Sixty Seconds III with: Nancy Chenier

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)

Matchlight

Our newest Flash! Friday winner is Nancy Chenier.  Read her winning story here. This is her THIRD fabulous win at Flash! Friday (sparkly sparkly!). Read her previous #SixtySeconds interviews as well as her bio here. Then take another minute or two to get to know her better below. (And no, don’t bother counting the words in her response; third-timers can be as wordy as they wish!)

1) What about the prompt inspired your winning piece?  When I saw the picture, the thing I most wanted to do is find a conflict that didn’t involve a love triangle because I knew others would be doing that — and with a much more deft hand than I ever could.

2) Your (wrenching) winning story is straight fiction. Spending more time on that side of the sandbox these days, or does specfic still hold your heart? Spec-fic definitely — in fact, I wavered over submitting this one in favor of a fantasy idea.

3) We’ve checked on your middle grade novel’s second draft progress in September and again in Februrary; how’s it going now? What do you enjoy about the process–or is it all challenge at the moment? How do you keep your eyes fresh, and how do you find what you need to keep working at it? It’s on the back burner until the squidlet starts school (September!). I just can’t get a long enough stretch of time to fine-tune a second novel-length draft. What I’m working on now is fine-tuning shorter pieces and looking to publish more short fiction.

4) You’ve been writing flash for over two and a half years. Is flash your main squeeze, or have you ventured into short stories or other forms? What form/genre haven’t you tried but would like to? I started out writing short fiction and dove into flash with much more zeal last year when I discovered the community (here!) of weekly contest flashers. The Flash Dogs community in particular has really fueled the flash-fiction fire.

5) Has your approach to flash/prompts changed since you started? if so, how? what have you learned about writing flash? Wow, yes. The sheer volume of finished stories produced has pushed me into new territories. Once I’d written several time-travel, android, changeling, dragon, love triangle, death, birth, illness, steampunk, etc. stories, I lost patience with “just” cranking out a story. Of course that means I put more pressure on myself and so–on the downside–it sometimes stymies me from finishing and submitting.

6) Any new publications/accolades we should know about? Some of my stories found their ways into Luminous Creatures’ Five Hundred Words of Magic, and in the FIRST Flash Dogs anthology.

7) Speaking of publication, what are you currently working on?  Stories for the SECOND Flash Dogs Anthology! It’s a really exciting project with Solstice as the unifying theme–both dark and light. The picture prompts are incredibly evocative and I can’t wait to see how the other dogs have been inspired.

8) What are you reading? Favorite book of this past year? Which author would you love to write like, and why? I’m going back through the Game of Thrones series noting how the series has departed from the books (a bit of a geek that way). The stand-out book of last year: Leckie’s Ancillary Justice.

9) Let’s talk writing communities. Belong to any? How about writers’ conferences or workshops this past year? Which conference/workshop is your favorite, and why? Writerly-wise, I’m pretty much only an on-line presence. I started seeing the #flashdogs hashtag a few weeks after I got into Flash Friday (and Finish That Thought and Flash Frenzy). I went back and forth over sending a query about becoming part of the group (Was I being too presumptuous thinking they might include me?). Mark sent me a warm welcome. All that fret for nothing.

10) Let’s say you won a grant to use in any writerly way you’d like. Where would the money go, and why? (What’s the most important thing a writer can/should spend money on?) Time. Time. Time. The squidlet is at a full-time-attention age. I’d use the money to take a year in San Diego so my parents could take care of her for extended periods (without Mommy-guilt setting in).

Bonus 11) Any shouts out/thoughts/comments/messages? Say, have I mentioned Flash Dogs yet?

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