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Tuesday, August 16, 2016


Interview with 2016 Winter Flash Fiction Runner-Up, Catharine Fitton

For a writer, inspiration can come from many places--from a news story, observing a crowded busy street, or, in the case of Catharine's Fitton's entry, The Shower, after a scary accident in your own home.

Catharine Fitton lives in Toronto with her partner, her son, Jack, and her pug, Digger. A high school English teacher for fifteen years, she recently switched to a writing career. The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper, published her essay, “Victory of little big horn” about her son and his tuba. The Alice Munro Short Story contest 2016 named her a top ten finalist for her story “Margaret and Mary”. She has a B.A. from the University of Toronto and takes creative writing classes at its School of Continuing Studies. For her Master’s degree from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, she wrote her thesis on her favourite novel, Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. Catharine is busy editing the manuscript of her first novel, The Brother. Travelling the world with her family is her other passion, and their adventures often inspire her writing. Recent trips included Galapagos Islands, Iceland, and Greenland. You can find her on Twitter @cfitton28.

WOW: First off, I have to tell you your story reminded me of an old episode of "Dateline" I saw recently, where a physician was accused of murdering his wife, who he found dead in the shower. Of course, he claimed innocence, but he had moved his wife to their bedroom after finding her in the shower, which threw suspicion on him. Did that story happen to inspire this piece or did it come to you another way? 

Catharine: In January of this year, my partner slipped and fell in the shower. She hit her head and broke her arm. A few days later, when her arm was in a cast and she was, otherwise, fine, I started to think about writing a story focused on a fall in the shower, but with a sinister side to it.

WOW: Oh, wow, that's scary. I'm glad she's okay! You recently left your position as a high school English teacher. I would love to know which authors you enjoyed teaching the most and which books/short stories seemed to resonate with your students.

Catharine: I taught Shakespeare’s play Hamlet many times over the years and never tired of it. Teaching horror stories by Edgar Allan Poe was always fun. Introducing students to the poems of Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, and Elizabeth Bishop was another highlight.

Truth and Bright Water by Thomas King, a coming-of-age story set on a reserve on the Canadian-American border, seemed to resonate with my students. They also enjoyed Such a Long Journey by Rohinton Mistry and Arranged Marriage by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.

WOW: I still have fond memories of all the great literature I read in high school--what a treat to  hear some of your favorites. What were some of the main points you discussed in your master's thesis for "Jane Eyre"?

My Master’s thesis, completed at the University of Glasgow, examined the critical history of Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre, from the time of its first publication in 1847 to the present. I focused on the critical responses to her treatment of gender and female sexuality. Beliefs about female sexuality have undergone constant change through time, and I tried to show how these changes affected interpretations of the novel.

WOW: Sounds like a great topic for a thesis! Switching back to your own fiction, can you tell us a little about the manuscript you're working on, "The Brother"?

Here is a brief synopsis of my women’s fiction novel The Brother: When Erin first meets Mark, a talented heart surgeon, she thinks he’s an arrogant womanizer. But then he saves her mother’s life. Now, Erin is convinced that Mark is THE ONE. The only problem is, her friend Fiona met him first. The problem is solved when Erin starts dating THE OTHER ONE, Mark’s brother, Oliver. The foursome double date, and everyone is happy. Until Erin has sex with Mark. Twice. If Fiona and Oliver find out, she could lose them both. She juggles the roles of faithful friend, loving girlfriend, and secret lover. But troubling emotions, like jealousy and guilt, keep getting in the way. The obvious fix is to choose ONE BROTHER. But which ONE?

WOW: Sounds like a juicy story! When you're not busy writing, it looks you've travelled extensively with your family. What are some destinations that are on your bucket list?

I’ve explored places within the Arctic Circle, like Alaska, Iceland, Greenland, and Norway. In the future, I’d like to travel to more destinations south of the equator, such as Patagonia (Chile and Argentina), Easter Island, (Chile), Machu Picchu, (Peru), and Antarctica.

WOW: Thank you so much for stopping by today. We can't wait to hear where your writing projects and travels take you next!

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