How and when did you decide, or discover, that you were to be a writer?
I actually came up with some rants, when I was a teenager, which were published in some Greek magazines. I didn’t do any writing since then until I did Creative Writing as part of my BA(Hons) in Literature with The Open University, which gave me a distinction. That was it! I fell in love with writing in a foreign language (Greek is my native one), totally engrossed in a continuous, exciting struggle to explore its nuances and create imaginary (or maybe not) microcosms with it. Since then I never stopped writing. I moved on to doing an MA in Creative Writing with Lancaster University, focusing on writing short stories, the final product being my first short story collection entitled ‘Black Greek Coffee.’ The inspiration for most of the stories in the book was my native village in Western Greece, the prejudices and sufferings of the people there in the 20th century mainly.
What inspired you to write flash fiction?
I love reading flash fiction stories as much as writing them. They are clever, dense like poetry and can convey so much in just a few words. In fact, I discovered that the fewer the words, the more difficult to construct. Everything has to be carefully chosen and orchestrated; nothing should be redundant in a flash. I am not a wordy writer, I don’t like waffling about, so I found this laconic form a perfect fit. Plus, I can create a whole story in just a couple of hours, while the kids are away at school and hubby at work.
Describe your writing process.
I always write in the mornings, when my only companions are our Terrier Westie and a cup of coffee. Any neat table or desk will do. I don’t write every day, I’m a terrible procrastinator. I usually use prompts from magazines or blogs but I’m mainly inspired by people and events around me. Almost everyone has featured in my stories but they don’t know it. Few can read in English anyway. I research a lot before writing a story, I never underestimate my readers and I always outline, even a rough plan in my head. I start editing it right away, then let it settle for a couple of days and edit again.
What was the inspiration behind what was published on FewerThan500.com?
Unfortunately, it was inspired by the route of a close relative of mine to schizophrenia. Painful to write.
What are you working on now?
I’ve decided to focus on compiling a collection of flashes for a future publication; hopefully becoming better at writing very short stories, sharing them with the English-speaking world, even though in my family only my 18-year-old son can read them (and he’s the harshest judge ever).