Interview with Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar: Winter 2024 Flash Fiction Contest Runner Up

Tuesday, July 09, 2024
Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar is an Indian American writer. She is the author of a short fiction collection Morsels of Purple and a prose chapbook Skin Over Milk. She is currently working on her first novel. Her stories have been published in numerous anthologies and journals including the Best Small Fictions 2022 and 2023. She is the winner of the National Flash Fiction Day Micro Contest and the runner-up for the Larry Brown Short Story Prize. Outside of her day job as a technologist, she is a submissions editor for SmokeLong Quarterly. More at, Twitter:@PunyFingers Instagram:sara_siddiqui24

---interview by Marcia Peterson

WOW: Congratulations on your top ten win in our Winter 2024 Flash Fiction competition! What prompted you to enter the contest?

Sara: I’ve seen friends’ posts on social media about winning the WOW contest. That combined with the fact that this contest is always open propelled me to submit my story to the Winter call.

WOW: Can you tell us what encouraged the idea behind your story, “The Rest Area at Chautauqua Lake?”

Sara: I know the setting well. My husband and I used to stop at this rest area after dropping our son to college. Sometimes, I peeked into the cars parked beside us and wondered about the people inside them. Those thoughts came to mind one morning and took the shape of this story.

WOW: What do you enjoy about flash fiction writing versus the other kinds of writing that you do?

Sara: Flash fiction is quick and effective for both the reader and the writer. With my full-time job, I am hard-pressed to find time to write. That’s where Flash comes to the rescue. I can write the first draft in one sitting and then complete the story in three or four revisions and that leaves me with a spurt of writerly satisfaction.

WOW: You mention that you’re working on a novel. Can you tell us anything about it, and what your novel writing journey has been like so far?

Sara: My novel is a story of a girl growing up in the backdrop of a loss in the family. She tries to emerge, crystallize her beliefs, and determine her identity and place in the world.

With an unrestricted word count, I have the freedom to build the characters with more depth, expand and detail the scenes, and interrogate internal thoughts with more clarity. On the flip side, it’s hard to maintain the focus and energy throughout the chapters. I have to constantly rein in my thoughts which tend to wander in different directions.

WOW: Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Sara. Before you go, do you have a favorite writing tip or piece of advice you can share?

Sara: Take breaks but don’t give up. It’s alright to not write anything for some time, but please return to the keyboard. We need to keep reading and writing alive in this age of AI and robotics.



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