Interview with Jacqueline Allan: Fall 2012 Flash Fiction Runner-up

Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Today we’re chatting with Jacqueline Allan, one of our Fall 2012 Flash Fiction Contest winners. If you haven’t read her entry, Breakfast in Bed, please take a moment to enjoy it now and come back to meet this wonderful writer!

Jacqueline Allan lives in Melbourne, Australia with her two young children.

She has enjoyed a long and varied career in Arts Administration and has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Classical Literature from Monash University, Australia.

It was only after her youngest child started school however, that Jacqueline decided it was time to pursue further studies in order to fulfill her own long-held creative ambitions.

She has one more year to complete of a Professional Writing and Editing Diploma. Exploring a wide range of writing disciplines including Journalism, Creative Non-Fiction and Memoir, she always returns to Fiction, and the short story in particular, as her preferred genre of creative expression. She lists O Henry, W. Somerset Maugham and Katherine Mansfield as the heroes of the short story form.

Jacqueline was recently commended as a runner up in the 2012 Words with JAM (UK) Short Story Competition for her piece A Cautionary Tale of Love and Tissue Paper.

She is delighted and honored to be a finalist in this competition.

WOW: Good morning Jacqueline, congratulations on placing in the Fall 2101 Flash Fiction Contest! I enjoyed the little twist at the end of Breakfast in Bed; how did that come about?

Jacqueline: Well, thankfully it’s not based on personal experience. For the purpose of the story however, I liked the comic notion of this girl, riddled with guilt who actually gets pipped at the post with a revelation much greater than her own.

WOW: It is a fun story and did a wonderful job exploring her conflicting emotions!

Going back to school and pursuing a writing career can be a time-juggling nightmare for anyone—especially for those of us with children. What advice can you share with our busy mom-writers?

Jacqueline: It is very difficult, I can’t pretend that it isn’t, and I’m a sole parent and working as well. The best advice for any writer with children has to be this: Don’t neglect your children for the sake of your writing but … don’t neglect your writing either! It’s the eternal conundrum isn’t it? All about striking a balance and being organized to the nth degree.

WOW: Many writers decide to just jump in to writing with a meager amount of class time whereas you decided to go back to school. What are the benefits of continued education?

Jacqueline: I can only speak from personal experience but the benefit for me has been the discipline that a structured course can offer. I have also been very fortunate in the guidance offered by teachers and educators who have been incredibly encouraging in my writing pursuits and who have helped me discover what I’m good at. You can never stop learning and let’s face it: further studies in writing prepare you for the real world of Professional Writing, which is all about smooth delivery, discipline and deadlines.

WOW: You mentioned a love of fiction; what are the challenges to writing a flash piece?

Jacqueline: Obviously, economy of language and economy of action. In Flash Fiction a whole story needs to be told within a limited word count so what is not revealed needs to be implied I suppose. That’s the trick.

WOW: With a B.A. in classical literature and your current studies it sounds like you’re gearing up for something—what are your plans?

Jacqueline: I wish I knew but in the short term--finishing the Diploma. Securing work where my writing skills are of use and permit me some creativity as well, that would be terrific. But I love writing short fiction and I’ll simply continue entering competitions so all my thanks to WOW for this opportunity and recognition.

WOW: We hope to see you in our future Flash Fiction Contests!

Interview by Robyn Chausse


Margo Dill said...

Congratulations, Jacqueline! I admire your determination to go to school, work, and parent your children on your own. WOW! What an inspiration. :) Continued success to you.

Marcia Peterson said...

Congratulations on placing in the top ten. Though you have a lot going on, you seem to be juggling it all well!

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