Not unlike most writers, I discovered a knack for it at a pretty young age. I remember being about seven or eight and writing a little “story” about a forest tent caterpillar infestation we were experiencing in Minnesota that summer. It wasn’t long after that I was writing stories where I stole the plots from popular television shows, inserting my classmates as characters. Later in high school and college I shifted to nonfiction and studied journalism so I could become a sports writer. To my regret I ignored most of my creative writing instincts during those years working in newspapers, but restored my enthusiasm for writing fiction again in the past five to six years.
What inspired you to write flash fiction?
Journalism trained me to distill a great amount of information into a short article, often no longer than 500 words. So flash seemed to mesh well with that ability.
Describe your writing process.
I wish I had a set writing process. It takes a great amount of discipline to develop a process that works, and I struggle with that. But from reading about other authors’ processes (including my poet-wife, Kristin’s), I’ve learned the importance of setting aside dedicated time to writing. It’s a mistake to wait for the “muse to strike.” If you’re serious about writing, as I like to think I am, treat it like a job, not a hobby.
What was the inspiration behind what was published on FewerThan500.com?
That story, “An Unexpected Conversation,” came from a prompt during a meeting of the Fox Valley Writers Group. The bones of it were written during the seven-minute window we are given, and then I filled the gaps during revisions. It was one of the rare times I saw a complete story in my head, and managed to get it written before something else distracted me.
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m in the process of submitting a couple stories to literary journals. I have a few other stories in various stages of completion, though a couple of them have me thinking about expanding them into novels. That’s a daunting task, though. I’m also the curator of Lit by the Bridge, the monthly open-mic reading at Culture Stock bookstore in downtown Aurora. We hold the readings on the third Thursdays of every month. For more information, check out our Facebook page: (https://www.facebook.com/litbythebridge).