Here’s an interview with winner of Bop Dead City’s 3rd Annual Flash Fiction Contest, Alison McBain, who won for her story “Definitions.” She’s kind enough to remind me that I’m a million years old right at the end.
Describe your writing in 25 words or less.
Eclectic, emotional and sometimes bizarre.
Is this your first contest win? How does it feel?
Last year, I was lucky enough to start out my recent writing career by placing in a literary contest, so I always get a special thrill any time that my story is chosen to represent a magazine. This is my first contest win this year, and I’m very honored to have won.
Tell us about your story “Definitions.”
Recently, I attended an MFA writers’ conference where one of the speakers summarized the advice of his mentor, which was: “Write towards the fear.” I think I’ve always done this – I often take what I’m most afraid of and try to exorcise it by writing about it. Particularly for this story, since I have two children, some of my biggest fears revolve around them getting sick or hurt. But instead of writing it from the anguish of the mother, I thought it would be a particular challenge to try to put myself into the perspective of the child. And there was my story.
Who or what influences your writing?
When it comes to literary work, I am particularly inspired by Margaret Atwood, whose breadth of work is amazing. However, I read everything from history to biography, science fiction to poetry, and take inspiration from it all.
Do you have a blog or a website for your work?
Where’s the next place we can read your work?
I have an experimental story coming out in FLAPPERHOUSE at the end of June.
What are you working on right now?
There are a number of short stories and poems that I’m working on at any one time, although I’m also concentrating on a book-length project. It is an alternate history of the United States focusing on Native American-European interactions and my imagining of what could have happened with one small change before the beginning of contact.
Do you have any advice for your fellow writers?
Don’t give up! I can’t count the number of rejections I’ve received (and continue to receive). The difference between a published writer and an unpublished writer, more than anything, is persistence.
Anything else you’d like to get out?
Thank you very much for the interview, Mr. Rodriguez, and for choosing my story for Bop Dead City.