Interview with Susan Moffson: Summer 2018 Flash Fiction Contest Third Place Winner

Tuesday, December 25, 2018
Bio: Susan Moffson has been working in the field of international development for twenty years, much of that time spent living and working in Africa. For the past eight years, she has worked for the non-governmental organization, Jhpiego, the leading partner in a consortium implementing the global health project, Maternal and Child Survival Program. She has written several work-related blogs about the positive impact this program has had on many women and children and has realized she is a journalist at heart. Susan loves to write fiction, pulling from her time abroad, to capture the incredibly rich and varied cultures she has been fortunate to experience.

If you haven’t done so already, check out Susan’s award-winning story “Canela” and then return here for a chat with the author.

WOW: Congratulations on placing third in the Summer 2018 Flash Fiction Contest! What excited you most about writing this story?

Susan: I’ve written about a lot of places I’ve lived but never Cape Verde, so it was fun to revisit my time there, as dark as some of the elements of the story are.

WOW: Did you learn anything about yourself or your writing while crafting this piece?

Susan: I learned that things that were happening in Cape Verde when I lived there 15 years ago would not be okay in many contexts now, in the age of the “me too” movement. So I am grateful for the progress women have made but it is scary how woman are so often victimized and powerless in the world.

WOW: Can you tell us more about how your time abroad has fueled your writing?

Susan: It’s funny but right now I can’t write about anything other than stories related to Africa or life overseas, whether pulled from my time abroad or my work or both. There are just so many stories to tell and it’s what inspires me.

WOW: We hope to see more of your stories about life overseas soon! What are you reading right now, and why did you choose to read it?

Susan: Sounds cliché but I’m reading Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime. It’s hilarious and fascinating and I chose it because my book club is reading it- and because I was curious to learn more about South Africa, which is really different in a lot of ways than other African countries I have lived. Plus I am a big fan of Trevor.

WOW: If you could give your younger self one piece of writing advice, what would it be and why?

Susan: I always enjoyed writing but in school and work I focused on report writing and a more journalistic style of writing. I came to creative writing late when I started writing work blogs. So I guess I would tell me younger self to explore creative writing because it has been a long, sometimes painful transition to learn to write fiction!

WOW: Good advice! It is a different kind of process. Anything else you’d like to add?

Susan: Just want to add that I think it’s important to have someone review your drafts – ideally seasoned writers/editors/readers. I learn so much from the workshop/editing process! My awesome husband nearly always reads everything I write to make sure it’s authentic and accurately captures the details about places we have worked and/or lived.

WOW: Thank you for that advice, and thank you again for sharing your stories and for your other 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.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Anne--Thanks for doing this interview.

Susan--I guess your main character is part of the "Me Too" movement, like so many girls and women. What a powerful ending.

I am also fascinated by South Africa. Two of my favorite novels from (and about) that country are Alan Paton's "Too Late the Phalarope" and "Cry the Beloved Country."

Good luck with your future writing, and congratulations on your short story win.

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