Interview with Kristina Neihouse: Runner Up in the Fall 2019 Flash Fiction Contest

Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Kristina is a full-time librarian who delights in reading, writing and talking about writing. In addition to time spent overseeing an academic library and tutoring center, she attends writing groups and readings whenever possible. Most Saturday evenings she can be found in the Monroe County Detention Center talking with female inmates about writing and other life choices. Read their work at Write On Published.

She likes to write a little bit of everything, from pieces that look like poetry to flash fiction and creative non-fiction essays. In 2017 she was awarded an Anne McKee Artist Fund Grant to publish her first novel Knowing When to Leave. In 2019 this debut novel won a silver medal in the Florida Book Awards Young Adult category. She is currently at work on a second book in the series.

Check out Kristina’s sporadically kept blog at KAN writes to learn more about Kristina and her writing.

Be sure to check out Kristina's story Red first and then come on back and read her interview!

--- Interview by Nicole Pyles

WOW: First, congrats on winning runner up! Can you tell us about what inspired this story?

Kristina: I belong to a local Writer’s Guild. Every few weeks they hold a “writing exercise” where by we have a limited number of days to write a piece of no more than 750 words based on a common prompt, such as three words, a first line. One such exercise was hosted by a painter who shared a photo of one of his paintings to use as inspiration. From that work, the color red and a tumbler of whiskey on the rocks brought about my story. It’s good for me to remember, you never know where inspiration will come from, so keep writing.

WOW: I totally agree about finding inspiration! And I was so impressed to see that you visit the Monroe County Detention Center to talk with female inmates. Has your writing changed at all by working with them?

Kristina: I guess it makes me value my writing more, appreciate the time and space I have to write. It keeps me in touch with writing as a healing process. And to just write for the sake of writing.

I enjoy spending time with the women, encouraging them to write. I want them to tell their stories, even if it’s only to themselves by writing in their notebook.

WOW: How rewarding that must be! So, how did this story change from the first draft to the final draft?

Kristina: This story was one of those rare gifts. It really wrote itself. Other than minor word changes it’s not that different than when I first put pen to paper.

WOW: I'm impressed! What approach do you take in your revision process after you finish your first draft?
Kristina: My first drafts are a mess! I try to keep my first drafts free form, just write write write. Next, I enjoy the process of digging back in and honing down the story, playing with the order of sentences, paragraphs. I do a lot of rearranging and cutting. I am not afraid to get rid of what does not belong.

WOW: I can completely understand that. What are you currently working on? What can we expect next from you?

Kristina: I am working on my second novel. It’s part of a series that started with my first novel Knowing When to Leave. This second novel is a challenge. I think that’s why I’m playing around with so many other formats; flash, poetry, memoir essays, etc. It’s a form of procrastination, procrastinating writing by writing!

WOW: What a way to procrastinate. I love it! Best of luck with your writing! And congrats again!


Sioux Roslawski said...

Nicole--Thanks for doing this interview. What an interesting life Kristina leads.

Kristina--Congratulations! The competetion is always stiff when it comes to WOW's contests, so you should feel quite proud. AND you have a novel published. AND you're working on a new novel. AND you work with incarcerated women.


I enjoyed your story. The darkness. The insidiousness of it. Quite moving.

Good luck with your current WIP. And again, congratulations.

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