Spring '10 Contest Interview with Angelica R Jackson, 3rd place winner

Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Muffin readers, you're in for a treat. Today, we're going to get to know more about our third place winner in the Spring 2010 Flash Fiction contest, Angelica R. Jackson of Shingle Springs, California. If you haven't had the opportunity to read Angelica's story, Ebb Tide, head over to WOW! and give it a perusal.

As a child, Angelica spent moving around southern California and attended nine different schools by the time she graduated from high school. Angelica eventually settled in the Sacramento area during the 1990s. Writing has been a constant in her life, and she reports she supplemented her writing with positions as a bookstore clerk, a photographer, and a storyteller.

Angelica has published articles on a variety of topics, including gardening, natural history, web design travel. hiking and local history. She also enjoys reading, green living, and cooking for food allergies. Ongoing projects include short fiction, poetry, a YA historical novel, art photography, and children's picture books.

WOW: Welcome, Angelica. Congratulations on earning third place honors in our Spring 2010 writing contest. I've won journalism awards but never won any fiction writing contests. So, tell me, how does it feel?

Angelica: I've entered contests before, but this is the first one where my story got any kind of recognition, so it's quite a thrill! I've been working on once novel, and just started another, so it was nice to know I hadn't lost my short fiction mojo.

WOW: That's great! Keeping a writer's rhythm is so important. The first element of your story, Ebb Tide, that stood out was the use of a diary entry. It seems like a natural fit for flash fiction.

Angelica: I genuinely didn't know it would work so well until I tried it, with a little nudge from a writer's prompt. The challenge was to write a letter or diary entry in 500 words or less.

This character popped into my head as a girl that was labeled autistic, mainly because that diagnosis was easier for others to accept than the real reason for her aversion to touch. I wanted to keep her voice just a little bit awkward, and a therapy diary seemed the perfect way to emphasize that. It's also interesting to me that because it's in the format of a therapy diary, I get mixed reactions on whether her powers are real or just a powerful delusion. I try to avoid giving a definitive answer when asked.

WOW: I wondered the same thing (and I'm glad I didn't ask)! :) Details play such an important role in flash fiction. As a photographer, do you find the craft has helped sharpen your storytelling skills, whether through the lens or on the page?

Angelica: Some of my favorite photos that I've taken are all about the details, or a different point of view, and that definitely carries over into my writing. I try to make my stories very sensory - there are lots of mentions of food and smells in my novels - and word pictures are just part of that.

I've also experienced, both in photography classes and writing classes, how a roomful of people can be given the exact same assignment and come up with such widely varied results. I think that's one of the insights that makes me feel more part of a writing community, rather than in competition with other writers. Ironic words, I know, coming in response to placing in a writing competition!

WOW: I think your view makes sense: writers share a common bond. Winning is just gold-foil lettering on the leather bound book. :) Your writing background is so varied. Do you find your approach different when you write non-fiction?

Angelica: Non-fiction comes a little easier to me than fiction, but that's not to say it's effortless. For both types of writing, I tend to do a ton of research. I'm one of those obsessive writers that actually finds it hard to stop researching a subject, because there are so many interesting tangents I want to indulge.

So even short articles will have pages of accompanying notes that may or may not make it into the finished piece but could be recycled into, or inspire, another article later.

WOW: Sounds like you and I share similar writing and researching philosophies. Writing is an ongoing process. What projects are you currently working on, Angelica?

Angelica: I just stared the sequel to my first novel; both are set in the 1850s and, like "Ebb Tide" they have a supernatural twist to them. I had no plans to do a sequel immediately, but a wonderful villain came to me, along with a great plot twist, and how could I just send him packing?

I also write poetry, so I plan to squeeze some poems in between picture book projects and more non-fiction pieces. One of my short stories, "Hornworms," was recently published in Hunger Mountain and has gotten such a good response that I may pick up with those sisters and do a collection of related short pieces.

WOW: Ambitious! It seems like you have plenty of writing projects to keep you busy. If readers want to learn more about you and your work, where can they locate you online?

Angelica: I try to post to my blog at http://angelicarjackson.blogspot.com regularly, and that's become another challenging writing venue, just to keep up with that.

WOW: Again, congratulations on placing in WOW!s contest. Readers, make sure to check out Ebb Tide.

Interview conducted by LuAnn Schindler. To read more of LuAnn's work, check out The Muffin or her website, http://luannschindler.com.


Maria said...


I recently compiled a list of the Top 25 Creative Writing blogs for students, and I just wanted to let you know that you made the list! It
is published online at http://www.onlinedegrees.org/top-25-creative-writing-blogs-for-students/.

Thanks so much, and if you think your audience would find useful information in the list or on the site, please feel free to share the
link. The blog is just starting up, so we always appreciate a link back as we're trying to increase readership.

Thanks again, and have a great day!


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