Interview with Kiara Almanzar, Runner-Up in the WOW! Summer Flash Fiction Contest

Tuesday, January 04, 2022
Kiara’s Bio: 

Part-time pop music enthusiast and full-time bookworm, Kiara is a junior at the University of Central Florida. Aside from writing short stories and working on her first novel, Solace At Your Door, Kiara writes nonfiction articles for Her Campus UCF. She hopes to one day publish several novels and work in public relations in the entertainment industry. You can follow her on Instagram (@almondzar) or Twitter (@gotosleepkiara) to keep up with her writing journey. 

If you haven't read "A Haunted Girl Meets Her Fate," click through and experience her story.  Then come back here to read about how Kiara created it.

----------interview with Sue Bradford Edwards----------

WOW: What inspired “A Haunted Girl Meets Her Fate”? 

Kiara: Like most of my writing, A Haunted Girl Meets Her Fate is inspired by fractions of whole pieces. I took a lot of inspiration from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Shastra Deo, interviewed by Sumudu Samarawickrama in Liminal Mag, The Haunting of Hill House Netflix Original, and Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour. 

I took a lot of inspiration from my own life as well, and the moments where my depression wouldn’t let me get out of bed. In those moments, I felt a lot of grief, but I could never really explain why to other people. The main character, Kaya, is haunted by memories of her past manifesting into this entity that reminds her both that she is not alone and that she is as alone as she’ll ever be. I had a lot of moments in my life where I felt the same: I was content with being alone but the loneliness was suffocating. 

WOW:  Thank you for discussing mental health so openly.  It is still such a taboo topic in our society. How did you decide on the vehicle of a ghost story to tell this story about mental health? 

Kiara: I became obsessed with the idea of ghosts as a tragedy rather than as frightening. As a horror movie fanatic, I’ve always noticed that ghosts present a certain kind of tragedy that the protagonists in the film never quite understand. Ghosts are ultimately reminders of the past-- no matter how big and scary you make them out to be. 

WOW:  A big part of writing is rewriting. How did this story change during the rewrite phase? 

Kiara: This story is actually a cut-down version of an unfinished, longer story of a girl who is haunted. The longer story was meant to give the ghost more character, weaving into Kaya’s life like she belonged there, becoming the second half of Kaya herself. However, I could never quite get it to work. When I cut it down, I felt that the story I wanted to write had to be much simpler than what I had been trying to come up with. 

Sometimes the less that is said, the better. 

WOW:  According to your bio, you write both nonfiction articles and short stories and you are working on a novel. What do your immediate writing plans include? 

Kiara: I like to write nonfiction commentary articles on the side because, like most writers, my brain does not shut up! I’m currently working on the second draft of my novel, Solace at your Door, which has been my baby since I left high school. I guess, for now, I’m just trying to write as much as I can, regardless of whether anyone listens. Sometimes an idea for a story pops up and I write quick notes, but my novel is really my long-term focus as of now. 

WOW: I think a lot of writers know what you mean about your brain never shutting off.  Many of our readers create work that somehow reflects their daily life. How does your experience as a student inform your writing? 

Kiara: As a student, there are so many highs and lows of daily life. I go to school away from home, and while I’ve cultivated my own life with my own friends at school, I still sense an immediate loneliness when I am on my own for too long. Learning to be by myself has made me a more introspective person and I’ve learned that my aloneness and loneliness are separate.

WOW: That's probably something that a lot of writers can identify with as so many people are isolating.  Thank you for taking time out of your holiday to share your insights with our readers.  Good luck on your upcoming semester!


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