Sixty Seconds IV 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)


Our freshest Flash! Friday winner is Nancy Chenier.  Read her winning story here. This is her FOURTH stunning win at Flash! Friday since her start; her third this year. Read her previous #SixtySeconds interviews as well as her bio here. Then take a minute or two to get to know her better below. (Note: word count restraints on responses for four-time winners! I wouldn’t dare.)

1) Which part of your Hound of the Baskervilles prompt –inspired story came first: character, plot, or that fabulous superstitious structure? The structure along with the first section: the accident tied to the broken mirror.

2) You’ve said repeatedly that your passion’s spec-fic, but “Causality” doesn’t have a hint of magic. Are you SURE you’re not veering over to the dark side of straight fiction? Do you ever return to any of your flash pieces to develop them? I think my exposure to the flash-fiction circuit has given me an appreciation for what can be done with straight fiction. And I do return (and intend to return) to some of the flash—especially the ones I really had to gut. I intend to submit a few to markets that don’t have such stringent word counts.

3) In your last interview you said you weren’t planning to pick your MG draft back up until school starts in September. That still true?  Any other publications? No other pubs. I do intend to start on my MG piece in earnest when I have guaranteed writing time (something I haven’t had in the last few months).

4) You’re a 4x FF winner AND are serving as a FF judge (and have often judged at other flash contests). What’s your takeaway when it comes to winning? is it really all subjective? 

It’s really hard to make an absolute statement. I might say, “Okay, I’m really sick of kids dying of cancer,” but then someone will write one that will leave me a blubbery mess. In judging there is a big element of subjectivity (Ife and I had about 40% overlap in our shortlists last time). From being a judge, I notice how an excellent piece might not make it to the winner’s circle because a story that was only slightly more excellent covered the same ground.

5) You free write for flash; how do you approach novels? Outline? or jump in and see where it goes? I started with a few years of seat-of-the-pants NaNo-ing (and absolutely adored it). Then I realized how much work I had left to do after a month of wild abandon. I started employing Dramatica Story Expert to flesh out beforehand and Scrivener to keep scenes organized.

6) Let’s talk publishing. You’re not done with your novel yet, but you WILL BE SOON…. what are your plans after that? agent/big house? small press? indie? What’s your take? I’ll shop around for an agent, but if that doesn’t pan out, I might go indie. I have an ace in the hole there: my partner is a fabulous artist and is willing to do the cover and a few illustrations for the work.

7) Shouts out/thanks/accolades to anybody in particular?

Oh, man, there is so much talent, I’m going to leave too many folk out, but here goes. Voima Oy continues to churn out incredible work; I want to just hunker down at a campfire with her and let her spin yarns. Tamara Shoemaker and Emily June Street consistently blow me away. Mark King has been on FIRE lately. I’ve always loved Foy Iver, and I’m so happy to see Karl Russell back in the circuit. My eternal admiration goes out to Steph Ellis, Holly Greely and you, Dragon Mistress for cranking out hilarity (“admiration” as in envy) with such seeming effortlessness.


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