Author Profile: Kristy Kassie

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

I’m an English and ESL Instructor and Private tutor originally from Trinidad and Tobago who now lives in Vancouver, Canada. My journey as a writer began with my love of reading. My mom bought me a lot of books and encouraged me to use new vocabulary in my writing. When I was nine, I won first place in an essay competition for students in Commonwealth countries. I continued winning creative writing awards through grade and high school until my focus shifted to earning an undergraduate degree in English and French. I enjoy teaching the art of writing, both academic and creative. For most of my life, writing has been an outlet for my emotions and a home for my dreams – rarely did I share my work. Then, after a painful breakup in 2008, I wrote “The Heartbreak Sonnet, and impulsively submitted it to the 2009 BC TEAL Writing Competition, Instructors’ Category. It won first place. (http://www.kristyk.ca/about/TEAL_News_Fall_09[1].pdf, page 11)

What inspired you to write flash fiction?

In April 2016, I joined the Practice List on the Internet Writing Workshop and was introduced to flash fiction. It was a challenge to curb my verbosity into 400-word stories but it gave me the discipline to choose my words wisely.

Describe your writing process.

When a writing prompt comes in, I comb my memory for a personal experience upon which to build a story. Usually, my original idea is way too big for a flash piece. I start writing to see where the idea takes me and then start pruning words. Often, I will do online research or ask people involved in the associated experience for details to check accuracy.

What was the inspiration behind what was published on FewerThan500.com?

“Different Eyes” is a response to a prompt where a shadow must play an important role. The story is drawn from a turning point in my own life. I wanted to capture that heartbreaking moment when childhood innocence is overshadowed by cruel reality.

What are you working on now?

Inspired by other participants’ publishing successes, I started submitting my flash fiction to magazines in October 2016. I got my first acceptance in January 2017, on my birthday. My published work includes:

 

 

Different Eyes

By Kristy Kassie

Kerry stood in the shadow of the hibiscus tree. She heard her friends squealing and stifled a giggle. Her bratty brother and boy cousins were finding her friends where they hid but Kerry had the best spot ever. Her friends had helped her to the hilltop because she was the birthday girl.

For lunch, Mom and Aunt Daphne had laid out macaroni pie, barbecued chicken and a chocolate cake with pink icing and smarties. Kerry turned nine today. She wore her brand-new paisley jumper and white party shoes. She’d had the coolest tea party on the garden lawns with her friends and her new pink tea set. Continue reading

Author Profile: Michael Croban

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

I have been writing poetry since my teenage years, which eventually turned into writing songs for my band. I have written hundreds of songs, but writing prose fiction was always a desire. There were two crucial events in my life that instigated me to start writing fiction. The first one was when I’ve read Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky. That book literally changed my life and made me want to write down my thoughts on paper. The second event was when I lost my job. The radio station where I have been working for more than a decade went under and I was left with a lot of free time on my hands. Since I’m a person who can’t sit and do nothing, I finally started to write. My wife supported me wholeheartedly.

What inspired you to write flash fiction?

I saw an ad on the internet where they were asking people to write a short story in only 100 words. I never knew that such a thing even existed. So I tried and by luck or something else, the first story I’ve ever written (in English, since Croatian is my mother tongue) was published. Only then, I learned that it was called flash fiction, or micro fiction.

Describe your writing process.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been putting myself to sleep by inventing stories in my head. If the story does the complete opposite and keeps me awake for hours, then I know I have to write it down. It is in a way as if I’m freeing myself of the story. Usually, I write in the afternoon. At first, when I started writing, I wrote almost every day, at least for an hour or two. Pretty soon I had almost a dozen of stories, some of them flash fiction and some short stories. Now I try to write a new piece every week, and in the meantime, I revise some of the old stories. When writing, I never sit in front of the screen waiting for inspiration to struck me. I always try to invent some outlines of the story in my head first, and only then I sit and write. I do a lot of research. Thank God for the internet, the knowledge of the world is only one click away. I read about the themes that interest me and I watch a lot of documentaries on a particular subject that I’m writing at the moment. But most of all, I rely on the idea. If the idea sits with me, then I do my research.

What was the inspiration behind what was published on FewerThan500.com?

The inspiration is the world we live in. With the rise of social media we have become more connected than we have ever been, but somehow at the same time, I think,  it pushed us further apart. We have hundreds or even thousands of virtual friends but in reality, most of us feel lonelier and more distant than ever before. We photoshop our pictures to make us look more beautiful. These carefully selected photographs are there to show the world and to our virtual friends that we lead these incredibly interesting lives. I guess, in a way, we want to feel important. The idea for the story was what if someone tried to do the same but in the real life.

What are you working on now?

I’m actually writing something that could turn out to be a novel or novella. I’m not sure yet. I have written forty pages. It is a sort of philosophical sci-fi story. I have always found science fiction as a genre a great platform for exploring philosophical concepts. In the meantime, as I’ve mentioned before, I try to write flash fiction almost every week.

The Traveler

By Michael Croban

Every morning he would get up from his bed and do his morning rituals, which include shaving and showering, among other things. Then he would put his best suit on and with a briefcase in his hand, he would face the mirror. Almost every time he would be pleased with what he would see. He would leave the apartment with a smile on his face. Sometimes he would take a cab to the hotel if the hotel was somewhere near. However, most of the time he would ride the train, sometimes for hours, until he would reach his destination. The city was big; there were hundreds, if not thousands, of hotels waiting for him to visit. Continue reading

Author Profile: Mary Senter

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

I did some writing when I was a teenager, but then life got in the way and I took a 20-year hiatus. At 39, I finally finished my undergrad degree. I’d been taking some local history classes and I had a lot of questions about what happened to the mixed-race offspring of the marriages that were formed during the fur trade, once Americans began settling the Puget Sound region. At the same time, I read an article about a young Native American doctor who was working on the reservation where I live. He was the inspiration for the protagonist of a historical novel I knew I had to write. For the past seven years, I’ve been working on the book and learning craft, but also getting sidetracked by short fiction, memoir, and essay.

What inspired you to write flash fiction?

I like the challenge of telling a story with brevity and making each word count.

Describe your writing process.

Often my writing is triggered by an unanswerable question, e.g.:

  • “Why did that happen?”
  • “What in the world possessed him to do that?”
  • “What would happen if…?”

I write to find the answers for myself—to reconcile the event in my mind. Other times, I am so frustrated by modern times, I just want to escape and go back in time to, say, the Wild West, or even the 80s. I typically start with a character and then build a rough outline to make sure the plotting will work and go from there. I also love to research. Unearthing historical gems that have been lost to time and bringing them to light is a thrill.

What was the inspiration behind what was published on FewerThan500.com?

My daughter mentioned a while back that one of her friends was taking Molly. I know kids experiment with drugs. My friends did. But in my years as a corrections officer, I saw many hundreds of promising young lives destroyed by drug addiction. Drugs are bad. All of them.

What are you working on now?

In addition to revising my novel (the worst part of writing), I’m writing a little bit of everything. Visit me at www.marysenter.com.

 

My BFF Molly

By Mary Senter

She opened her puffy eyes to see light streaming through a dirty aluminum framed window. It took her a minute to figure out where she was. Clothes piled on brown shag carpet. Thrift store furniture. She heard his throaty breathing and remembered. She slowly slid her legs from under the sheet, dangling them over the edge of the bed and carefully contorted her torso until she was on her belly, sliding her body off the edge of the bed until her knees touched the floor. The mattress springs creaked as she removed her weight, but he didn’t stir. His open mouth let out a low growl as he exhaled.  Continue reading

Author Profile: Kieron Walquist

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

Well, I don’t know if I’m a writer—I would say I’m more of a wannabe—but it’s always been my dream to write and tell stories.

What inspired you to write flash fiction?

I’m such a scatter-brain and procrastinator, so flash fiction is really all I’ve worked on because I’m able to stay with the story—I can see the light at the end of the tunnel much better than, say, a short story. Continue reading