Interview With Fall 2013 Flash Fiction Contest Third Place Winner, Kim Briggs

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
I am very excited to have been the one to chat with our third place winner, Kim Briggs, in the 2013 Fall Flash Fiction Contest. Her gripping story, Deadly Cocktail, held me captive from beginning to end. And she’s got some wonderful insight and advice for you Young Adult/New Adult writers out there. If you haven’t read her story yet, check it out here then come on back for our interview. This is one you don’t want to miss!

It took Kim a double Bachelors, a Masters, three kids, and a house full of laundry before she realized what she really wanted to be when she grew up: a writer.

Kim finds time to write in the early mornings, late nights, and stolen moments throughout the day. She survives on soy chai lattes and dark chocolate, lots of dark chocolate.

Kim is the CO-Regional Advisor to SCBWI Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter. Through SCBWI, she met her writing group, Ink Sisters. The Sisters destruct plot and kill characters all the while cracking her up. Kim’s family gives her the courage to survive the crazy world of publishing.

Chat with her on twitter: @KimBriggs_Write

Check her out at: All Things YA and NA

WOW: Congratulations on placing third in our 2013 Fall Flash Fiction contest! Let’s start with you giving us a peek into your background.

KIM: It all began with the chicken pox. Back when getting the chicken pox was a rite of passage for every child, the red itchy bumps surfaced on my body and forced me into temporary exile. While banished from the third grade, I met my dear friends, Wilbur, Charlotte, and Templeton. Of course, I’m referring to Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, my first endeavor into the world of chapter books. From that point on, I was hooked on reading and knew someday I would be a writer. During my school years, I spent a lot of time staring out classroom windows or doodling in a notebook, trying to figure out the ending to a story I was working on. Bits and pieces of paper became home to many unfinished tales.

Most of my youth and much of my twenties and thirties were spent in constant forward motion. I graduated college with a Bachelor of Science double major in Environmental Studies and Environmental Planning and worked in that field for a while, but I quickly realized something was missing. Given my love for reading and writing, I decided to go to graduate school and become a high school English Teacher. I loved the challenge of teaching and inspiring future generations to read and write, but still, something was missing. After the birth of my son, I stayed home to raise my young family. In 2009, following the birth of my second daughter, I read the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer, and I had my AH-HA! moment.

The night before Thanksgiving 2009, my husband bought me my first laptop. I wrote late into the night. I finally found what I was missing.

WOW: What an amazing background! And Charlotte’s Web is still one of my personal favorites. Which genres are you most interested in and why?

KIM: I tend to write in a Young Adult voice. It comes naturally. Not sure why. Maybe I never grew up. Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment and want to repeat my same mistakes over and over again. Maybe I remember what it's like to be young and free and full of possibility.

High School is all about firsts. First boyfriend, first kiss, first job, first car... It is amazing and terrifying, beautiful and tragic.

That’s why I write YA, but I also write New Adult (NA) too. New Adult allows more freedom in content. Alcohol, sex, and evil combine in all the right ways to create a story I would not write for a YA audience. My NA thriller, And Then He, turns an innocent night of flirting with a handsome stranger at a high school reunion into a nightmare Tiffany can’t escape.

I also love to write Picture Books. They are loads of fun to create, and a nice break from long works of fiction. I haven’t submitted any of my PBs yet.

A few middle grade ideas storm around in my brain, begging me to write, but there’s only one of me and twenty-four hours in a day... So, yeah, I love to write for any age, except adult, I’m not ready to grow up yet.

Oh, wait, you asked what genre I write? I consider myself a chameleon. I write whatever genre strikes my fancy. Thriller, contemporary, fantasy, paranormal romance—I love it all.

WOW: I love your reason for not writing adult books. LOL! I am the same way. The MG/YA/NA genres are right up my alley and I plan to stay there too. Now, as I mentioned earlier, you placed third in our 2013 Fall Flash Fiction contest! Please tell us about your story, Deadly Cocktail, and how it came to be.

KIM: Thank you. I was so EXCITED whenever I got an email that congratulated me on making it to the next round of the contest, and then when I placed third?!?! Yeah, that was BIG—a major confidence builder.

Each day, thousands of females are put in desperate, compromising situations, filled with horrifying acts of violence. Some victims go to counseling and get the help they need. Others live among us and it’s their random acts of unexplainable behavior that hint at the nightmare they lived or continue to live every day. Dark, yes. Reality, absolututely.

I wanted to turn the victim into something more, something we all imagine doing to an assailant, who takes what isn’t theirs.

Deadly Cocktail began on a scrap piece of paper seven or eight years ago. This past fall, a writer friend of mine, G.G. Silverman revealed her new website, and I discovered she won WOW’s Flash Fiction contest in the summer of 2012, and I thought, “Hmm, maybe I’ll give it a go,” and Deadly Cocktail was reborn.

WOW: I think it was an amazing story. I actually cheered out loud at the end. LOL Can you please give our readers a few tips on what makes a great short story?

KIM: Adults often forget what it’s like to be a teenager, to be young and full of possibility, to make mistakes, and to be in love. Place yourself in someone else’s shoes if it’s too hard to remember what yours felt like.

Make every word count. A work doesn’t need to be 5,000 words. The last short story I wrote was 300 words. Create a snapshot of a scene your reader can see, hear, smell, touch, and feel.

Rewrite. Rework. Recharge whenever you get stuck. See below for pearls of wisdom.

WOW: Excellent advice. Before we let you go today, I would love it if you could share your writing pearls of wisdom with our readers.

KIM: Write and read every day.

Take brain dumps. Exercise. Get the heart pumping to clear out the cobwebs.

Protect your writing time like a ninja. The laundry, the dust bunnies, and the dishwasher can wait.

Join a critique group. My Ink Sisters keep me focused and make me laugh, especially when I want to cry.

Join SCBWI, RWA, SFWA, or whatever group fits your genre. Become involved. Organizations provide invaluable resources and networking opportunities you can’t find anywhere else.

Work hard and be persistent. Rejection is a part of life. Accept it and move on. Kate DiCamillo received almost 400 rejection letters. Lesson learned? KEEP GOING!!

Celebrate your small successes and tell me about them on my blog, All Things YA and NA I will happy dance with you!!

Write on,
Kim Briggs

WOW: Thank you so much for being here today, Kim. I’m sure your advice and tips will prove useful to many of our authors and writers out there. Good luck on getting published and congratulations again on placing in our contest. We look forward to seeing more of your work.


GG_Silverman said...

Congrats, Kim! So proud of you!

KB/KIM said...

Thanks G.G.:) You inspired me!

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