Interview with Lorin Fries: Summer 2020 Flash Fiction Contest Third Place Winner

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Lorin’s Bio: Lorin Fries integrates writing alongside an international career in food access and climate change. She placed 4th out of nearly 5,000 participants in the 2019 New York Midnight Short Story Contest. She is finishing a first literary fiction novel in which two stories intertwine, across generations, in Brooklyn: a beloved magician struggles to heal a heartbroken girl during WWII while his granddaughter, a hardened human rights journalist, fights to evacuate a dear colleague from the Syrian war. 

If you haven't done so already, check out Lorin's award-winning story "You Carry Our Story" and then return here for a chat with the author. 

WOW: Congratulations on placing in the Summer 2020 Flash Fiction Contest! What excited you most about writing this story? 

Lorin: Everything we buy has a footprint -- whether it’s the climate impact of dinner or the labor of miners who pried a diamond from the earth for your ring. Part of my professional work is to encourage ethical (and less) consumption. I hope fiction like this can help paint the stories behind our choices. 

WOW: Wonderful way to describe the combination of your work’s purpose and your fiction. What did you learn about yourself or your writing while crafting this piece? 

Lorin: In 2003, as a researcher in South Africa, I descended into a dark column on a shaky elevator to meet men in the platinum mines. It’s hard, dangerous work. I was humbled by their perseverance and wondered about their lives. I remembered those men when I got engaged last year and looked for a responsible, transparent source of precious stones – a more complicated endeavor than one might imagine. This story tumbled out in the midst of that search. As with much of my writing, it’s an attempt to honor folks often invisible in mainstream society. 

WOW: A very worthy goal. What was the inspiration for your first literary novel? 

Lorin: My nearly-drafted novel is inspired by my grandfather, a pediatrician and magician in Brooklyn. He was known to do a magic trick with one hand while giving a shot with the other. I wondered what he would do for a child for whom neither science nor magic could protect. The book begins when a young girl seeks him out because she believes that, like pulling a rabbit from a hat, the magician can bring her father back from World War II. 

WOW: Intriguing premise! Thank you for sharing that with us. What are you reading right now, and why did you choose to read it? 

Lorin: Over the past few years, I’ve diversified the authors I read. I’m finishing the breathtakingly good An American Marriage by Tayari Jones and I’ve just re-read Tommy Orange’s There There. As a white woman living in the US, I believe such stories are vital to my understanding, action and allyship.  

WOW: It’s wonderful to hear about conscious choices to diversify one’s literature list, which, of course, diversifies perspectives and experiences. If you could give your younger self one piece of writing advice, what would it be and why? 

Lorin: Focus on creating and finishing multiple, smaller pieces, so you get practice with completing a full arc of story and character. 

WOW: Thank you for sharing your story and for your other thoughtful responses! Congratulations again, and happy writing! 

Interviewed by Anne Greenawalt, who keeps a blog of journal entries, memoir snippets, interviews, training logs, and profiles of writers and competitive sportswomen with the purpose giving them a forum to discuss their own athletic careers, bodies, and lives in their own words. For more on the power of storytelling, join the conversation on Facebook.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Anne--Great interview. I will come back later to try and read the story.

Lorin--Congratulations. I loved hearing about your travels and the research you've done. Good luck with your almost-drafted novel.

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