Meet First Place Flash Fiction Winner, K.C.Lowe
Kathryn currently spends her free time writing flash fiction, updating her travel & wellness blog, doing yoga, visiting cat cafes, and drinking as many cups of tea as she can.
Though she will soon be returning to Canada to pursue her Masters of Teaching, Kathryn will continue to travel and write, working primarily on her current project: a fantasy novel geared toward young adults that she aims to turn into a trilogy in the next few months.
To keep up with Kathryn's travels and writing, visit her blog at http://printsontheglobe.com, and follow her on Instagram @katc14.
interview by Marcia Peterson
WOW: Congratulations on your first place win in our Spring 2015 Flash Fiction competition! What inspired you to enter the contest?
Kathryn: I’ve been writing in one form or another for a long time, but it isn’t until recently that I thought I would try to bring my writing out beyond the journals and countless word documents it’s been hiding in. I’m fairly new to the “writing for the public eye” game so am not up-to-date on how to contact publishers, who to contact, and all of the hulabaloo that goes with it; entering a writing contest was an easier, safer way to dip my toe in the water (or my pen in the ink, so to speak).
WOW: Can you tell us what encouraged the idea behind your story, “The Wedding March”?
Kathryn: My writing takes many forms: poetry, flash fiction, fantasy epics, articles, and the list goes on. As varied as my writing is, the inspiration for it is even more so. I might save a picture I find online that sparks a momentary thought, or capture an image of a person in the market that strikes a chord with me, or I might jot down one of life’s little moments that I witness on a daily basis. Sometimes, I sit down to write with a purpose and will go back to these images, these snapshots, these moments, and bring them together to create something new. Other times, I sit down without a real purpose, and let my fingers do the creating while my brain wanders. “The Wedding March” stemmed from a writing session where I didn’t sit down with a purpose, so I don’t know which images came together to inspire it; I do, however, know that certain memories of places (a church a family member was married in), and characteristics of people (the speech patterns of a partner) lent themselves to the writing, and helped fill it out even if they didn’t inspire the idea.
WOW: It's always interesting to hear about a writer's process. Switching gears, can you tell us what brought you to South Korea ? What’s it like being an English teacher there?
Kathryn: I've lead a pretty nomadic life for someone my age, and was lucky enough to have lived in places like the Middle East and England prior to going to Korea. Because of this, I was bitten (hard) by the travel bug at a pretty young age, and have always felt an itch in my feet to go somewhere new, meet new people, and experience new ways of living. Finishing up my final year of university, I wasn’t sure which direction my life was going to take; all I knew was that my life had to involve travelling, writing, and working with kids. Applying to be an ESL teacher in Korea was a great way to get started on two of those three things; and, as it turned out, on the third one too.
I always say that travelling to Korea simply as a tourist (without family or friends living there to show you around) isn’t a great idea, but that living there is something I would recommend to everybody. Korea is unique in the best way, and it was a country that you love as much for its daily quirks (being patted on the bus by older women, or drinking soju at a convenience store), as for the hidden beauty of its landscape (a breathtaking view from a mountain hidden behind an apartment building, or a white crane flying low over rice paddies beside the highway). Being an ESL teacher, especially for middle school students, can be a daily challenge, but it’s also very rewarding if you put in the effort, and let yourself become part of the people and the way of life. I often joke that I wouldn’t have traded even my worst students for anything in the world, and I still believe that. I felt at home in Korea, the country and its people welcomed me with open arms, and I left feeling happier, healthier, more whole, and like I had a finally found my feet.
WOW: A couple things you mention as things you do during your free time are visiting cat cafes, and drinking as many cups of tea as you can. So, what are cat cafes? And what are some of your favorite teas?
Kathryn: Cat cafes are perhaps the best discovery of all time (even before sliced bread), and are something that I really hope can make their way to Canada. Basically, a cat café is a café where you pay a set amount (about 8 dollars) for a coffee or tea, and then get to play with the cats that live at the café. Many cafés in where I lived were great because the cats that lived there were rescue animals and were up for adoption, so any person visiting could potentially take a cat home if they fell in love. There is nothing better than curling up with 6 cats on your lap…unless, of course, you also have a cup of tea with you!
Perhaps my favourite teas to do this with would be anything involving a green tea base, and a fruity taste blend. If you’re looking for some serious tea inspiration though, David’s Tea (a wonderful tea shop and café in Canada) has a great online store where you can pick through seasonal blends, create your own teas, and find a perfect cuppa. For me, the best ones would be a tea called “Kiwi’s Big Adventure” (a fruity green), “Buddha’s Blend” (a soothing green), and “Santa’s Secret” (a black tea with miniature candycanes in the mix!).
WOW: We're craving a cup of tea now! Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Kathryn. Before you go, can you share your favorite writing tip or advice with our readers?
Kathryn: It’s been my pleasure! Thank you for the wonderful questions that weren’t run-of-the-mill (and I mean that with complete sincerity).
I have 2 pieces of advice for any new or seasoned writer. The first would be to read Stephen King’s “On Writing”. The first half of the book is a wonderful biography of his writing journey, and the second half is what he calls the “Tool Kit”; it’s a compact list of all his tips & tricks of being a successful writer, whatever that means to you. If you’re not a fan of biographies or Stephen King, I’d still recommend that you buy the book and just read the Tool Kit, it was one of those things that ended up being covered in margin marks and sticky notes by the time I had finished devouring it.
The second piece of advice is simply this: Write. Write as often as you can, as much as you can, every day if you can. Some days the writing will come easily, some days you’ll have to pull the words out kicking, screaming, and demanding a lollipop the entire way. Whether the words come easy, or the words come hard though, you need to write. And, once you start, don’t stop.
For information about our quarterly Flash Fiction contest, visit our contest page.