. Note that this is her THIRD year and THIRD win at Flash! Friday, one for each year! Read her first #SixtySeconds interview (June 2013) here and second interview (March 2014) here. Then take another minute or two to get to know her better below. (Note that three-time winners are never held to the word count rule. They’ve earned the right to be chatty!)

1) What about the prompt inspired your winning piece?  I almost wrote an entirely different story based on the word ‘son’ as I read the character prompt without my glasses on! Once I realised my mistake, the childhood game of ‘I Spy’ gave me the frame I required to get started.

2) You started writing flash fiction around the same time Flash! Friday was born, the end of 2012. How has your approach to flash changed since then? In her recent interview, the incredibly talented SJ O’Hart mentioned CAKE, a weekly writing competition that no longer runs. CAKE is where I started writing flash fiction, but the prompts there were a selection of words. When I started writing at Flash!Friday, I found working with photo prompts tough. Now, however, I am constantly looking for visual clues to get my writing started.

3) What advice would you give writers who are new to flash? Make every word pull its weight. Experiment with form. Have fun.

4) What’s going on in your writerly life? With four kids, how are you able to carve out writing time? Recently I have had stories published in 100 word story and Flash Fiction Magazine. I am delighted to say that my writing is included in the Flashdogs anthology. With four kids, my approach to writing is fragmented. I just have to write in the moments when my kids are asleep or eating!

5) Last year you told us you hoped to complete a novel. How’s that going? I am afraid I barely wrote another word of it after that! I think because I haven’t cleared a proper space for writing, my brain butterflies around. I do hope to pin a longer project down at some point. I have recently finished the text for a children’s picture book, and I am in the process of plucking up the courage to send it out there.

6) What are you reading? I have just started reading Sophie Hannah‘s ‘the telling error‘. Kate Atkinson‘s ‘Life After Life‘ is my favourite read of the last year.

7) What’s your current WIP? Please introduce us to a favorite character… and can we beg you to share the opening line??  I do have a short story in very rough draft. The story’s main character is Maya. She is a troubled character who is experiencing bullying. My very rough first line is:

She was in perpetual motion: it was harder to target a moving casualty.

8) Who’s your favorite author? I can’t pick just one favourite. The list is growing all the time.

9) Do you belong to any IRL writing communities? online? Talk about the Flash Dogs! I only participate online. I take part in a few competitions other than this one: Three Line Thursday, Micro Bookends and The Angry Hourglass. A writing community that I am very proud to be a part of is Flashdogs. They are an incredibly supportive and welcoming group of talented writers. They have inspired me immensely.

10) Final thoughts? I would just like to say thank you to you, Rebekah, for all your hard work. It’s incredibly generous of you to devote so much time to other writers. {Editor’s Note: ❤ }

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