AC McDonald, Runner Up in Flash Fiction Contest, Spring 2013
As a child, the stories of Enid Blyton captured her imagination, but it wasn’t until the age of twelve, when she first heard Suzanne Vega’s Solitude Standing album, that she became fascinated with the imagery the written word can conjure.
Since then, she has told every man and his dog that she will one day write a novel. After several failed attempts, corrupted USB sticks, a degree in behavioural science, and a graduate certificate in writing, she has finally completed an urban science fiction manuscript, for which she is currently seeking representation.
AC currently resides on Australia’s Sunshine Coast, where she shares her abode with a black cat, a blue tongue lizard, a bush turkey, and a posse of possums.
You can follow AC on Twitter: @ac_macdonald and Instagram: ac_macdonald
**Her award winning story is DEFICIENCY!
If you haven't had a chance to check it out yet, you can do so here.
WOW: Congratulations, Amy, on being a runner-up in the flash fiction contest with your story Deficiency. What was the inspiration for this story?
Amy: This may sound a bit weird, but I got the idea for Deficiency whilst watching an Irish sitcom. I must have been zoning out, mind wandering, and voila! That tends to be how I work with most of my story ideas; my brains background processing will be hammering away at something I'm almost unconscious of, then the finished idea will pop into my conscious at a completely random moment.
WOW: What draws you to the science fiction genre?
Amy: I'm drawn to science fiction for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I love science. So I guess it's natural for my stories to steer in that direction. Secondly, I really enjoy fantastical storylines that have an explanation, whether it be real or pseudoscience. For me, it gives what is currently fiction an air of hope that it may one day be a possibility.
WOW: Any tips for writing flash fiction? What's your process like?
Amy: I'm in no way a methodical writer. Not because I don't want to be (believe me, I've tried to be organised!), but because I'm completely intuitive in most things I embark on. The best tip I can give any writer is to read a lot and write a lot. I feel reading many different styles helps a writer discover his or her own voice, and of course writing a lot helps you just to get stuff out of your head. For me, the concept of writer's block stems from a person wanting to put perfect words on the page first go. So we get caught up in our heads and never really get anything out onto the page. My manuscript, NINE, recently placed first in the romantic elements category of the On the Far Side competition run by the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal subchapter of Romance Writer's of America. I can't tell you the exact number, but I'm going to estimate the manuscript I entered was about draft version #15. And that's being conservative! The moral of the story is: write now, edit later. Also, let go of the idea of perfection, and the words will flow.
WOW: According to your bio, it sounds like writing a novel was quite a process for you. How did you FINALLY finish it? And how did that feel?
Amy: Writing my novel was like an internal avalanche. The idea sprung from a series of nightmares I had after reading Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis. I had already written about 10,000 words a year earlier, and for some reason picked up the stagnant manuscript, added the element from my nightmares, and away I went. Three and a half weeks later, I had nearly 100,000 words. I don't think I got much sleep during that time! The storyline began small and just kept snowballing until I had created a very intricate world set in an alternate present. Finishing the first draft was such an amazing feeling. Writing a book had always been a major goal for me, and to finally achieve it was very satisfying and validating.
WOW: We don't get a chance to talk to many writers from Australia. So we have to ask: do you find inspiration for your writing in the place where you reside? Or how about with all those animals?
Amy: Although the fictional city in my manuscript is located in California, the story was initially set in an Australian seaside town, very similar to where I live. So I have to say I most certainly find inspiration for my writing in the place where I reside. Now that I think of it, all those animals would make great characters in a children's book. I shall have to put that on my list of things to write. :)
WOW: If you could give a new writer one piece of advice, what would you say?
Amy: Write, write, write! Even if you write just one sentence today, it's more than you had yesterday.
WOW: Thanks for your time, Amy! We are so happy to have met you and wish you the best success!