Welcome Miranda Kate as this weeks Author in the Spotlight. She is our last author to be interviewed who is featured in the upcoming Twisted Tales 2015 Anthology.
Miranda adores writing Flash Fiction. Primarily a novel writer, flash brings out her darker side, allowing the disturbing elements to bubble and surface. Whether a side effect from years of reading horror, or just how she sees the world, she’s not quite sure, but she thoroughly enjoys it.
The title of your flash fiction.
What was your initial motivation or prompt to write this story?
This story initially arose from a song prompt for a Flash Fiction challenge. When I saw the Twisted Tale competition, I was reminded of it, revising and adapting it for submission. The song was Home in the Woods, by Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons.
Is the character in your story a reoccurring character in your writing?
Not specifically, although I do tend to write characters that do very dark things, especially in my Flash Fiction. I like them to do the unexpected, or what initially seems out of character.
What sort of message of feeling are you hoping you leave your audience with?
With all my stories I like to leave the readers with a chill, making the story, and/or characters, difficult to forget. I like to leave them with something to think about, force them to look at people and life from a different perspective. And sometimes I try and work it so the audience feels sympathy for the main character, despite what they may have done.
What sorts of challenges or insights have you had writing this?
I tried to make it unpredictable, so the reader would not see the twist at the end before it arrived; taking out any sentences that gave clues or suggestions about what was coming. I kept refining it, and reducing it. The written tense was also a challenge, because he was thinking back to what had taken place, and to make it immediate so the audience could see what happened as well as keep it in the past was hard.
What sort of stories do you normally write? Is this story a break from your norm?
This story is very much what I write for Flash Fiction. I usually go for dark or suspense filled pieces. I am a lover of horror, although less blood and gore and more psychologically disturbing. I consider a story good if I am still thinking about it days later, whether wondering at a characters motivations or disturbed by what they did. I grew up reading Stephen King, Clive Barker, and James Herbert. I loved the stories they weaved, and the worlds they led me into, and the surprises they revealed that kept me turning the page.
Are you focused on one particular genre or story length style?
I either write really short fiction (less than a 1000 words), or really long fiction – novels (exceeding 100K words). I find it really difficult to write in between, whether short stories of 1600 words or novellas/anthology length pieces of 4-25K.
In my short fiction I go for dark, disturbing or sad story lines, but in my novels I tend to go more with suspense filled real life general fiction, or science fiction/fantasy. But I don’t tend to restrict my writing to any one genre; in fact I rarely consider it when I am writing, unless I am writing something specific to submit.
What projects or new story lines do you have coming up in the near future?
I am currently working through a second round of edits on my novel, so I can send it out to beta readers. And for National November Writing Month, I will be working on another novel that I began some time ago. Both are general fiction, and are exploring characters that have something revealed about them that they are not completely comfortable with the world knowing.
Do you enter many writing competitions?
I regularly take part in Flash Fiction competitions and challenges online. There are several weekly ones that I take part in, as much for motivation and honing writing skill as for the winning and feedback from readers. I enjoy taking part and it is a great way to connect with other writers, and get feedback on your writing.
Are you a member of a writing group – either online or a physical one?
Due to being an expat living in foreign speaking country, a physical writing group is hard for me to find, as I don’t read or write fiction in the native language of the country I am living in. I also don’t live in or near big cities that would offer expat writing groups. But I am part of one online, although it is not a traditional group in that we don’t submit a piece for others to read on a regular basis. It is simply a collection of writers and artists, who support each other in their creative endeavours.
Do you think these groups help or hinder a writer’s journey?
I think writing groups are invaluable. They give support to writers through positive encouragement and feedback. I found mine through connecting with other writers on Twitter, through hashtags for National November Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo) and Writers in general (#Writer #amwriting #amediting). There is a wealth of people and information out there, and it is a great way to find help and support for all and any writing genre or type of writing. Writing is a solitary business, and it has helped me feel less alone and more connected to others.
What encouragement or advice do you have for emerging writers?
Write what you like to write, what comes to you, what feels good to you. When you can tell the writer loves what they have written, that is what gives writing life – no matter the genre or content. Do hone your skill. Do read about how to write. Filter it all and use what works for you. There is no right or wrong, there is only writing. And the more often you write, the easier it gets.
What advice or tips do you have for writers who feel they are stuck or have “writers block”?
I have never had writers block, as my biggest problem is having too many idea, and not being able to find the time to get them all out – a bit like a traffic jam in my head! But I do know others that have suffered. My advice would be take a break, and decide to stop for a while, take the pressure off, and do something else that you enjoy. It will come back. Journaling can also be helpful, to write about your feelings about being stuck or having writers block. Sometimes it is fear – either of success or of failure – in that case, share your fears with other writers. Connecting really helps.
How can others follow your journey?
I’m all over the place!
Google+: Miranda Kate
My Blog: Finding Clarity – http://purplequeennl.blogspot.nl/
Twisted Tales is an annual flash fiction competition celebrating (Inter)National Flash Fiction Day, published by Raging Aardvark Publications. Judged by a panel of experienced short story writers and editors, submissions over the last four years have been extremely high quality; making the job of the judge a difficult one. Authors are drawn from around the globe and stories ranging from lighthearted tales of childhood memories, to gruesome stories to make the reader shiver.