Interview with Eva W: Summer 2020 Flash Fiction Runner Up

Tuesday, December 29, 2020


Eva Wewiorski has lived a geographically varied life in Scotland and the UK, currently residing in Leith, Edinburgh with her fiancé. Outside of writing, she works in a university library. She trained as a librarian at Newnham College, Cambridge and throughout that year, spent every evening and weekend she could scribbling in the romantic secrecy of her rented annexe. At the end of her internship she decided to pursue writing more seriously and is currently undertaking Glasgow University’s Creative Writing M.Litt course on a scholarship award. Her entry for WOW! Women On Writing’s Flash Fiction Competition is her first publication. You can follow her on Twitter @evadoubleyu.

Make sure you read her story, "Dear Victor," then come on back and read her interview with us.

--- Interview by Nicole Pyles

WOW: First, congratulations on winning runner up in the summer flash fiction contest! Your story roped me in immediately. The whole time I kept wondering which direction it was going and then you delivered that shocking ending! What was the inspiration behind this story? 

Eva: I liked the idea of a story based on something that at first seemed like quite a saccharine and girly premise - a woman talking about her first real kiss, a high school crush - that then gradually revealed itself to be something very sinister and creepy. I write a lot about trauma, particularly around taboo subjects, and teacher-pupil transgressions are definitely something not often talked about - even though I think they’re more common than people realise, as with all forms of power abuse.

WOW: I definitely think you are right on about that! So, I love how you wrote this story as if the character is writing a letter to Victor. When you first started this story, did you know how it would end? 

Eva: Yes, I knew the last line before I knew the opening one. I liked playing with the power dynamic by having the narrator address him by his first name, which is obviously not how she'd have known him as a teenager. I felt it undercut the status he'd have as 'Mr' , reinforcing a man like him is no way deserving of the respect that comes with the title.  Even though I obviously knew the ending, as I was writing it I found myself almost believing it was a fellow student she was talking about. It was eerily easy to create all the misleading clues.

Also, I know it ends on a pretty grim note and the narrator’s obviously very damaged but I hope the letter form also conveys a sense of power for her now, the fact that she’s directly addressing him and vowing to one day speak out. At the very least, she’s now able to comprehend the true nature of what he is and understand that what happened wasn’t her fault.

WOW: That power she has regained absolutely comes across in the piece! What does a typical day of writing look like for you?

Eva: Because I'm in the middle of an creative writing M.Litt, I have lots of writing tasks I have to prioritise, including giving feedback on other writer's work. I generally set myself a personal goal of a minimum of 500 words a day, which is normally enough to either complete a short exercise - a piece of flash fiction or reflective exercise  - or write a decent chunk of a short story. Inspiration doesn't always arrive with the clock and a little progress each day is better than trying to perfect a major project in one day - I've learned that the hard way! I'm a big fan of writing on paper first before typing it up, and I generally print things out to edit the final draft on paper too. Outside my coursework, I'm also in the process of writing a novel which I work on really any spare moment I have. I'm the sort of person who will write on the back of a receipt while on a moving bus and, left to my own devices, I'd probably never stop. Thankfully I have a fiance who helps remind me there is an equally exciting world outside the one in my head. 

WOW: Writers always need someone there to remind us of the world outside our mind! How do you know when a story is done?

Eva: I think the point you have to let it go is when you find yourself reading over bits you previously thought were brilliant and then suddenly falling out of love with them for no reason. When you’re at that stage of proofreading obsessively and getting bored of re-reading the same thing, it’s easy to forget that what’s become overly-familiar to you will be completely fresh to a reader’s eyes. It’s important to step away before you end up panicking and changing things or worse, deciding irrationally it’s no good at all and binning it altogether. This is one of the most important things I’ve learned since being part of a writer’s group. You have no idea how others will receive your work, often in a pleasantly surprising way. 

WOW: Oh that's a fantastic point! What do you hope readers take away from reading your story?

Eva: I hope they find it entertaining, as dark as the subject matter might be, and are taken aback by the twist. I tried to write it in a way that invites a second reading, so if WOW subscribers feel it’s got re-readability, I’ll be thrilled. 

Also, I hope this isn’t the case but in the event there’s someone reading it who can relate to the narrator’s situation or has a Victor Larkin in their past, I really hope they find a way to tell their story and get the support they need. And to always remember that transgressions of this nature are never, ever a victim’s responsibility.

WOW: I completely agree. Thank you so much for talking with us today and I can't wait to see what you come out with next!


Jeanine DeHoney said...

This was a great interview Nicole. Congratulations Eva. Your story, "Dear Victor," was such a moving one and I hope you write a sequel to show how your protagonist further healed from her trauma. So many women have been victimized by this type of "power abuse" and are shamed into silence and I am glad you addressed it in your fiction story. Continued success with all of your writing endeavors.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Nicole--Thanks for doing this interview and for giving us a link to Eva's story. Wow! What a story.

Eva--I agree with Jeanine. I'd love to see a sequel to this story, or even a story from an adult woman's perspective, to be a "bookend" to this story. The twist at the end was completely unexpected, and was quite powerful. The story showcased a young girl's feelings with authentic details. Congratulations. It's easy to see why this piece got such recognition.

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