Interview with Kelly Stone Gamble, Runner Up in Fall 2010 Flash Fiction Contest
To learn more about Kelly, or just to say hello, visit her at http://www.kellystonegamble.blogspot.com/ or on facebook.
Interview by Marcia Peterson
WOW: Congratulations on placing in the top ten in our Fall 2010 writing competition! What inspired you to enter the contest?
Kelly: One of the other students in my MFA program received an honorable mention in the Summer 2010 contest. After reading the stories and the information about the contest, it sounded like fun!
WOW: Can you tell us what encouraged the idea behind your story, December?
Kelly: I have a friend who is writing about her experiences in Baghdad as a Master Sergeant in the US Army and I have been deeply moved by her stories. I have never been in the Armed Forces and after reading one of her essays, I began to imagine what role I might have played had my life taken a different path. I love historical fiction, enjoy writing surprise endings and I am a Nurse, so I put it all together and came up with December.
WOW: It's a terrific story with a twist! Since you’re currently working toward a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, maybe you could share a bit about that experience, and why you chose to pursue that path.
Kelly: I hope to one day teach, and feel the MFA is an important step toward that goal. I work with an amazing group of accomplished writers-our faculty. The value of their input and critique of my work has far exceeded the cost of the education. Additionally, the SNHU program offers a real sense of community. I have made friendships that will last forever. We are a diverse group with a common interest in writing. My family is very supportive of my work, but they don’t always understand how I can spend days stressing over one sentence or one word. My friends do get that. They have become family.
WOW: We’d love to know more about your writing routines. Could you tell us when and where you usually write? Do you have favorite tools or habits that get you going?
Kelly: I like to write in the middle of the night and have adjusted my sleep patterns to allow for a lot of night writing time. I sometimes turn on music that is specific to the time period I am writing about, but usually enjoy nothing more than the sound of fingers on keyboard.
WOW: You recently completed a novel. Can you tell us about that? What did it take to complete that big goal?
Kelly: I recently completed the first draft of an historical fiction novel titled Ragtown, which is set during the construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930’s. I don’t live far from the Dam, and am fascinated not only with the structure itself, but the strength, both physical and mental, of the men and women who built it. I feel they would be proud of the finished product.
Writing any novel is quite a project, but with historical fiction, there is an additional component that involves extensive research. I have been lucky enough to have access to oral histories, the works of the non-fiction writers who have previously documented the project and the encouragement and support of Dennis McBride, a renowned Hoover Dam historian. I’m sure I have spent more time researching than actually writing. Additionally, since I am in an MFA program, I have had deadlines to meet and the guidance of excellent mentors.
WOW: It sounds like a great project. Who are some of your favorite authors?
Kelly: I have such diverse interests—no genre is spared in my house! I love Marguerite Duras and Kate Chopin. More contemporary fiction authors: Scott Phillips, Stewart O’Nan, Joseph O’Connor, Gary Phillips, Junot Diaz. Clive Cussler is always fun. Non-fiction: Michael Hiltzik and Geoffrey Stone.
WOW: Lots of reading ideas for us to check out. Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Kelly! Before you go, do you have any tips for our readers who may be thinking about entering writing contests?
Kelly: Stories are meant to be told. If you have a story that you like, put it out there for the world to see. Who knows?
Come back and join us on Tuesdays for more contest winner interviews!
The Spring 2011 Flash Fiction Contest is OPEN