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, 1895. The 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 FewerThan500.com?
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.