Meet Kip Wilson, Fall 2015 Flash Fiction Contest Runner Up
Read Kip's winning entry, Flight 6300, here and then come back for an engaging interview!
WOW: Welcome, Kip, and congratulations! Your bio says you have a passion for "books, languages, and travel." Where are some of the places you've traveled and what are your top three favorites?
Kip: I do love traveling. I have a Ph.D. in German Literature, and have spent a fair amount of time in the German-speaking world, including a year in Austria on a Fulbright. What a beautiful country! It is definitely one of my favorites. My husband is from Spain, which has some of the friendliest people I've ever met, and I can't forget Iceland, which just has something completely haunting about it.
WOW: What inspired the idea for Flight 6300?
Kip: Some ideas just hit you, and this story was like that for me. I had just woken up--and I get up at 5am every day--and could just see the boy and the peacock-haired girl piling on the plane with all their gear and somehow it seemed evident that they were part of a French class on a trip to Paris. This was my first attempt at flash fiction--I've had one short story published, but my other projects have all been novels--and it also seemed obvious that this was going to be a quick snippet into these lives for a very short time.
WOW: You are represented by Roseanne Wells of the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. How did you go about finding your agent?
Kip: Like most, through querying. All the details about getting my agent are here in this blog post (http://www.kipwilsonwrites.com/writing-news/), but even though I was able to improve my manuscript significantly after being selected in PitchWars (see below), I was a slush puppy for years, but along the way, I kept working on new projects, learning as much as I could, and always, always striving to improve.
WOW: You've participated (successfully, it sounds like!) in PitchWars in the past. For those who aren't familiar with it, can you give us a brief overview of what it is and how it can be beneficial to writers?
Kip: PitchWars is pretty much the best contest ever. Many writing contests are great in that they help writers polish up their queries and first pages, with the aim of getting the writers' work in front of agents, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. But PitchWars is truly unique in that it grants each writer a professional mentor for a thorough revision before those agents see the project. I was lucky enough to win Sarah Guillory (http://sarahguillory.com/) as my mentor in PitchWars 2014, and she not only gave me the tools I needed to polish my manuscript that ultimately helped me land an agent, but she also taught me practical writing tips I'm still using on other projects.
The thing about contests is that they work great if you keep your expectations in check. If you expect to nab an agent and a book deal right away, well, it might happen. But realistically, most projects actually need more work, and they take as long as they take. So if you wind up with an improved manuscript, new writing friends, and more tools at your disposal to continue to improve, then you've already "won."
WOW: As mom to 8-year-old twin girls, what are some of the books they've read recently that you would recommend in children's literature?
Kip: The very best thing about being a mom to twins is witnessing what unique people they are becoming, and that's already evident with my girls based on their book choices. I do bring a fair amount of books into the home because they won awards, they are diverse, or because I know the author. However, I also adore watching my girls in libraries and bookstores as they each gravitate to their own types of books that uniquely match their personalities. One of my girls reads a LOT (like 10 books a week--I'm not even kidding). She loves fantasy and historical, and one of her recent favorites was PAPER WISHES by Lois Sepahban (http://www.loissepahban.com/). She loved it so much that of course I read it right away, too. SO GOOD. My other girl prefers graphic novels and picture books. She doesn't read as much as her sister, but when she falls in love with a book, she drops everything. Right now, she is reading (and loving) ROLLER GIRL by Victoria Jamieson (http://www.victoriajamieson.com/books/), which is pretty much the perfect book for her personality.
Thanks for all the great insight, Kip! We look forward to reading more of your upcoming work.