My interview on Ether Books …
Interview with Suki McMinn, 8 Days ‘Tragedy’ Winner
How did you find the 8 Days contest? Was it challenging?
Although it was difficult at times, it was also extremely satisfying. Oh, and exhausting! I loved the challenge of the prompts and the time and word limits, but the camaraderie among the writers was an unexpected bonus.
Readers might not know this, but the writers who participated had a closed Facebook group where we could share our thoughts about the experience and get information on the contest. As the writing days progressed, we grew to lean on each other for support, and then in the reading phase, we shared marketing ideas and promoted the contest together. We also read each other’s stories and rated and reviewed them.
So, in the end, we walked away having discovered some new favorite writers as well as new friends. It was really a very positive experience for me.
Do you often write flash fiction, or were you new to it? What’s your favourite form/genre?
I’d certainly written my fair share of short stories, but I’d never written stories with a 500-word limit, and I’d never produced 8 completed stories in 8 days before. It was quite a challenge, but a really fun one.
The short story might be my favorite form, at least right now. I have one novel out and am working on its sequel, and while I love writing novels, it’s so satisfying to produce a shorter story and move on to something else. Novels are such a big commitment time-wise. But then the payoff is also big.
My favorite genres to write are romance, women’s fiction, and humor, and I write both fiction and nonfiction.
What was the inspiration/process behind your winning story, ‘Tragedy: Comedy’?
My story won for the tragedy prompt. I considered different types of tragedies and remembered a stand-up comedian I once knew whose father had died, and he had to make the decision whether to continue using the material about his father in his act. I found that to be poignant. Then there’s also a “the show must go on” element to a performer’s life that can make it difficult at times. And relationships can be a challenge for anyone who lives a nomadic life, and stand-up comics have to travel a great deal.
The final thought I had was a bit more complex—fame comes with an odd bag of problems with personal relationships that most people don’t empathize with. For example, how can you tell if a person is attracted to you or your public persona? Many people would say, “Who cares? Poor little rich boy gets all the girls. And he’s sad because he doesn’t know if they really love him? Ha!” But the reality is that yes, it is sad, and even sadder that other people don’t relate.
Anyway, the explanation is becoming longer than the story! And this is one reason I love flash fiction so much—a very short story can be packed with a great deal of meaning and be multi-layered. Honing the words down to a minimum while keeping the meat of the story intact is an interesting challenge.
Any thoughts on digital publishing? Do you read ebooks?
My thoughts on the growth of digital publishing could make my dissertation on sad famous comedians seem tiny and simple. It’s a phenomenon I’ll never tire of studying, and has had the power to change the world of publishing in a very short span of time. It’s both wonderful and devastating.
I do read ebooks, although I don’t have an ereader. I read on my laptop or phone. I’m also a “real” book lover and always will be.
Where else can we find you and your work?
My novel, Drop Dead Gorgeous, can be found on Amazon. It’s an adult vampire romance set in the modeling world in Los Angeles, and the first in my L.A. Vamps series. It’s fun and sexy and a little bit funny. You can learn more about it at www.sukimcminn.com.
I also write a weekly newspaper column for the Tryon Daily Bulletin in Tryon, North Carolina, where I live now after a few decades in Los Angeles. Tryon has a population of 1700 and the Bulletin is “The World’s Smallest Newspaper.” I got that gig during the 8 Days of Ether and wrote the first two columns between flash fiction stories. I’m also a contributor for Life in our Foothills Magazine. I write those pieces under the name Susan McNabb. You can learn more about that part of me and my work at www.susanmcnabb.com.