Even after the fun of writing and illustrating a picture book, Kelley’s writing passion is for YA Fantasy, especially her current work in progress, Myra Graver: The Seven Mistakes. Myra was born in a prison quarry in the Halcyon Realm. She craves the outside world she’s never seen. As she challenges authority and risks losing her only friends, she finds information from her family’s past that could initiate the genocide of her entire race.
Kelley lives in Meridian, Idaho with her husband and two children. She is currently pursuing an English Writing degree at Boise State University. She is the owner of www.scribbleweed.com and enjoys using the website to connect with and promote new authors from around the globe. More examples of her writing can be found at www.kelleyhicken.com.
interview by Marcia Peterson
WOW: Congratulations on placing in the top ten in our Spring 2014 Flash Fiction competition! What inspired you to enter the contest?
Kelley: I have an insatiable love for tiny stories with gigantic emotional impact, which means I love reading and writing flash fiction. I have been challenging myself to jump out of my comfort zone this past year, and one of my goals was to get my work published by someone other than myself. I couldn't be more pleased to see my writing among the talented writers at WOW!
WOW: Can you tell us what encouraged the idea behind your entry, Caught? I have to say, I didn’t feel very well at the end!
Kelley: You're not alone; I didn't feel very well at the end of the story, either. In fact, I hesitated to submit it because it's dark, ugly, and completely unlikely. Although I am a foster/adoptive mom, this story in no way reflects my experience with my kids' biological mothers. The idea came from a mixture of a conversation with a brilliant brother-in-law and the "what if" questions I tend to ask myself when I am deliriously exhausted at 2:00 a.m. I aimed for something different than I've ever written before--something that would surprise and make my mom wonder if I need counseling. Ahem... Mission accomplished.
WOW: It's always interesting to learn how writers come up with their stories! You’re currently pursuing an English Writing degree. Could share a bit about that experience, and why you chose to pursue that path?
Kelley: Going back to school has been more difficult and fulfilling than I'd anticipated. Difficult because I feel like I'm constantly defending my decision against comments like, "You don't need a degree to write," or "Gee, it must be nice to send your kids to a babysitter twice a week." But, it has given me opportunities to reflect on why I am taking this on at this particular time in my life, even thought it is expensive, time consuming and requires my family to make some sacrifices.
It's not just about the degree or networking. Being an English major helps me dissect great literature and see why it works, study human nature and create more believable characters, practice the art of receiving critique graciously and confidently talk about my own writing. Most importantly, it shows my children that I'm willing to work hard to accomplish my dreams, and they can, too.
WOW: Such great reasons for you to pursue your goal. We wish you the best with your studies! As a busy mom and student, how do you find time to write? What works best for you?
Kelley: This is where I get to say that ugly word, unfortunately, I don't write often enough. Between my lack of time and focus due to contracting Mommy-itis, I uh.... what was I saying? I am drawn to flash fiction because it's short. I can plot an entire story during an episode of Curious George. I can write a first draft during nap time. I can revise while I'm waiting to pick up the kids in my carpool. Writing is how I re-charge, so I fit it in everywhere I can and it becomes a sort of game. It's fun to see the notebooks fill up with ideas.
WOW: Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Kelley. Before you go, can you share your favorite writing tip or advice with our readers?
Kelley: Hm... I think my favorite writing tip is to dabble in poetry. Not only do poetic devices work beautifully in all types of writing, but it strengthens sensory writing and brevity. Like flash fiction, it packs a huge amount of emotion into a tiny space.
Our Fall Flash Fiction Contest is OPEN
For information/entry, visit our contest page.