Interview with Kiara Almanzar: Fall 2021 Flash Fiction Contest 3rd Place Winner

Tuesday, March 22, 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 done so already, check out Kiara's award-winning story "Oranges" and then return here for a chat with the author. 

WOW: Congratulations on placing third in the Fall 2021 Flash Fiction Contest! What excited you most about writing this story? 

Kiara: I initially wrote this story with the focus on the word “orange.” I grew up in Florida, so naturally the fruit came to mind. I was really excited to see the lengths I could go through to fit this word in a story and I was very proud by the outcome. 

WOW: What did you learn about yourself or your writing while crafting this piece? 

Kiara: I learned that I can limit myself to short fiction! And it is totally okay! Usually, when I get an idea for a story, it’s a long-winded thought-out novel that has multiple backstories and an intensive plot, and honestly, it gets tiring. I like that I was able to conjure something short but still tell a cohesive story. Writing short fiction is something I’ve been working on practicing more, so it was nice to see it come together. 

WOW: Well done! There is a different focus and thought process with novels versus flash and it’s not always easy to make the switch between the two. Please tell us more about your novel, Solace at Your Door. What is it about, what has your writing process been like, and what inspired you to write it? 

Kiara: Solace at Your Door has been a project of mine since I first graduated high school. I realized that my childhood best friends and I were going our separate ways and that our friendship might not be this everlasting thing we always thought it would be. The idea was to create a story about teetering friendships and taking a flash shot on a moment that might not last forever but would be one of the last moments you had. And there was something special about that. 

So SAYD was born: When the world is announced to end due to a solar storm striking the Earth, a group of townies living on the outer edge of their small town learn to deal with doomsday on their own terms. The story centers around five teens after a big fight leads them to question everything they know about their friendship, love, and the secrets they held on to. 

I finished my first completed draft of SAYD in the summer of 2020. That draft is completely lost now as the story has been taken apart and rewritten twice more after. I’m currently on draft number 3 and I’m finally satisfied by the way things are going along. I’m excited to finish this draft because I genuinely feel it will be my last. While my writing process is practically nonexistent now because of school and work, I always make sure to write anything I think down, whether or not I use it. I’m a big daydreamer and I think that occupies at least 75% of my writing process. I also love creating playlists for each character and getting inspiration from reading (whether that be full novels or quotes shared online). My attachment to my own characters has definitely helped me keep interest in the story! 

WOW: I have learned recently that daydreaming is a crucial part of my creative process, too! Thank you for sharing your novel concept and process with us. What are you reading right now, and why did you choose to read it? 

Kiara: Unfortunately, I’ve been caught in a reading slump circle where I keep picking up books that have caught my interest and dropping them. I’m currently attempting to read Vengeful, the sequel to V.E. Schwabs’s Vicious series. I love the grey morality of these characters and it's been the first book to keep my attention in a while! 

WOW: If you could give your younger self one piece of writing advice, what would it be and why? 

Kiara: Write for yourself first, your friends second, and an audience last. I used to get so caught up in writing the perfect story that would leave jaws dropped and people quoting them in their everyday life when that just isn’t realistic. My writing isn’t perfect and not everyone is going to like it; what matters is that I told the story I wanted to tell. 

WOW: Thank you for sharing that advice! Anything else you’d like to add? 

Kiara: I love WOW! and their dedication to highlight women in writing, no matter their experience in the publishing world. I’m very grateful for all the work they put in and look forward to working with them in the future! 

WOW: Thank you for that acknowledgement of the WOW! community, and thank you for you other thoughtful responses! Happy writing! 

Interviewed by Anne Greenawalt, who keeps a blog of journal entries, memoir snippets, interviews, training logs, book reviews, and profiles of writers and competitive sportswomen. Tweets @dr_greenawalt.


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