Sarah White usually writes poetry, but has been venturing out into the world of fiction. She holds a B.A. in English Literature from Arizona State University and is contemplating returning to school to pursue an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. She enjoys reading, shopping for vintage items, watching horror films and drinking far too much Diet Coke. She currently lives in Mesa, AZ.
interview by Marcia Peterson
WOW: Congratulations on your first place win in our Winter 2012 Flash Fiction competition! What inspired you to enter the contest?
Sarah: I had entered a WOW flash fiction contest in the past and made it past the first round of judging. I figured that I should try again.
WOW: You figured right! Can you tell us what encouraged the idea behind your story, Why I Am Named After My Mother’s Sister ?
Sarah: The story actually stemmed from a poem I had written and some family history and myths. I am actually named after my Grandmother's little sister who passed away at a young age. I wanted to explore how Sarah's death could have affected my Grandmother's life and for simplicity I made the "I" the daughter instead of the granddaughter. I had tried to address this in poem format but it wasn't working, I suppose it needed to be housed in a story. The image of the apple seed in the hand originated from that poem. The idea of the ghost visiting the mother came from a family tale. Apparently, one of my grandmother's sisters swears she saw Sarah's ghost walk past a window a few days after the funeral. Who knows if it actually happened, but either way the girls were "haunted" by their sister's absence.
WOW: It's always interesting to hear about the origin of a good story. What do you enjoy about flash fiction writing versus the other kinds of writing that you do?
Sarah: I usually write poetry so writing fiction often times seems daunting to me. Flash fiction acts as a way for me to transition into fiction more seamlessly, the compactness is comforting to me, yet also challenging. I love that challenge of developing a whole story in such limited space but also I'm so used to exploring a concept in the length of a poem that expanding out to 250 - 750 words also is a stretch for me.
WOW: We’d love to know more about your writing routines. Could you tell us when and where you usually write? Is your favorite drink, Diet Coke, part of the process?
Sarah: I don't have any certain routine, which is something I maybe should adopt. I have been taking some writing courses at my local community college and being assigned a deadline for a project helps to keep me on track and actually sit down and write. I usually write in bed or while reclining on my couch at any hour of the day, but usually in the evenings. Concerning the Diet Coke, I can't function without it much less write!
WOW: In your bio you mention the possibility of returning to school to pursue an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Has it been hard to make a decision in that regard?
Sarah: It has been difficult, mostly because I'm still on the fence about the pros and cons of pursuing the degree. I know people who have graduated with MFA degrees and end up working jobs similar to what I currently do, pushing papers around in an office and still remain unpublished. On the other hand, to dedicate two or three years to just writing would be a fantastic luxury and who knows what one could produce. I haven't reached the point where I feel that if I didn't go back to school I'd regret it though.
WOW: I can see both sides of the argument. Good luck deciding what's best for you, and thanks so much for chatting with us today, Sarah! Before you go, do you have any tips for our readers who may be thinking about entering writing contests?
Sarah: Take a chance and enter, you may be very pleasantly surprised!
Join us on Tuesdays for more interviews with WOW! contest winners!
The Summer 2012 Flash Fiction Contest is OPEN