Interview With Taria Karillion, Spring 2022 Flash Fiction Runner-Up

Tuesday, November 01, 2022
I'm excited to interview Taria Karillion, one of the runners-up in our Spring 2022 Flash Fiction contest. Before I share our interview, be sure you read her story, A Glimmer of Long-Necked Hope and then come on back.

First, here's a bit about Taria:

As the daughter of an antiquarian book dealer, Taria grew up surrounded by far more books than is probably healthy for one person. A Literature degree, a journalism course and some gratuitous vocabulary overuse later, her stories have appeared in a Hagrid-sized handful of anthologies and have somehow won enough literary prizes to fill his other hand. Despite this, she has no need as yet for larger millinery.

--- Interview by Nicole Pyles

WOW: First of all, congratulations on winning runner up! I was so intrigued by your story, and I love how it blended a nostalgic, joyful past with a difficult present day. What inspired it?

Taria: Partly an enduring childhood fascination with other countries and a resulting slew of foreign penfriends (air mail stationery still gives me a frisson of delight (sad but true)), and partly a recurring dream about searching for something amongst ruins.
WOW: That inspirational blend of reality and dream really shines through in this story in a wonderful way. When you first started this story, did you know how it would end?

Taria: I’m more of a plotter than a ‘pantster’, so an opening and ending will often occur to me first, usually leaving me to strain my brain cell to tie the two together!

WOW: I think that's a great approach! You still leave a great deal of surprise for yourself by not knowing what's in between. What is your rewriting and revising technique after you've written the first draft?

Taria: For me, reading a manuscript aloud helps, or - better still - getting someone else to read it aloud – it can be easier to hear parts that don’t work or ‘flow’. Jackanory fandom (an iconic children's storytelling TV show here in the UK) may also have a part to play in that!
WOW: I've heard many people find success with reading work aloud! I'm impressed with the number of publications and awards under your belt! What have you learned in the process of submitting your stories?

Taria: One gem of writers’ wisdom I like is this: You wouldn’t build a window without first measuring the space it’s for. Now, that’s fa-a-a-r more easily said than done, I know, but learning the preferred style or 'flavour' of the publication or competition you’re subbing to is really important, so reading previous winners’ work, or featured stories can be key. After a while you’ll also get to know which markets like *your* style.

WOW: That's true! It's important to know about a publication before you submit. What advice do you have for writers who feel defeated about getting rejected?


  • ‘Keep on swimming’, ie. persevere! You’re not going to succeed if you’re not sending stories out. If, as time goes on, your acceptance rate improves, even a little, you’re probably on the right track. With magazine subs, it’s usually just a yes or no, but competition shortlistings will reassure you that you’re meeting a standard (but don't bankrupt yourself in the process - some entry fees are crazily expensive, BUT there are several free or low-cost online contest databases that list affordable ones.) 
  • Don’t take it personally - all art forms are subjective; among visitors to an art gallery there will be vastly differing reactions to the same painting; it’s a matter of taste. You have to find publishers whose tastes match your own.
  • Keep working on your craft; grammar, plot, characterisation, theme, setting, dialogue, etc. Pinterest is a great free resource for this, plus there are countless free courses online too.
  • Keep your motivation up by writing what you’re passionate about; the drive that gives you will make it more enjoyable and less like hard work. The ideas and emotions will flow more naturally and authentically, and will resonate with readers more engagingly.
WOW: Great advice! Not taking it personally is huge. What are you currently working on that you can tell us a bit about? 

Taria: In recent weeks I’ve been hugely chuffed* to be included in a fundraising anthology by a fuel poverty charity. It’s hugely rewarding to be a part of making a difference to current issues. To that end, I’m also pulling together my first collection of flash and short stories. It’s likely to be mostly Sci-Fi and/or Cli-fi (speculative, climate-themed fiction) as I enjoy writing stories that weigh up solutions to impending global challenges.

(* ‘chuffed’ – British slang for a high level of satisfaction that makes you grin, but stops just short of being slap-worthily smug.)

WOW: It must be such an honor to be part of something so wonderful! I can't wait to see what you come out with next. Thank you for your time today! 


Anonymous said...

Refreshingly honest upbeat view if life as an author. More from this person please

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