Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Carie Juettner taught seventh grade English for nineteen years before leaving the classroom to write full time. She is the author of The Ghostly Tales of Dallas, The Ghostly Tales of Delaware, and three more books in the Spooky America series for young readers. Her poems and short stories have appeared in over fifty print anthologies and online publications, including Daily Science Fiction, The Twin Bill, and Havok. Her story “Phoenix” was a runner-up in WoW’s Fall 2018 Flash Fiction Contest. Carie lives in Richardson, Texas, with her husband and pets. She spends her free time reading, painting, doing yoga, and volunteering with a local wildlife organization. To learn more about Carie, visit or sign up to receive her newsletter. 

If you haven't read her story, "Sam," take a moment to do so.  Then come back and learn more about her writing process.

-------interview by Sue Bradford Edwards-------

WOW: What was the inspiration for “Sam”? 

Carie: I wrote “Sam” one week after my own hysterectomy, so much of it is drawn from my personal experience. Although it is not a true story, there is a lot of truth in it. For instance, unlike my narrator, I was rarely alone during my hospital stay, thanks to my husband and family making the time to be there with me, but I did tell my favorite nurse how pretty she was multiple times while I was still on heavy pain meds. (She was! I hope she enjoyed hearing it.) 

While I was recovering at home in bed, I had a lot of time to read and write. With this big life event so fresh on my mind and the scars still fresh on my body, I found myself mostly journaling about the surgery and how I felt about it both physically and emotionally. This was my first time staying in the hospital as a patient, and I wanted to capture the experience while it was still new. I decided to write a fiction story about it and try to focus on the setting details. Since my own procedure went smoothly, thankfully without any complications or surprises, I gave the fiction story a twist at the end. 

WOW:  And what a twist!  Revision is a vital part of the writing process. How did “Sam” change between the initial draft and the draft you submitted? 

Carie:  I couldn’t sit up to type for the first week after my procedure, so the original draft of “Sam” is scrawled in my journal in handwriting that most people would have trouble deciphering. The story poured out of me complete, so it didn’t change plot-wise during revision. But when I typed it up later, it was too long, so I had to shorten it by taking out unnecessary details and tightening up the language. 

WOW: Knowing what you can cut seems to be a vital part of writing flash. What advice do you have for our readers who have never written flash before? 

Carie:  Try it! Writing flash fiction is fun, and if you struggle with being too wordy (like me) it’s a great exercise in revision and refining word choice. I suggest thinking small and starting with a single moment, then making the reader feel like they are in that moment with the narrator. I think it’s important to ground the reader in real life details they can hold onto, even if the story has a supernatural element. 

WOW: The supernatural seems to be your realm. What projects are you currently working on and where can our readers find your work? 

Carie:  I write for Arcadia’s Spooky America series, which allows young readers to explore the history of haunted places across the U.S. My “Ghostly Tales” books cover the creepy characters in Dallas, Austin, Burlington, Delaware, and New England. The books can be ordered online or from any bookstore, but you can also get a signed, personalized copy for the ghost-loving kid in your life by contacting me through my website: 

In addition to ghost stories, I also write humorous middle grade novels with animal characters. I’m currently seeking an agent for my book about a raccoon trying to leave a life of crime. The best way to stay up-to-date on my events, book-related news, and ghostly encounters is to subscribe to my author newsletter.  

WOW: How does “Sam” differ from what you normally write? 

Carie:  Most of my writing is either funny, scary, or aimed at young readers. “Sam” is none of these things, but it still found its way to publication. This shows that writers sometimes need to venture out of their comfort zones and try something different: a new genre, a new style, a new audience. You never know what might happen!

WOW:  We are so glad that you ventured outside your norm.  Thank you for stopping in to share your ideas with our readers! 


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