Many thanks, Gill, for the invite to take part in your blog about The Best of CafeLit 12. I was delighted to have my story, Jubilee, included in the latest CafeLit anthology.
What inspired you to write your story 'Jubilee' ?
Invitations were issued to write a story based around the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and it was a joy to write my tale. I wanted the celebrations to be a positive turning point in the life of my character, Dorothy. I also wanted her to show her family she was still capable of producing surprises. She gets to do both here.
But it was the Jubilee celebrations which turned things around for Dorothy. Without them, she would not have moved on. It was also lovely to write a story with a specific time marker acting as a frame for my story. I don’t often get to do that and it means this story is also historical fiction due to that.
How did you get to find out about CafeLit?
Initially online. I’ve been writing for CafeLit for some time and it is always a joy to have work on site with them. It is even more special when a story of mine is selected for their print anthologies. I also enjoy seeing familiar names and new names in the books. It’s a great balance.
Do you enjoy reading short stories? What’s special / important about them?
Yes. I love short stories and flash fiction and am published in both. There is something about the short form which captures the moment. I love that. You have these moments which could never be expanded out for a novella or novel but would make a charming short story or piece of flash fiction. You have stories working here which could not work in any other format. A moment in time can be lost in the sheer scale of a novel. I also think short stories and flash fiction can be great ways of encouraging the reluctant reader. They may be more tempted to read something short as opposed to something long, at least to begin with. The idea is to get them hooked on to reading.
Tell us a little more about your writing.
As well as writing flash fiction/short stories, I blog regularly. I write a weekly column for online magazine, Chandler’s Ford Today, often on topics of interest to writers (which can be found at http://chandlersfordtoday.co.uk/author/allison-symes/).
I also blog for Authors Electric and More than Writers, the blog spot for the Association of Christian Writers.
I write for and am part of the editorial team for Writers’ Narrative, which is written by writers for writers.
I also run flash fiction and editing workshops. I sometimes judge story competitions too.
I was one of the winners of the Waterloo Arts Festival Writing Competition three years in a row. I was impressed with how the fifteen winners each year came up with such different stories when we were all writing to the same theme and word count.
I have had flash stories broadcast on North Manchester FM on the Three Minutes Santa show hosted by Hannah Kate.
I have also appeared on Wendy H Jones’s The Writing and Marketing Show podcast. One appearance there was specifically on flash fiction and it was a joy to be able to talk about that in more depth.
The buzz of being published is a great joy, an ongoing one too!
Allison Symes, who loves reading and writing quirky fiction, is published by Chapeltown Books, CafeLit, and Bridge House Publishing. Her flash fiction collections, Tripping The Flash Fantastic and From Light to Dark and Back Again are out in Kindle and paperback.