Meet Kimberly Malanczuk, Winter 2014 Flash Fiction Runner Up
Please give a warm welcome to Kimberly Malanczuk! Kimberly is a runner-up in WOW’s Winter 2014Flash Fiction contest. She entered with a fun little story inspired by the area in which she grew up, complete with a Gothic church, a graveyard, and a mischievous little girl. Please enjoy reading The Churchyard, and come back to learn more about Kimberly.
Kimberly’s Bio:At four-years-old, I knew I wanted to write stories and books. I loved reading. Little Golden Books, The Wonderful Worlds of Walt Disney, Uncle Wiggily, and The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm filled my bedroom. Madeleine L’Engle, Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens, and John Knowles further molded my fascination with story.
My career path led me to journalism and high-tech public relations in Silicon Valley, where I worked as a reporter and Editor-In-Chief of a weekly newspaper and later developed communications strategy for high-tech companies. I am finally shifting gears and returning to my first love—creative writing—where I endeavor to write middle-grade fictional fantasy and spiritual non-fiction. At the moment, short form fiction with a supernatural twist enchants me.
When not writing, I am either playing on the Capitola Beach with my husband or directing the public relations efforts of South Bay Writers, the Silicon Valley Branch of the 100-year-old California Writers Club.
WOW: Hi Kimberly, congratulations on being one of our wonderful runners-up in the WOW Winter 2014 Flash Fiction Contest! I’ve read The Churchyard several times and enjoyed the supernatural twist. What was your inspiration?
Kimberly: Two colonial-era churches located in Dumont and Bergenfield, New Jersey. I chose the name and street corner of one and the visual location of the other. South Presbyterian Church looks quite ominous, especially in autumn at dusk. When I was a youngster, my parents would drive past the church on the way to my grandmother’s house. I would look through the car window at the weathered stone building and the skinny, tilted old slabs and imagine the unseen ghosts who wandered there at night. We were only 45 minutes from Sleepy Hollow, so I grew up fascinated by the haunted legends of the area. It had been years since I’d been back East and I recently made the trip. When I saw the church and Cooper’s Pond, I knew I had to use both as a short story backdrop.
WOW: I can see how being surrounded by all that history, and the stories, would lend to being a writer! What is it about short form fiction that excites you?
Kimberly: I enjoy writing a short, tight story arc. Short fiction allows me to quickly switch gears and pursue different story genres—a remnant of my journalism experience.
WOW: After a career in corporate America, what stumbling blocks have you faced switching to the life of a fiction writer?
Kimberly: Isolation. I talk a lot to my fish. He and I are quite close now, except that he tends to be a bit of a critic.
WOW: Well, I’m afraid they aren’t known for their warm personalities (smile). I’m sure he’s just trying to encourage you to put you best fin, er…foot, forward.
What are your thoughts on today’s children stories compared to those you grew up loving?
Kimberly: Writing styles have changed significantly over the generations. For example, Diary of a Wimpy Kid versus Uncle Wiggily, a story series first published in the Newark News in 1910. Today’s stories are more abrupt and to the point. The older stories are a bit more verbose in language and explanation. But a good story is still a good story. A majority of my childhood books remains on my bookshelf and I periodically take one down, dust it off, and give it a read. I think those will always be my favorites—they had such a profound impact on me when the garden of my mind was first being seeded.
WOW: We’d love to hear more about your writing; do you have a work in progress you would like to share?
Kimberly: I’m working on a middle-grade fantasy novel that is as exciting as it is daunting. Too many fun storylines to pursue. Narrowing the choices is difficult.
WOW: I hope you’ll share it with us once you’re finished; I’d love to read it! Thank you so much for visiting with us today and best wishes on your novel.