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Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Interview with Susan Moffson: Runner Up in Summer 2019 Flash Fiction Contest

Susan Moffson has been working in the field of international development for over 20 years, some of that time spent living and working in Africa. For the past nine years, she has worked for the non-governmental organization, Jhpiego, the leading partner in a consortium implementing a global health project, the Maternal and Child Survival Program. She has written several work-related blogs about the program’s positive impact on 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.


WOW: Congratulations on your top ten win in our Summer 2019 Flash Fiction competition! Can you tell us what encouraged the idea behind your story, “Madagascar Lolita?”

Susan: Yes, I lived in worked in Madagascar and was at a restaurant when an older French gentleman referred to a young bartender/waitress as a Madagascar Lolita. I found this moment really disturbing and could never get it out of my head. I also saw a lot of older men, often European, exploit young African women during our years living in several African countries. Trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable women, in Madagascar and elsewhere, is a huge problem and is a story that needs to be told.

WOW: Your story was a compelling look at this problem, well done. What do you enjoy about flash fiction writing versus the other kinds of writing that you do?

Susan: I just love the challenge of trying to write a plot in so few words and especially enjoy the element of surprise at the end; it's always such a challenge to write an effective ending. Often times I write several drafts and it takes some time for me to find the right ending that will resonate.

WOW:We’d love to know more about your writing routines. Any favorite tools or habits that get you going?

Susan: One thing that gets me going is reading other flash stories. There is so much great stuff out there--especially on WOW!

WOW: As with many writers, I’m guessing that reading may be a favorite activity. Any recent favorites you can recommend? What’s next on your reading list?

Susan: Yes! I really loved Madeline Miller's "Son of Achilles" and "Circe." They were so refreshing and unique and hard to put down. I also really enjoyed Diane Setterfields "Once Upon a River, which was lyrical and beautiful and sad

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

Susan: I've had more success with contests like WOW, that cap the number of submissions. Some of the very well known ones get so many submissions it's very difficult to place.


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

1 comment:

  1. Marcia--Thanks for doing this interview, and for posting a link to Susan's story.

    Susan--What a story! With a few well-crafted details, and by giving us the backstory a bit at a time, you wrote a powerful piece.



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