Interview with Kelli Short Borges, Summer 2021 Flash Fiction Contest Runner Up

Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Kelli Short Borges is a writer of essays, short stories, and flash fiction. A former reading specialist in the Arizona public school system, Kelli is a life-long reading enthusiast. Although many who know her claim she’s a beaming ray of sunshine, many of Kelli’s stories tend toward the dark and disturbing. In addition to writing, Kelli enjoys hiking the Arizona foothills, photography, and traveling the world in search of adventure. Her work has been published or is forthcoming at Across the Margin, Bright Flash Literary Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, Pure Slush, Drunk Monkeys, and Versification, amongst other publications. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter @KelliBorges2, or visit her website,

interview by Marcia Peterson

WOW: Congratulations on your top ten win in our Summer 2021 Flash Fiction competition! What prompted you to enter the contest?

Kelli: Thank you so much. It’s such an honor to have my piece selected alongside the writing of so many talented women. I actually stumbled upon the contest while researching places to submit flash fiction. After digging a bit more, I was incredibly impressed with the WOW! community, and wanted to be a part of it all. It was the very first contest I’ve entered, and I was a bit nervous about it. In the end, of course, I took the leap. I’m so glad I did!

WOW:  Can you tell us what encouraged the idea behind your story, “Slither?”

Kelli: When I was a freshman in high school, I took the bus to and from school daily. There was a girl who rode with me who would taunt me with a flask full of alcohol before school some mornings. I was seen as super straight-laced by this particular person (and to be honest, I was!). She knew I wouldn't drink it, so she just delighted in making me feel as uncomfortable as possible on those bus rides. Over time she harassed me whenever she had the chance--not just on the bus, but at school or when I would ride my bike past her house. It wasn’t pleasant, but I managed to push the discomfort aside because I had a solid group of really nice friends and enough self-confidence to hold my head up and ultimately ignore her. I’m guessing most people have been similarly tormented at some point in their lives, and the seeds for “Slither” began with this commonality. For anyone who’s ever been bullied, and especially those who have felt powerless, I wanted to flip the script, have the antagonist get her comeuppance. 

WOW:  What do you enjoy about flash fiction writing versus the other kinds of writing that you do?

Kelli: Although I enjoy writing all kinds of things, I’ll admit that I’m currently in an "exclusive relationship" with flash fiction. I love the brevity involved, the way a writer can say so much in such a small, compressed space. I love that moment at the end of a really good piece, when your mind is whirring, scrambling to put the pieces together, and suddenly, it’s there, that second when you hold your breath and the truth of it appears, filling the space like magic. It’s just incredibly beautiful.

WOW: Can you tell us what projects are you currently working on? What can we plan on seeing from you in the future?

Kelli: Currently, I’m continuing to develop and hone some new flash pieces. Over the next year or two I would love to write a Novella in Flash. After that, who knows? A novel may be in my future. We’ll see!

WOW:  Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Kelli. Before you go, do you have a favorite writing tip or piece of advice you can share?

Kelli: My number one tip would be don’t be afraid to start. I think allowing yourself to be imperfect, to write an ugly rough draft, to just get something on the page, is incredibly important. No one has to see it but you until you’re ready, so what is there to lose? Next, practice as much as possible. Find time to write, even if it’s just 15-20 minutes at a time. All of those small moments can add up to something big! When you’re ready, share your writing with people you trust. Finally, and I think the importance of this gets overlooked sometimes, take the “business” of writing as seriously as the writing itself. In particular, I’m thinking of marketing your work, which can be absolutely exhausting and time consuming, but is incredibly important if your goal is to be published and share your craft with others.

It’s been such a privilege to share my writing with WOW!, and to be a part of an incredible community of women writers. Thank you for the opportunity!


For more information about our quarterly Flash Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Essay contests, visit our contest page here.


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