Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Interview with Margo Daly, Runner Up in the WOW! Fall 2019 Flash Fiction Contest
Margo lives with her husband in the beautiful port city of Fremantle, Western Australia.
She holds three passports, Irish, British, and Australian. She’s a grandmother, has a BA in English Literature, and has had careers in teaching and nursing. She has scribbled for years and is currently making good a promise to herself ‘to write seriously when she turned seventy.’ She has had two flash fiction pieces published. When she’s not writing she’s singing, dancing, playing table tennis walking her daughter’s dog or watching dystopian movies.
If you haven’t read “Sorry,” Margo’s story, take the time to do so before coming back here to learn from her process.
WOW: There is so much in this story. What was your inspiration? The spark that got you started in the writing process?
Margo: My inspiration, watching women apologising behind trollys in supermarkets for years I think. Then it morphed into the conflict that only women can feel between motherhood and their own lives. Personal experience as a young mother. Then the hormones kick in, that override everything.
No spark, but I loved reading as a child and poured out my heart to my English teacher in essays. Practical considerations too, pen and paper much cheaper than paints easel or kiln.
WOW: Every detail means something in a piece this short. How did you select the dreams that the narrator has for her future? The things she sees in the store?
Margo: For her dreams, I tried to cover a few bases: work - connection with colleagues, different identity; painting – creativity; yoga - body and soul; and learning a language - brain stimulation.
Things in the store are banal, every day food.
WOW: Several times the narrator’s emotions and what she is contemplating change direction. How was this shaped during the rewrite process?
Margo: I got a clearer picture of the pregnant teenager and how protective she was. Also the security guard, the store manager, her husband, none of them have any idea of what she’s going through - a 350 degree turn around in what? Half an hour?
WOW: Your bio says that you promised yourself that at 70 you would write seriously, and we’re so glad you honored that promise. What advice do you have for readers who may think they are too old, too busy, or too uninspired to write?
Margo: It’s never too late! Draw inspiration from authors who started late in life. I’m currently doing a Master class with Margaret Atwood. I love Lydia Davis, Joyce Carol Oates, to name a couple.
Also read books on writing, Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway, On Writers and Writing by Margaret Atwood. Tap into Reedsy and Flash fiction sites.
Keep an eye open for competitions. I’m very glad I found yours! I belong to a writers group, we meet every fortnight.
WOW: We’re glad you found our competition, too! Tell us a little something about your writing plans. Where should we look for more of your work?
Margo: Good question! Most of what I’ve done is in a folder in Dropbox. I’m working at the moment on the same story told from 3 different perspectives…sometimes fun, sometimes an interesting challenge. Feel like at the moment I’m trying things out. Perhaps I’ll publish a book of short stories.
Thanks for the opportunity for me to look at what I’m doing,
WOW: Thank you for sharing your story and your process with our readers. Hopefully some of them will follow your example and try writing and submitting to one of our flash contests!
Interview by Sue Bradford Edwards