Interview with Winter 2016 Flash Fiction Runner-Up, Nancy Hartney

Tuesday, August 02, 2016
We are pleased to welcome Nancy Hartney to The Muffin today. Nancy placed in our Winter 2016 contest with her entry, The Soldier and The Lady—a touching tale that reminds us that is the small things we do for each other that give our lives purpose.

Nancy Hartney has turned her pen to fiction. Washed in the Water: Tales from the South, her debut collection, earned The Ozarks Writers League Best Book of Fiction 2014 and their prestigious President’s Award.

Her short stories appear in Voices, Echoes of the Ozarks, Seven Hills Review, Cactus Country, Frontier Tales, and Rough Country.

She contributes equine news articles to The Chronicle of the Horse, Sidelines, and the Horsemen’s Roundup. Her book reviews have appeared in the Ft. Worth Star Telegram, motorcycle touring articles in American Iron, general interest pieces in the Northwest Arkansas Times, Ozark Mountaineer, and Flashback, a historical quarterly. You can connect with her at

Please take a moment to enjoy her entry, and return for short interview with this talented writer.

WOW: Congratulations, Nancy! It’s so nice to talk with you today. What draws you to short story?

Nancy: I like the form. It fits my life style and time constraints as both a reader and a writer. Having said that, I confess I am working on my first novel after two collections of short stories. I’m struggling. Weaving subplots into the main plot, developing more characters, and creating mounting action proves challenging for me.

WOW: You’re not alone! There are many of us right here that struggle with those same areas. That’s what WOW is all about—writers sharing techniques and cheering each other along! 

Nancy, your writing seems to focus on a sense of place—the feel of a geographical area or time. I sense there is a purpose to this. What is your motive, or what is it you want the reader to come away with?

Nancy: Geography and climate reflect and mold lifestyle, language, and the economy of a region, not only the South but other regions and countries as well. I grew up in the South and feel a passion for the folkways, traditions, and customs of the region. I try to convey the beauty of the region as well as the dark underbelly. For me, the region does become a character, a ‘player’ in the telling of a story.

WOW: What advice can you offer for writers who struggle with portraying dialect?

Nancy: That’s a tough one. Basically, every writer needs to develop a listening ear. Eaves drop in restaurants and malls, especially when traveling. Tune your ear to pick up the differences in casual conversation, formal gatherings, street language, mixed parties, and job-speak or workplace discussions. Carry a small notebook. Jot down phrases that catch your attention. Let your character(s) lead you. Keep any dialect to a minimum. Don’t try to convey accent.

WOW: How can a writer emotionally prepare herself for constructive feedback?

Nancy: My critique group helps immensely. I read and offer suggestions to other writers. They, in turn, read and evaluate my tales. When someone takes the time to read your work and offer a comment—good, indifferent, or not-so-good—listen. Feedback is a gift. Say ‘thank you.’ Later you can review comments and decide how to handle them in relation to your work.

WOW: What is the single, best advice you ever received?

Nancy: Write every day and when you are not writing, read.

WOW: Thank you, Nancy. We look forward to reading more from you!


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