How and when did you decide, or discover, that you were to be a writer?
As far back as I can remember I wanted to be a writer. I have a photo of me when I was maybe 3 or 4 and I was at a typewriter pounding the keys. And then throughout school I had several teachers tell me they liked my writing and that made all the difference. Finally, my mother told me about a great aunt, Aunt Alice, who was a writer and who lived in Daly City, CA. I still have one of her manuscripts that I treasure. I think learning that I had a relative who was a writer made me think I might try to be one as well.
What inspired you to write flash fiction?
I’ve always loved small things, including stories. There’s a real challenge—how to tell a story, how to move a reader in as few words/moves as possible. In college when I was studying German I had to translate a story by Wolfgang Borchert called “Das Brot” (The Bread). It was this small story and it moved me immensely. Also, Borchert had a collection of stories called The Sad Geranium. I loved, loved, loved that title and I suppose it as much as the brief stories or vignettes contained within got me hooked on the form.
Describe your writing process.
My process is simply to sit down and fiddle with some words. That said, I find that flash fiction often rolls over me like a tidal wave—it just appears and sweeps me along until the whole piece is written. I often think I have a “poet’s concerns” when I’m writing short, yet I’m not a poet. But that inciting moment almost always has carried me through to the end, by which I mean I write the story in one fell swoop.
What was the inspiration behind what was published on FewerThan500.com?
A few words, a phrase, popped into my head: “A girl who eats her dreams.” That was it. What about that girl—why did she eat her dreams? Those were the driving questions for me. Pretty soon I’d created a mother and a father for her, even a family dog, and before I knew it the words started pointing toward words themselves.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently—always!—working on a collection of fiction. I write longer stories as well, but I feel as though I have more skills in the bag when it comes to flash. At some point I’d really love to have a flash collection published. A book in hand, ultimately, has always been my goal (as it is for almost all writers, lol).