Author Profile: Lynne Handy


How and when did you decide, or discover, that you were to be a writer?

I learned to read when very young. Books provided refuge from a lonely rural existence. It was only a small step from the worlds I found in books to creating my own universe. I often recorded my imaginings in poems, stories, and plays.

What inspired you to write flash fiction?

A poet friend recently encouraged me to write flash fiction. My first attempt was a flop–I started from whole cloth. A few months ago, I submitted a long prose poem to the St. Charles Writers Group. Rick Holinger suggested my poem might be turned into flash fiction. I decided to try it. That became The Good Wife and Mother, 1895The Mandrake Root developed from a short story outtake. For me, the secret to writing flash fiction is to write a story in poetic form and then flesh it out into story form. Poetry forces one to distill.

Describe your writing process.

I work in a bookcase-lined study, which is peaceful and quiet. I write every day, usually all morning and in early afternoon. I like my setting to be free of nagging concerns, so my bed is always made, breakfast dishes in the dishwasher, etc. I love research. There is nothing more fascinating than chasing down facts and following tangents to new learning. Revisions: people say they revise five or six times: I revise so many times I lose count, but an estimate of thirty or forty times per piece would not be far off. For major revisions, I let days pass between.

What was the inspiration behind what was published on

The Good Wife and Mother, 1895 is my maternal grandmother’s story with most names changed.​ She was the child, Abigail, and I grew up, knowing her sad, brave story. The Mandrake Root is an outtake from an unfinished short story about a girl pretending she is Joan of Arc.

What are you working on now?

I have two current projects. I’m working on an untitled mystery novella, and I’m selecting poems for a chapbook. There’s also a poem, tickling my brain. I’m jotting down notes about it.

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