Meet Fall Flash Fiction Contest Runner Up Karla M. Jay, Author of "The Thaw"

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Karla M. Jay is a runner up in the WOW! Women on Writing Fall Flash Fiction Contest with the very touching story The Thaw. Karla M. Jay introduced us to her protagonist Marleigh Benning in her debut novel, Speaking in Tungs, May 2015. Speak of the Devil, published May 2016, is the sequel to Speaking in Tungs. Raised in Western New York and Northern Pennsylvania, Karla M. Jay has worked as a speech pathologist since 1982. When she is not home in Utah gardening or writing, she is traveling, trying to see as many countries as possible—in particular, those with good coffee, ancient history, and great beaches. Find her at or on Facebook at

Interview by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

WOW: Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule for today's interview. Congratulations again on your many accomplishments but most recently as a runner up in the WOW! Fall Flash Fiction Contest! The Thaw seems like a very personal look into a very real life. Do you care to share where the story or idea came from and/or which parts of it mirror your own reality?

KARLA: When I was in high school, in Northern, Pa., a friend and I found a frozen waterfall on her parents' property. We were able to squeeze inside, staying dry with the water rushing around us, which was a very cool (pun intended) experience. That stuck with me all these years. I turned it into a story I felt many families could relate to; the disintegration of sibling relationships as life shapes them into adulthood.

WOW: As an only child this is sort of new to me, but as a soon to be mother of 5, I'm hoping my children will have relationships into adulthood. Thank you for giving me an interesting look into such relationships.

What role do flash fiction pieces play in your writing life? Do you have advice for other authors as far as contests and flash fiction pieces are concerned?

KARLA: I took this contest on as a challenge since I always think in novel-length stories. It's HARD to tell a story under 750 words but now I know I can. I highly encourage all novelists to write short stories and flash fiction pieces and to enter contests. It's a win/win experience. You stretch your writing talents and possibly win something!

WOW: 750 words sounds simple until you start writing, doesn't it? That's how I first found WOW! too - these contests are fun, but they aren't as easy as one might think!

Many authors struggle with time management. That does not seem the case for you as you are working on your 4th novel. What is the key to your success and what advice would you pass onto others who may find time management and writing to be a challenge?

KARLA: I treat my writing like a second job. I work full-time and I have a life like everyone else, so I have to be selfish with the time I schedule for writing. It's mostly on the weekends but I squeeze in an hour or two some mornings. I also have learned, and this only took fifteen years, to write the first draft without going back to fuss or edit everything I wrote the day before. Believe me—it moves a lot faster that way. My biggest challenge is when the weather turns nice and then I have to fight the urge to be outside.

WOW: Speaking of the outside...and warmer weather, you are passionate about gardening as well as writing; do you find they tie in well with each other? Do many of your writing ideas come while gardening? What advice would you give to other writers who haven't yet found that perfect place for inspiration?

KARLA: I do love gardening and it is THE siren call that lures me away from writing. So, I use it to plot and play with new ideas for the next part of the book I'm working on. My love for dirt and nature come through in my stories, I think. Gardening is not for everyone, but I find that walking alone, sitting in a park or wandering through a bookstore also work.

WOW:  Speaking in Tungs was not the first book you wrote - what ever happened to that first book
Grasshopper Soup?

KARLA: Oh, my. I spent ten years writing and rewriting Grasshopper Soup. Lesson learned. Stop pitching after a year and move on! I love that story, especially since I interviewed men who had survived the Bataan Death March as I was writing it. I need to rewrite the manuscript since my writing has grown up all these years later, but I will get it out!

WOW: Sounds like exciting things are in store for you in the future as well! I have a feeling WOW! readers will be hearing from you again (maybe even this fall...wink wink). Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Karla! Congratulations again on The Thaw and best wishes to you all your future projects!

Our Spring Flash Fiction Contest is OPEN
For details and entry, visit our contest page.


Angela Mackintosh said...

Wonderful interview, ladies! Karla, I love your story and the message behind it. I'm an only child like Crystal, but I've seen the disintegration of sibling relationships in my husband's family, so your story rings true to me. And the setting is a perfect backdrop for your story. Great job on this piece. :)

I hope you do get Grasshopper Soup published! It sounds like a powerful story and one that you're very passionate about. I love your perseverance! Writers can definitely learn from that.

Crystal ~ I didn't know you found WOW through the flash contest! :)

Crystal Otto said...

These interviews are always so much fun and each time one is published I say "this is my favorite one!"

thank you Karla for being such a passionate writer and human!


Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top