Jennifer Daniels, Runner Up

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

When I scanned the titles of our Flash Fiction Contest, June Bugs N' Ice Cream stood out and practically begged me to read it. Naturally I did and enjoyed the story immensely. I had the chance to chat with Jennifer about her writing and just had to ask...

What inspired your contest entry, June Bugs N' Ice Cream?

Jennifer: I used to live in a duplex and the neighbors on the other side of us were the characters in my story. They were a broken family with much hardship and I always wanted to help them. We were just getting started out ourselves so I could only offer my time to the children when I'd see them outside. I always wanted to do something more. I just carried that with me as the years went by.

WOW: Tracy did a happy dance and embarrassed her kids when she got the good news. What was your reaction to placing in the top ten?

Jennifer: Well, I was waiting on the edge of my seat to see who the winners would be! I kept checking the WOW! website and this may sound silly, but when I saw my name I got a feeling inside that you just don't get too many times in this life. It really meant so much to me! I know I put my whole heart into that little piece so I felt really validated. There really is something to be said about writing from your heart.

WOW: Not silly at all! There's nothing like knowing your writing touched someone else. Do you find it easy to write flash fiction or do you prefer longer pieces?

Jennifer: I prefer both. But I like having a prompt on the flash fiction. I like the challenge. I was nearing 2000 words when I initially finished June Bugs N' Ice Cream. When it came down to whittling the piece to 500 words, I cringed. I didn't want to sacrifice the integrity of the story by taking out certain sentences. But in the end it actually helped. All the extra fluff was taken out and I can assure you that in the very end there wasn't an unneeded word in there! For me, a flash fiction assignment is like tough love. It takes discipline, but in the long run, a crisper story is told.

WOW! Wow! That was some editing. You did a great job. What do you like to read and do you have a favorite genre you like to write?

Jennifer: I read non-fiction mostly. Stories of survival. Biographies and memoirs. Even old cookbooks and Civil War diaries. But every now and then my sister will give me a book I absolutely must read. One time she lent me The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. But after that, I usually go back to a real life survival stories like Adrift, 76-Days Lost at Sea by Steven Callahan or Alive by Piers Paul Read.

I like to write true life funny quips that make people laugh. I like to be pretty candid with my writing without going overboard. I like to write so that it grabs the reader and makes them see exactly what I am trying to say.

WOW: That's an interesting mix of reading. Who would you say your favorite authors are?

Jennifer: I have always enjoyed John Updike. His writings are amazing. The way he writes, it just grabs you. My mother and sister are constantly gobbling up piles and piles books from recent best selling authors. But for some reason, I have a tendency to steer away from the mainstream. I venture off the beaten path and peck around for interesting non fiction. Right now I am reading Joy Hakim's book Freedom, A History of US. I also like Jon Krakauer's writings (Into Thin Air & Into the Wild). I do enjoy classics. Upton Sinclair is someone whose works I would like to read more of. And, Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie is my favorite book on the planet. If by some crazy chance you haven't read it, I'd strongly encourage you to go out and get it!

WOW: Sounds like a wonderful read. I'll have to go find it now. :-) What one piece of advice would you give other writers?

Jennifer: Write about things and experiences from your own life. Things that have struck a chord in your heart. Draw from those experiences. Because if it happened, it's truth and authentic. You never run out of reality so you'll have a hard time getting writers block that way. The old man you met when you were 7 years old can help paint a powerful paragraph.

WOW: Do you have someone to bounce ideas off of or brainstorm with?
Jennifer: My husband. Hands down, he is my biggest encourager. Thanks, Alex!

WOW: May is all about self-promotion at WOW! Tell us about your work in progress. If you have any:-)

Jennifer: Actually, I am finding tremendous satisfaction writing in my blog at the moment. To be able to share my writings, no matter how small in Cyberspace means there is a chance that somebody somewhere could possibly be touched by them. I would hope this, at least. As most writers can attest, I don't write out of boredom, I write because I have a need to write. It gives me joy and peace, such satisfaction. You could almost say it's selfish, but if you are giving of yourself in your writing, how can that be? Also, I am working on a memoir of the precious childhood my parents gave to me.

WOW: Thanks so much for sharing a bit of yourself with us. In your writing and here now. All of us at WOW! wish you the best with your writing. Anything you'd like to add?

Jennifer: Yes, of course. I would like to thank you, Jean for the opportunity to share my thoughts on such things. Great questions! And thank you to Angela and Beryl. I was surprised at how personable they are, especially through email. What very nice people! Lastly, a BIG thank you to Betsy Gallup, the guest judge for liking what I wrote. I'm just a girl who likes to write. To be interviewed by such pro's, well, all I can say is ..."WOW", no pun intended!


Doggy Duty Diva said...

Great interview Jennifer! I love your style and your story was my joy and pleasure to read. The title is catchy! It sure would make a great title for a collection of short stories. *wink, wink*

You go girl!


Improv Story said...

Thanx, Tracy!!! hmmmm, you may be on to something (tapping fingers)...*Big Smile*


WOW! said...

Thank you, Tracy. We feed off such kind words. We are blessed to have writers like you, with heart and talent, that have made the contest such a joy...every entry!

It is a great story and thoran has good advice for you. Go get 'em; and let us know of your succcesses.

Sue said...

What a wonderful, lighthearted story. I really needed to be cheered up and your words succeeded! Thanks you, and good luck with all that follows!

Improv Story said...

Not sure if you were writing that to me or Tracy, but either way, I'll take it and run with it,too lol. Thanks again (*Big Smile*)

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