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Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Interview with Veronique Aglat, Spring 2021 Flash Fiction Runner Up

Today I am excited to talk with Veronique Aglat, one of the runner-ups to the Spring 2021 Flash Fiction contest. Make sure you read her story The Perfect Spot then come on back and read our interview. 
First, a bit more about Veronique:

Veronique Aglat writes out of a studio leased from the Montreal Art Center for inspiration and company. She turned to writing to honor the memory of her son Liam, a true artist in the making, whose life ended too early. She has published several short stories in literary magazines and is working on a novel.

--- Interview by Nicole Pyles

WOW: First off, congratulations on winning runner-up! What surrounds you when you write? 

Veronique: I decided to write full-time on the nine-month anniversary of my son's death. I looked up space for rent and found someone who had a studio at the Montreal Art Center. He needed someone to help him share the burden of full rent, especially since he couldn't give drawing lessons there anymore (COVID, what else?). The Art Center is part of Montreal's heritage. It has three floors filled with art, artists of all sorts, and a library. I sit at my desk, write for a while, and when I don't know where to go with a story, I look at a new exhibit or a painting I find interesting. I am surrounded by visual art. 

WOW: What a beautiful setting! What inspired the story?

Veronique: I read an article about this bizarre tree that produces only good fruit once it has rotted a few weeks. It used to be a major source of winter sugar in England before air shipping. Nowadays, we have bananas, pineapples, and mangoes all year round. Go back 120 years, and most English people ate what they grew. However, it is making a comeback. There is someone who planted a whole orchard. The tree is real. It comes from Central Asia. I was learning to juggle at the time, hence the mayor who juggles three fruit. 

WOW: That's so amazing! I love how you blended fiction with reality. What does a typical day of writing look like to you? 

Veronique: My goal is always to be at my desk at 2 pm. I used to close the door, but with summer and AC issues, I leave it open. I prefer when I can close the door. I try to write 1000 words. I want to be flexible, so some days it's more, some days less, but 1000 is a good objective, especially if I'm working on a longer piece. I keep a diary of the work I do every day. 

WOW: That's an amazing way to keep yourself on track. What are you currently working on that you can tell us about? 

Veronique: I'm writing a story based on the premise: what if a gum that can regrow teeth was invented? It's two stories that run parallel to one another. One deals with an old man who has been wearing dentures for 50 years and who decides to try the gum. The other is about a young man who went to dental schools on loans and now faces a future where his skills are obsolete, but his debt isn't. Both storylines merge eventually. I am also working on a historical fiction novel loosely based on my great uncle's life. He was picked up by the Nazis in 1942, mostly because he was homosexual, and deported to Mauthausen, where he died two weeks after the Liberation in 1945. 

WOW: Both stories sound amazing! You have a wonderful way of capturing all senses in your writing. What is your technique for doing that? 

Veronique: When my children were little, we had many plastic figurines; some were Star Wars characters, others were animals, etc. We named each figurine and touched it. Then we played a game where we closed our eyes, felt the object, and named it. We sense a lot more than what we see. For example, I know who is entering the building by the way the person closes the door. The other day, I passed next to a man who smelled like Cardamone and lavender. I think I sometimes close my eyes to give my other senses a chance to give their input.

WOW: That's a profound way to capture senses! I love it! Congratulations again and I can't wait to see what you come up with next. 

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