Interview with Julie Watson, Winter 2019 Flash Fiction Contest Runner Up

Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Julie Watson lives St. Louis, MO with her family. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Saturday Evening Post, The Summerset Review, the Citron Review, and has earned recognition in the Writer’s Digest Short Short Story and Erma Bombeck Writing competitions.

Julie can be found online at and tweets at @julieinthelou.

interview by Marcia Peterson

WOW: Congratulations on your top ten win in our Winter 2019 Flash Fiction competition! What inspired you to enter the contest?

Julie: The WOW competition is one of my favorites. I’ve entered twice and plan to again whenever I complete a piece of flash I’m excited about.

WOW: Can you tell us what encouraged the idea behind your story, "Wherever You Go?" There’s some sneaky humor in this poignant tale, which I enjoyed.

Julie: Like Lucy and Marjorie, I like to go for walks. In fact, that’s where I get most of my writing ideas. For me it’s generally a solitary activity, but I see so many women walking together regularly, every morning or night. I started to imagine what it would be like to experience this as a routine, shared activity and applied my own history and experience with the loss of my mother. I remembered the way certain everyday activities felt different without her, and how surprised I was by the ways my grief over her passing unfolded.

In terms of humor, I often approach difficult subjects with as much lightness as I can. Laughter helps us all cope, I think.

WOW: What do you enjoy about flash fiction writing versus the other kinds of writing that you do?

Julie: I’m fairly new to flash. I started writing it very intentionally, to help me learn how to tighten up my long-form writing and practice effective storytelling. It’s been a tremendous help. With such a tight word limit, I have no choice but to say things with economy and get to the point.

WOW: We’d love to know more about your writing routines. Could you tell us when and where you usually write? Do you have favorite tools or habits that get you going?

Julie: I feel best when I write something daily, but I’ve learned to forgive myself when the words aren’t flowing. At home I’ve carved out my own little writing space with my favorite things, scented candles my family members find stinky, and plenty of light. The two craft books I keep on my desk are Dreyer's English by Benjamin Dreyer and Story Genius by Lisa Cron. I picked up both within the last year on the recommendation of other writer friends, and they’ve been as life-changing as they are entertaining.

WOW: Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Julie! Before you go, do you have any tips for our readers who may be thinking about entering writing contests?

Julie: Don’t hesitate! I already feel like I’ve won when I hit send and know that, at least in that single moment, I’ve beaten back fear and self-doubt. Just as important, contests like WOW’s come with built-in tribes, and I often wish I would have learned much sooner how important it is to have a connection with and support from other writers.


For more information about our quarterly Flash Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Essay contests, visit our contest page here.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Marcia--Thanks for doing this interview and for linking Julie's story.

Julie--It's great to see a fellow "Listen to Your Mother" writer earn a runner-up spot. Congratulations. I loved your story. I had to check back--it seemed so realistic. I wonder if the characters are based on people you know?

Again, congrats, and keep writing.

Renee Roberson said...


What a great story, and I loved the ending. I too take a lot of solitary walks/jogs and there are two women I see every single morning power walking. I often think of how long they've been walking together and what their story is. I think my husband has the book "Story Genius," (he's a process design engineer) so I'll have to check it out! Congratulations again on a well-crafted and engaging story that brought a smile to my face.

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