Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Interview with Candace Armstrong: Spring 2017 Flash Fiction Contest Runner Up
Candace Armstrong loves to write in the beautiful woodlands of Southern Illinois. Her poetry sometimes becomes prose, and her poetry has been published in The Lyric, Midwest Review, Journal of Modern Poetry, California Quarterly and Dream Quest One, among others, and has recently been selected as a winner in the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest.
Her prose has appeared in The Muse and Diverse Voices Quarterly, and is one of the eight winners in a Master Class contest to be published as an e-zine soon. She is currently finishing a novel and seeking representation for it.
Formerly in corporate business management, she earned a BA in Business Management from National Louis University and several professional designations. She has taken fiction workshops and classes at the University of Iowa, College of Charleston and others, including WOW Women on Writing.
Now she has relocated to the country where she writes, reads, welcomes her children and their families, gardens, cooks and takes hikes with her husband and their canine child, Murphy. Her website is a work-in-progress at www.candacearmstrongwriter.com.
If you haven't done so already, check out Candace's award-winning story "Chance" and then return here for a chat with the author.
WOW: Congratulations on placing in the WOW! Spring 2017 Flash Fiction Contest! What was the inspiration for your short story, or what prompted you to write it?
Candace: The inspiration for my story, “Chance,” was a Labor Day carnival outing with our two very young grandsons. It was blisteringly hot, but the boys were oblivious because they wanted to ride everything they could, numerous times. While we adults stood around watching them, I noticed some of the “carnies” and wondered what their lives were like. Later, I imagined their relationships, names and circumstances. By the way, both boys were sound asleep in the car on the way home.
WOW: Thank you for sharing that! People watching can be a great source of artistic inspiration. What do you enjoy the most and/or the least about writing?
Candace: I enjoy the creative imagining of stories, and I also love the process of putting words on paper. I even like revising. The only thing I don’t really like is marketing, or receiving rejections!
WOW: I hear you! I suppose receiving rejections is all part of the process. What are you reading right now, and why did you choose to read it?
Candace: Only a day ago I finished reading Alena by Rachel Pastan. I was fortunate enough to take a writing course she taught at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival in July and wanted to read her book afterwards. I recommend it. My next read will be The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen Flynn which I chose because of a book review and my admiration for Jane Austen’s works. I am also in a book club, so many titles are recommended by that group.
WOW: Thank you for the recommendation! Can you tell us more about the novel you’re writing?
Candace: My novel, Evidence of Grace, is about a man named Charlie Jericho who rescues an infant from a horrendous minivan-train crash. His wife persuades him to keep the child as their own, even though they later learn her real identity. Seems the baby girl is related to some wealthy and powerful people in the medium-sized town of Tillman, Tennessee. One relative believes the child is still alive and launches efforts to find her that yield surprising results.
The little girl’s name is Grace. She becomes a victim of a vicious tug-of-war involving kidnapping, a white slavery ring, extortion and even the discovery of a long-ago murder. Charlie is torn between his conscience and keeping his family together, but events conspire to force him to action. Will Grace’s life be saved, again?
WOW: Great description, and poor Grace! I already want to know more about her. If you could give other creative writers one piece of advice, what would it be and why?
Candace: My advice is to keep learning. Take classes or join workshops. Find a good critique group of like-minded writers. No doubt your writing will get better, as I believe mine has. Then keep writing. Knowledge is not enough in itself. You have to DO it.
WOW: Thank you so much for your thoughtful responses. Congratulations again, and happy writing!
Interviewed by Anne Greenawalt, who keeps a blog of journal entries, memoir snippets, interviews, training logs, and profiles of writers and competitive female athletes.