Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Meet Kat LeMay, Fall 2017 Flash Fiction 2nd Place Winner
A member of RWA and WFWA, follow her on Twitter @Kat_LeMay
Read Kat's clever story "The Question Mark" here and then return to learn more about the writer.
Interview by Renee Roberson
WOW: I see that you've been researching your family genealogy and that it's been a great source of inspiration for story ideas. What tips would you give our readers who are interested in researching family history and do you have any interesting discoveries you can share with us?
Kat: My grandmother told outlandish stories about our family, so I began researching our genealogy to learn more. I started with an online genealogy program, supplemented with some creative googling, and soon discovered an entire subculture. I quickly learned our family did not escape the French Revolution to come to America (per Grandma) but instead were early immigrants to French Canada. In fact, many of our maternal ancestors were “Filles à Marier” or “Filles du Roi”, young women of marriageable age who came to colonial Quebec to marry strangers. There are definitely a few good stories among these women for future novels; plus, I often look across my entire tree to get ideas for character names.
WOW: Sounds like a great plan! You are a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Women's Fiction Writers of America. What do you think are the benefits to joining such associations and have you attended any recent conferences with them?
Kat: Beta readers!!! WFWA is a great, supportive group of writers and provided a great channel for finding beta-readers for my developing novel. And I probably learned just as much acting as a beta-reader for others. I recently joined the RWA and hope to go to a future conference; I find their magazine is an excellent tool for better understand the industry.
WOW: You are in the process of editing your first novel. What is your editing process like and how do you balance that with completing your second work in progress?
Kat: For editing, I prefer to print pages and read/edit them in a moderately-busy coffee shop. If I find it hard to keep my focus or struggle over certain sentences, I know I have a problem to address since I want my book to be an easy, tense read. I wish I had the answer about balance – essentially, I write my second novel when I’m tired of editing and just want to experience unbridled creativity.
WOW: I also prefer to print the pages but get too distracted in coffee shops because of all the fun people watching. How did you find the WOW! Flash Fiction Contest and do you find writing short stories more difficult than writing longer-length fiction?
Kat: I learned about the WOW! Flash Fiction Contest on Twitter, I think perhaps another writer. Early on, I took a class at a local writing center and learned the importance of Twitter in the writing/publishing industry. If I’m in the right mood, the story seems to come – whether short or long. And likewise, I can struggle with both. What I love about flash fiction (and even with daily hashtag writer games on Twitter) is that I’m forced to use only the words I most need. It’s a great, real-time editing exercise.
WOW: Although you've recently cut back your day job hours to find more time to write, how did you balance your writing projects before doing that?
The best thing I did take a couple of online writing classes for credit. Because I wanted to get my “money’s worth” on the tuition, I made sure to build structure into my weekly schedule to complete assignments outside work hours. I was very good about using my lunch hours to do the readings and then a couple of nights a week to complete assignments. I also kept (and still keep) a separate laptop for writing, so I can truly signoff from work. And my “writing” laptop is a very basic PC with minimal memory and apps – I can’t download distractions even if I want to!
WOW: That is very useful advice. I also love the idea of having a writing laptop with no distractions allowed. Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today and best of luck in your future writing endeavors, Kat!