Interview with Tina Weaver: 2014 Winter Flash Fiction Contest Runner Up
Tina Weaver has been an active member on Writing.com. She’s won a number of writing contests and her work as been awarded. Five of her short stories have been published in anthologies and online publications. The latest to be chosen is one of the top ten, on WOW! Women On Writing, by literary agent Stephany Evans. She’s been a member of a writing critique groups and completed the three, National Write a Novel in a Month contests. She’s expanded one of those novels and it is in the process of looking for and agent/publisher. Her beta readers are anxious for a copy of their own. She written and directed the drama portions of the cantatas performed by her church’s music department for the past six years. Tina sees plots in all circumstances of life and keeps a notebook.
If you haven't done so already, check out Tina's award-winning story "The Letter" and return here for a conversation with the author!
WOW: Congratulations on placing in the 2014 Winter Flash Fiction Contest! What was the inspiration for your short story, or what prompted you to write this particular story?
Tina: This was a picture prompt from my on line writing site (www.writing.com). It was a black and white picture of a woman in a black/navy coat and a cloche hat. I like these kind of romance stories and so I wrote the end of what might have been an historical romance.
WOW: Thanks for sharing one of your writing resources. In general, what is your writing process like?
Tina: That depends on what I'm writing. If it’s a short story for a contest, is there a prompt? I think about the plot. What the reader should know. What emotions do I want to convey to the reader or pull from the reader? How long it’s going to be? Is there a word count to the contest that I'm submitting to? I write the story, then go back and cut. I reword to convey the emotion yet keep to the word count. Often this means finding words that trigger what I'm trying to say in three words rather than five or more. I write a basic format. What is the goal of the main character? What motivates the main character to continue toward that goal and then what are the conflicts keeping the main character from reaching that goal.
Tolkien wrote: All Bilbo Baggins wanted to do was hide in the Shire and be invisible. Get your character out of his/her comfort zone and see what transpires. This motivates me to put my characters out there and give them some tool in their personality that will react like Bilbo did.
WOW: Great advice! Do you notice any connection between writing and directing “the drama portions of the cantatas performed by [your] church’s music department” and writing flash fiction or other genres?
Tina: I don't write the dialogs. I write the actors’ directions. Yes, this comes from watching a lot of movies with my kids. I look at what the cantata's goal is. What can I add to the narration in drama (some have no drama) to enhance the songs the choir is singing? What actions do I have the actors take to bring the story closer to the audience? I create the script and the actors then convey the message with their actions or song. I also have to create the staging, make scene changes AND get people on and off the stages. I usually work with about 20-30 depending on what's needed.
WOW: I imagine that gives you a unique approach to storytelling! If you could have dinner with any writer, dead or alive, who would you choose, and why?
Tina: This is a hard one. I would love to have dinner with prolific writer Christine Feehan. Anyone who writes a number of series at a time and can stand next to Ann Rice in creating worlds is someone I want to spend time with. Both of these writers have written outstanding stories. There are writers from the past like Victoria Holt, Madaline L'Engle, Harper Lee and Harriet Beecher Stowe, who I might like to meet but I don't know their personalities and what dinner might be like with me.
WOW: Great point...you can never be sure what to expect from a writer, ha ha! Can you tell us more about the writing projects you’re completing right now?
Tina: I have a manuscript that will be published in six months or so. The title is The Vanishing of Katherine Sullivan. I have pulled out two old manuscripts I wrote over ten years ago to debate on which one to go to next. One is a paranormal (no vampires or Ware animals) the other a detective story written about an unsolved murder here in the Pacific Northwest. I also have the layout of a "thriller" ready to be written. I don't write in one genre; I find interesting real life stories and write that story.
WOW: Excellent. You have quite a range of ideas and genres from which to draw ideas. Anything else you’d like to add?
Tina: I find stories everywhere. I love my online writing site as I'm constantly writing for prompts. I have written about 50 short stories, five now are published. The novel that was accepted for publishing was taken from a true event during WWII, in Italy. I just plucked it up and set it in the Appalachian Mts. It’s about small towns, small minds and actions that can affect a family and town generations later. I'm always asking "What If?" or "why?" I listen to the news stories and wonder what if this had happened?
WOW: Congratulations on your writing accomplishments, and good luck with future writing endeavors! We hope to see your writing again!
Interviewed by Anne Greenawalt, writer and writing instructor