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Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Interview with Sarah Warburton, First Place Winner of Spring 2010 Flash Fiction Contest,

Sarah Warburton is a writer, wife, the mother of two, and a knitter (not necessarily in that order) living in Sugar Land, TX. After earning an M.A. in Classics from the University of Georgia and another from Brown University, she spent time working in independent bookstores, reading and writing. She’s studied at the University of New Mexico with Sharon Oard Warner and Julie Shigekuni, at the Taos Writer’s Workshop with Pam Houston, and in Houston with Justin Cronin. Since 2005 she’s been a staff writer for the local monthly magazine, UpClose and member of the weekly critique group, Writers Ink. Her short story, “Margaret’s Magnolia,” appeared in the Southern Arts Journal and she has finished her first mystery novel, The Language of the Dead.

Find out more about Sarah by visiting her website:

interview by Marcia Peterson

WOW: Congratulations on winning first place in our Winter 2010 writing contest! How do you feel?

Sarah: Really honored and thrilled! A few years ago, I had one short story published in the now-defunct Southern Arts Journal, but it wasn’t available in many places. It’s been amazing to have this chance to share my story with so many people…and I really appreciate the opportunity.

WOW: Can you tell us what encouraged the idea behind your story, "Life Script? "

Sarah: I wanted to write a story that covered a large span of time in a short space and I was interested in the divergence between our plans for life and the direction our lives take. I thought about the difference between our vision of the writing life and the many different paths it actually takes. There may also have been echoes of my favorite movie, a sort of “When Harry Missed Sally” feeling.

WOW: Your approach was effective! It was a quietly powerful story. Have you always enjoyed the genre, and how did you learn to write great flash fiction?

Sarah: My short stories tend to be either very long or very short. One of the reasons I love flash fiction are the constraints of the genre. There isn’t any room for prevarication or words that don’t pull their weight. It’s a fantastic genre for those of us with small children, because we have such narrow moments of opportunity in which to work. Since I knew with “Life Script” that I would be moving quickly through time in little blocks of text, I could consider each paragraph in isolation whenever I had a few minutes to myself.

WOW: You've also completed a novel. Can you tell us about that? What did it take to complete that big goal?

Sarah: I think it took the kind of commitment it takes to have children…complete ignorance of the enormity of the task, plenty of support, and a dedication to doing it every day. I started almost ten years ago with eighty pages of non-consecutive scenes and now three cities, numerous writing workshops, and several writing groups later I’m making my final revisions with my agent. Without my writing group, Writers Ink ( I don’t know if I would have reached the end. They kept me writing for my goal, inspired me with their own excellent work, and read my novel with critical eyes and encouraging words.

WOW: I love your analogy—ignorance is bliss. Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Sarah! Before you go, do you have any tips for our readers who may be thinking about entering writing contests?

Sarah: Go for it! Especially if you’ve gotten feedback from readers, critique groups, or your workshop and you know the story is your best work. You’ve got nothing to lose by sending your stories out to contests, and the opportunity to share your work is fantastic. Nobody’s going door to door, looking for amazing fiction, so you’ll have to send your work out if you want the opportunity to share it with a wider audience.

* * *

Today is the last day to enter our Summer 2010 Flash Fiction contest!

For more information, visit:
Good luck!


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Anonymous Angelica R. Jackson said...

Congratulations, Sarah! Love your answer on writing a novel; it is kind of a leap of faith.

2:23 PM  

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