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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Interview with Jennifer Braunfels, Fall 2023 Flash Fiction Contest Runner Up


Jennifer is a writer and English teacher from Maine. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, As You Were: The Military Review, the Whiskey Tit Journal, and Free Flash Fiction. Her piece, “Surrender Ridge,” placed in the top ten in the WOW! Women on Writing 2022 Fall Flash Fiction contest and she has also received Honorable Mentions in two other WOW! Women on Writing contests. She is currently in the process of getting her first novel, Waiting, published. You can learn more about her at her website


----------Interview by Renee Roberson 

WOW: Welcome, Jennifer, and congratulations! My favorite thing about “Well-Kept” is the main character Ben’s voice. How did you first get the idea for this story? 

Jennifer: I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer almost a year ago, so of course, cancer keeps showing up in my stories. As I suspect most writers do, we write what we know. And I have found that writing about what I’ve been going through has been very cathartic. I’ve written some non-fiction, but I love expressing some of my deepest fears about this disease through fictional characters to see what they’ll do with my fears. 

WOW: I'm so sorry to hear that.  I hope that writing through this diagnosis has been helpful on your healing journey. You’ve had success before having your fiction published, including here in this contest. What is it about writing short stories that appeals to you? 

Jennifer: I like the challenge of telling an entire story in a short amount of words. Then, you have to make every sentence count. I suppose I also like to write short pieces because I’m a high school teacher. Student attention spans get shorter and shorter each year, so I spend a good deal of time reading short stories that might appeal to them. I often find inspiration in other people’s stories, and I model my writing after what would appeal to a broad audience and hold their attention. 

WOW: I get that! I think everyone's attention spans are getting shorter, to be honest. It's fun to experiment with different lengths. How do you find potential markets for your writing? 

Jennifer: I devote a good deal of time to perusing Clifford Garstang’s literary magazine rankings for fiction. It’s fun to dream about one day seeing my name in one of the publications at the top of his list. I also spend a good deal of time reading different literary magazines. If I read a story in a magazine that I like and the voice resonates with me, I start researching what types of work that particular magazine is looking for. And if it looks like that magazine might be interested in my style of work, I submit to them. 

WOW:  That sounds like a great method for finding new markets. How do you balance working full-time and your writing? Are there specific times of the day you reserve for your creative work? 

Jennifer: I often wake up with a story idea in my head, and I know that if I don’t get it down on paper, I’m going to lose the details. So, I usually get out of bed before everyone else, go downstairs, and start writing. The story doesn’t always flow immediately, but I just write the words down on paper and then sift and rearrange them later. Sunday mornings are usually quiet around the house, and that is when I get a lot of writing done. 

WOW: You are currently seeking publication for a novel. Could you tell us a little more about what it’s about? 

Jennifer: Thirty-year-old Grace moves to a coastal town in Maine for a year with her boyfriend, Liam, to fix their broken relationship. However, Grace’s focus quickly shifts when she meets their new neighbor, Annie, a woman twice her age. Annie has a sharp tongue, a thick New York accent, and a mammoth personality. The two become instant friends. As her relationship with Liam begins to fall apart, Grace meets Matthew, who might be the perfect for her. It’s not until Grace accidentally learns that Annie has terminal cancer, a secret that Annie wants to withhold from Grace, that Grace starts to question everything about her life. With humor at the forefront, the novel follows Grace on her inspirational journey, where she discovers who she really is and what she wants out of this one life we’re given.

WOW: Sounds like a great premise for a novel, we wish you continued success on your publishing journey! Thank you again for joining us today. 

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:37 PM

    Your novel sounds like it will appealing to a large audience.


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