Interview with Donna Landi: Summer 2015 Flash Fiction Contest Runner Up

Tuesday, March 01, 2016
Donna Landi is a life-long resident of the historic village of Sleepy Hollow, New York, depicted in Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the Tim Burton movie and the Fox TV show. Although the village isn’t the ominous place it’s made out to be, in the still of night, the distant clip-clop of horses can often be heard from her home located a block from where the beheaded man rode his steed. As a girl, she was certain it was the sound of the Headless Horseman. Today, the adult she has become says it’s impossible, but the child in her will forever wonder.

Donna started writing stories at age six, and with the encouragement of her first-grade teacher, wrote a play and cast her classmates as characters. In high school, she kept a journal, tried her hand at poetry, and had a poem published in Young America Sings. She regrets putting her writing aside to pursue a lengthy career in corporate management, but six years ago acknowledging that she’s always wanted to be a writer, she dusted off her creative side and honed her skills, studying fiction writing with the Long Ridge Writer’s Group. Her writing has appeared in The River Journal, a local publication serving the Hudson River Valley of New York, and In addition to writing, she loves to cook. She shares her life with Anthony, her husband of twenty-four years, who enjoys all the dishes she prepares while providing her with many story ideas. Trick or Treat, however, was inspired by her niece, Kimberly and her late sister, Pam, who Donna knows would be proud of her finally pursuing her dream.

If you haven't done so already, check out Donna's award-winning story "Trick or Treat" then return here for a chat with the author.

WOW: Congratulations on placing in the Summer 2015 Flash Fiction Contest! What was the inspiration for your short story, or what prompted you to write this particular story?

Donna; I wrote “Trick or Treat” because much of the flash fiction written today, although heartfelt, tends to be tragic or dark. I think readers need some humor to lighten up their days at a time when so many bad things happen in the world on a regular basis. “Trick or Treat” is based on a real incident that happened to my sister when her daughter was only three years old. My sister lost her battle to cancer at fifty-one years old, soon after my niece’s sixteenth birthday. I wanted to celebrate her life by writing about a happy time and not the darkness of her illness and death.

WOW: Thank you for sharing the happy memory with all of us and letting us enjoy the much-needed humor! Can you tell us more about your transition from corporate management back into creative writing? What prompted the shift?

Donna: Although successful in all the positions I’ve held in the corporate arena, at the end of the day something was missing—creativity. I have a fantastic imagination that wasn’t being exercised. When my fiftieth birthday approached, I enrolled in a writing course to refresh my skills. I now write every day.

WOW: That’s fantastic that you were able to recognize what was missing – and do something about it. What do you enjoy the most and/or the least about writing?

Donna: I enjoy writing because I can be anyone and anywhere through the characters I create without leaving my desk. However, as an emerging writer, when I see the credentials and accomplishments of other writers, I feel insignificant.

WOW: I don’t think you’re alone there, but hopefully you don’t let others’ accomplishments bog you down. What are you reading right now, and why did you choose to read it?

Donna: “A Christmas Wish” by Joseph Pittman is the book I am in the process of reading. I read a Christmas story every holiday season. I find it enhances my Christmas spirit.

WOW: What a lovely tradition! If you could give other creative writers one piece of advice, what would it be and why?

Donna: The more we write, the better we get at the craft. Practice makes perfect.

WOW: Anything else you’d like to add?

Donna: I’d like to thank everyone involved with selecting the winners for the Summer 2015 Flash Fiction Contest. The recognition has given me encouragement to continue sharing the stories I write.

WOW: Wonderful! We’re so happy you shared your story with us! Congratulations again, and happy writing.

Interviewed by Anne Greenawalt


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