Interview with Andrea Uptmor - Runner Up in the WOW! Flash Fiction Contest

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Andrea Uptmor's story, 500 Words About Sally Rincker, was such a fast-paced adrenaline rush of words and images, we had to get to know the woman behind the story. Here's what Andrea had to say:

WOW: We loved your experimental story -- I say experimental, because it was all one sentence! What inspired you to write this story?

Andrea: The prompt, of course! The image of the lost pom-pom, all faded and crinkled, was a powerful one. The rest of the narrative sort of worked backwards from there.

WOW: Have you written any other stories that are all one sentence?

Andrea: I have, actually, and I'm beginning to think it's because I drink so much coffee while I write. The text takes on a sort of jittery, caffeinated quality that appeals to me.

WOW: Well, it appeals to us too, as does your detail to description. You received the Union League of Arts & Civics Foundation 2006 Fiction Prize -- can you tell us about the foundation, and what you wrote to receive this prize?

Andrea: The Union League club of Chicago has a great annual contest for the city's young writers and musicians. I won the fiction competition for a short story called, "Hives." It's so important to encourage young writers to just keep doing what they're doing, and organizations like the Union League club can really make an impact.

WOW: Currently, you're finishing your Masters of Arts in Creative Writing at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL. We think that shows tremendous dedication. What do you plan to do after you get your degree?

Andrea: Good question! The very first thing I'm going to do is consolidate my student loans, peek at the final number, and faint.

WOW: LOL. Well, whatever you do, we know you'll be successful! You sure were up to the challenge of writing for the WOW! 2006 Flash Fiction Contest. What did you find most challenging about it?

Andrea: I've never worked from a prompt before, which is challenging in itself, because you've got to push yourself even harder to make your piece unique. If everyone's starting from the same point, how can you work with structure to make yours stand out?

WOW: Well, you definitely did that! Can you tell us what you're working on right now?

Andrea: I'm finishing my capstone project at Northwestern, a collection of short fiction.

WOW: Since you're majoring in creative writing, do you have any writing exercises that you can share with us?

Andrea: I love freewriting, especially if you can type quickly. If you can type fast, it closes the gap between your first inspiration and the hesitation that always comes afterwards. Just spit it out - fast!

WOW: Good advice. So, how has entering the WOW! contest been for you?

Andrea: Incredibly worthwhile. Thank you!

If you haven't done so already, check out Andrea Uptmor's short story: 500 Words About Sally Rincker

Since we talked to Andrea, she sent us this kind e-mail:

"Angela and Beryl,

Thank you so much for the box of gifts you sent! What an incredibly generous gesture. I am really looking forward to indulging in all of the prizes - especially Amy Tan's book. Thanks again for an amazing experience.

Andrea Uptmor
Flash Fiction Runner-Upper"

Your welcome Andrea. We look forward to reading more of your work in the future! Please keep us updated on all your projects. :-)


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