Interview with Caroline Trent-Gurbuz, First Place Winner in Our Winter 2011 Flash Fiction Contest!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Caroline Trent-Gurbuz is a journalist by trade, but a fiction writer by passion. She graduated from Drake University with degrees in music and international relations, and she just completed her Master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. In her free time, she loves to read anything she can get her hands on. She maintains a home base in Kansas City, Missouri, but is currently traipsing around Turkey for the next few months with her husband. To read more of her stories, please visit

interview by Marcia Peterson

WOW: Congratulations on winning first place in our Winter 2011 writing contest! What inspired you to enter the contest?

Caroline: Thank you! It has always been my dream to be a writer, but I felt like I needed to get some experience with smaller-form stories before I could try to write longer narrative pieces. I was researching writing contests and came across WOW! Women on Writing. I read the works by past winners, which were so well written, and I thought, “Well, I could certainly try!” If nothing else, I thought I would enter just to get a critique of my writing. I was completely surprised to get first place, especially because “Other and Together” is my first flash fiction story.

WOW: What a great first effort! Can you tell us what encouraged the idea behind your story?

Caroline: After reading the stories by past winners, I thought that they had some touching or moving element to them. It also happened that I had just completed a survey about deaf culture for a friend studying ASL interpretation and linguistics.

WOW: Have you always enjoyed the genre, and how did you learn to write great flash fiction?

Caroline: I only recently stumbled upon flash fiction, and I love it. At this point, I’m still building up the endurance to write longer stories, so flash fiction is perfect.

Before entering WOW! Women on Writing’s contest, I read flash fiction stories at online publications and researched the elements of a good flash story. Now I’m trying to do the same with short stories; hopefully, I’ll eventually be able to move up to novels!
WOW: Sounds like a good plan! Since you recently completed your master’s degree in journalism, maybe you could share a bit about that experience, and why you chose to pursue that path.
Caroline: I like to write, but I felt that it wouldn’t be possible to have a stable career with creative writing. Journalism seemed like the next best thing: I could still write and have a steady job. I also love grammar, and I hope to be a copy editor in the future.

WOW: Like many writers, you mention reading as a favorite activity. Any recent favorites you can recommend? What’s next on your reading list?

Caroline: Because I’m in Turkey, it can be hard to find English-language books that aren’t overpriced. Most of my books are from book stalls, and I have a few friends here with whom I swap reading material. I recently read Robert B. Parker’s School Days and Pam Jenoff’s Kommandant’s Girl, and I’m currently reading D.W. Buffa’s Trial by Fire; it’s a slower-paced novel, but it takes a philosophical look at how the media can jeopardize a defendant’s right to a fair trial. For my next reads, I’m waiting for Live Wire by Harlan Coben and Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts to come to Turkey; I wish they would hurry up and get here already!
WOW: Great book recommendations, thanks. We’d love to hear about your months-long trip to Turkey with your husband. What made you decide to go there, and what is it like?

Caroline: My husband is Turkish, so we came here to visit his family. We’re currently in Cesme, a small city on the coast of the Aegean. It’s wonderful! We are also hoping to move to Istanbulin the future. Turkeyis a great country, and everyone here is very hospitable. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to take a vacation.

WOW: I’m sure you’re enticing many readers to come visit. Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Caroline! Before you go, do you have any tips for our readers who may be thinking about entering writing contests?
Caroline: Enter as many as you can. You might lose or get rejected, but there’s always the chance that you’ll get that one win. Don’t take the losses too seriously and keep moving on to the next contest or call for submission. Good luck!

Come back and join us on Tuesdays for more contest winner interviews!

The Summer 2011 Flash Fiction Contest is OPEN


Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Great interview. Congratulations on your first place win.

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