Monday, June 24, 2024

Kimberly Crow is an accountant living in Massachusetts with her two young children, husband, and roughly three billion LEGO pieces. When she’s not working or parenting (or picking up LEGOs), she writes novels and flash fiction, spends time outdoors with her family, and fantasizes about moving to London. Her flash fiction is featured in the literary journals, Every Day Fiction and the tiny journal.

interview by Sue Bradford Edwards

WOW: What was your inspiration for “The Chaperone?” 

Kimberly: I was at a local farm with my family one weekend. At the same time, there was a kid's birthday party--kids running everywhere. We were checking out the hay maze, and a random kid from the party said, "Here," and handed me his trash. I was a young mother then and thought, I must really be sending out mom vibes, or at least safe adult vibes. It got me thinking about how children view adults and strangers, and I knew this short experience would make it into a story one day. 

WOW: I had to laugh at your explanation.  Flash is such an abbreviated story form. Your story is rich in detail. How did you decide which details deserved a place in the story? 

Kimberly: I love detail, which is one reason I love flash. Every sentence matters, and as a writer, you get the opportunity to draw out details in unique and interesting ways. They're also a vehicle for characterization. For instance, at first glance, sea anemones are colorful and flowerlike. But from the mindset of a woman dealing with infertility, she immediately compares the tentacles to sperm. In a flash, I try to make each detail do double-time. That is, tell the reader about the setting and the characters. 

WOW: The setting can make or break a story. How did you select the setting for “The Chaperone?” How did you weave it into the story? 

Kimberly: Given that Ashanti had just come from a doctor's appointment, I needed a setting conducive to having kids around in the middle of the day. A field trip made sense, so then I had to decide where. An aquarium fit nicely because it's a contained space, unlike the sprawling layout of a zoo. Both locations have mamas and babies, but an aquarium also seems to correlate with gestation--life growing inside water. At the beginning of the story, Ashanti is trying to gather her thoughts, adjusting to the realization that she may never have kids. Enter a whole bunch of kids. As the story progresses, Ashanti is somewhat forced to interact instead of simply watching life behind the glass. Ultimately, the penguins allow her to act on her desire to be a mother. 

WOW: You’ve published two other pieces of flash in Every Day Fiction and the tiny journal. Writers often have themes that run through their stories. What do you see as the common threads that run through your work? 

Kimberly: Since becoming a mother, parenthood has been a common theme in my stories. The tiniest moments can make a huge impact. It's often a baby's giggle that makes everything right in the world or a tween's eye roll that sends a mother over the edge. Also, coming of age because that stage of life is so emotionally charged. There are moments from those years that everyone takes with them into adulthood. 

WOW: Tell us about your novel writing. How do the skills you’ve developed in writing novels play into writing flash? 

Kimberly: I'm (very slowly) writing my third manuscript. The process hasn't gotten any easier. If anything, I'm more "in my head" with this third one than with the previous two. The biggest lesson I've learned from outlining novels is that you have to think about structure—not only the beginning, middle, and end but also the character arc. As I mentioned, I love detail, so I often have to take a step back and make sure there's an overall shape to my story. Has the main character changed? Did I start the story in the right place? Is the theme coming across in an effective and/or interesting way? It's all fun, though. Thank you to WOW! for believing in me and for giving my story an audience!

WOW: And thank you for sharing something about your inspiration and writing process with us.  Good luck with Novel #3!


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