Interview With Andra Loy, Fall 2021 Flash Fiction Runner-Up

Tuesday, May 03, 2022


I'm excited to interview Andra Loy, one of the runner-ups in the Fall 2021 Flash Fiction contest. Before you read our interview, make sure you check out her story Bare Walls. Then come on back!

First, find out more information about Andra:

After growing up in Oklahoma, Andra moved to Europe, where she found herself locked on an empty, abandoned train, lost in a forest with just a compass, and falling in love with the only American man in her town—all fodder for her grounded speculative fiction writing. She believes that at the heart of every amazing story lies the elemental truth that what’s lost can be found, what’s broken can be healed, and what’s fallen can be redeemed. Her various manuscripts have won the ACFW Genesis Award, the ACFW First Impressions contest, and the Virginia Crown Award (three times), as well as achieving finalist in the Monroe-Walton Center New Writers contest and the Oregon Cascades contest. You can connect with Andra on Twitter: @andrajloy, and IG: @andraloy, or visit her website where you can sign up for her newsletter and receive a collection of short stories. Andra lives half an hour from a castle in the Czech Republic with her husband and three children.

--- Interview by Nicole Pyles

WOW: First, congratulations on winning runner-up! It seems you have lived such an interesting life! How does that inspire your fiction? 

Andra: Every new place I visit leaves an emotional impression on me. So when I think of a story idea, I choose the setting based on the atmospheric mood I want the story to have. Or the place will inspire a story idea. Living overseas has also enriched my life experience, so I get to draw from that well for my characters. I never would have grown by staying in my safe comfort zone, and I think my characters are stronger and more well-rounded because of that. 

WOW: I would agree! How did your story transform from first draft to final draft? 

Andra: Ironically, when I finished writing it, I thought it was a speculative story about a child who really did produce all these things with her imagination and her mother’s acceptance of her, including her own demise. My husband interpreted it completely differently, that Klara never existed in the first place, and that the ending of the story signaled the mother’s mental healing, which is way nicer. So I tweaked it a bit, still leaving it open ended enough to go either way, but leaning more toward the second interpretation. I love seeing how we can all read the same text and end up with different takeaways. 

WOW: That's so profound! How do you know when a story is done? 

Andra: It almost always catches me by surprise. This story was especially dramatic, I was typing away, letting the words flow, then I reached the conclusion and jerked my hands off the keyboard so fast, and my eyes started watering. I was stunned and chilled at where the story ended up, but I knew it was complete. I love writing as if I were reading the book. I love being as surprised as anyone else at where the story takes me. 

WOW: Surprise is a wonderful thing to have when you are writing! What are you currently working on that you can tell us a bit about? 

Andra: My WIP is a speculative suspense that takes place mostly in Slovenia. I’m doing a lot of research on caves and spending a lot of time grateful my job doesn’t include dark, claustrophobic spaces. As a child, I climbed through a very small hole into a very cramped, crowded space and thought I’d never make it out alive. If I ever want to really make myself squirm and scream, I go back to that moment. But it will be useful while writing these scenes. 

WOW: That sounds incredible. What do you hope readers take away from reading your story? 

Andra: I watched a lot of Twilight Zone as a kid and will never stop loving the roller coaster of big reveals. With my short fiction, I want readers to enjoy that twist at the end that changes how you view the rest of what came before.

WOW: I love that too! Thank you for your time and I can't wait to see what you come up with next.


Renee Roberson said...

Great interview questions, Nicole!

Congratulations on placing in this contest, Andra! Your story was so well crafted that it also took me by surprise at the end. Thank you for sharing these insights into the craft with us.

Renee Roberson said...

Great interview questions, Nicole!

Congratulations on placing in the contest with this well-crafted piece, Andra. It also took me by surprise by the end. Thank you for sharing your insights into the craft of writing with us.

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