--interview by Marcia Peterson
WOW: Congratulations on your top ten win in our Summer 2020 Flash Fiction competition! What prompted you to enter the contest?
Lolita: It was the right moment in time. This was my very first contest. I had just completed “Tammy” and a few writers urged me to submit it. Finding a flash fiction competition through an online site that supported and promoted women writers, agents and book authors seemed serendipitous and so I entered.
WOW: Great job on your first contest, we'd love to see more from you. Tammy?”
Lolita: I love art, and photography is a hobby, so I took an online workshop on ekphrastic writing (writing in response to art or the use of art as a literary motif). “Tammy” was inspired by Dorothea Lange’s photograph “Migrant Mother.” The whole story unfolded in one sitting after looking into her eyes.
WOW: I'm familiar with that haunting photo, from a class I took in college (I've included it here). As a busy mom, how do you find time to work on your writing projects? What works best for you?
Lolita: My children are all artistic in some way and they consistently show up for themselves and their art in a way that inspires me to do the same. Finding time is easier now that they are older and understand the fuel of art. They are generous with me when I am late making dinner because I’ve been writing or when I spend hours on a Saturday holed up in my room. For the most part I write around their days and our time together, after school, after dinner and weekends. They are always first in my life so when they are busy that’s my time. Sadly, none of us are early risers and I often lament that I can’t get myself up while it’s still dark and use those precious early hours when the house is asleep. Despite my limitations, I am “writing in my head” all the time: while running, while reading a novel or watching a movie; while doing something totally unrelated to writing, I am thinking of the work or being haunted by my characters. This head-space writing makes me feel better about the lack of actual writing time, knowing that all the hours that I’m not actively penning words I am still laying foundation.
WOW: What are you reading right now, and why did you choose to read it?
Lolita: I am often reading poetry, a book of nonfiction, a book of short stories and a novel during the same time period. Right now, I am halfway through The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel, The Book of Not by Tstsi Dangaremba, Whatever Happened to Interracial Love by Kathleen Collins and instead of poetry I’m listening to Gilead by Marilynn Robinson whenever I go for a walk or run.
WOW: Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Lolita. Before you go, can you share a favorite writing tip or piece of advice?
Lolita: If you feel you are a writer, own it fully.
Don’t let anything stand in the way of your becoming. And: unless you’re at the end of your life, it’s never too late.
For more information about our quarterly Flash Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Essay contests, visit our contest page here.