Interview with Fay Lee, The London Independent Prize 2nd Quarter - Highly Recommended Writer
- Can you please tell us about you? Where do you live and how is your daily life?
My name is Fay and I live in the North West of England with my family in a place called Nantwich. It is an historical market town and I've lived here since I was 15, when we moved from Manchester to be closer to extended family. I prefer to live surrounded by people, and where I live now is a good mix of being close to peace and tranquillity but close to cities and people and hubbub too. I only last a short space of time in peaceful surroundings before I crave company!
I love travelling and seeing new things and spending a lot of time with my friends and family. I listen to the radio nearly all day every day and love reading.
- When did you start writing? How often do you write? We want to learn all about your writing life!
I have always written for as long as I can remember. I started writing poetry and stories as a child and was supported by my family early on to always keep on writing. My pen is often much more articulate than my mouth and for me, things just flow easier on paper. At the moment I write very often. I will write one piece every two or three days and I am obsessive about finishing something once it is started. I keep going until I feel it fits.
I do go through phases where I feel less of a need to write. When I write less I read more.
Usually I write poetry, and recently one of my poems was longlisted in the Fish Poetry Prize competition. I started entering writing and poetry competitions at the beginning of 2018, and recently started my Instagram account sharing some of my work - @TheStubbornPoet.
- How did you feel when you learned that you were longlisted for The London Independent Story Prize?
How does it feel to have your work recognised?
This was the best news for me. I immediately felt emotional and quite overwhelmed - all I ever want with my writing is for it to resonate with someone. And whenever I find out it has I am so thankful and feel humbled and validated all at once. Thank you for the opportunity.
- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Flash-Fiction?
The best thing is that it doesn't take the patience that writing anything longer does - for me this is great as I'm quite impatient! It still takes time and care obviously. The hardest thing for me is having faith in myself that I'm doing the character(s) justice in so few words.
- How did you come up with the idea for your LISP selected story? Is there a story behind your story? And how long have you been working on it?
I worked on it longer in my head than I did on paper - I wrote it quickly, then edited it over the course of a week or so until I was happy with it.
'The Other Place' is a personal one for me. My mum died last September after a short illness. She was our sun and it was a devastating time. We were total opposites - she was very vivacious and ambitious. Mum always wanted me to pursue my writing and was my biggest cheerleader early on when I first tried to write. She always encouraged me to do more with my work, so I thought I would finally just take the chance and do it.
Every day people are told they are dying, and they must make choices and be practical as well as cope with the emotional and physical implications their illness may have.
I would like us to talk about it more and I suppose I thought a good way of doing that would be to tell a story of someone who was making choices at the very end of their life. Maybe it was therapeutic as well - an imagining of how I thought it might have been for her.
- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a 300-word flash-fiction story?
When I am writing anything with a shorter word limit I try and make every line or two tell its very own story. I asked myself 'does each sentence tell the reader something they need to know?' When I've finished I also go back and make sure I've kept the integrity of the story in tact as I found that it was quite easy to loose parts of the meaning while trying to meet the word count.
- What's the best thing about writing competitions?
I do love a time limit as and find that I am more productive when I am working to a deadline. The thought of winning something is very exciting and I like the thought of getting feedback on my work from like-minded people.
The best thing for me about entering competitions, is that it has made me look more carefully at my writing and that of other entrants and consider how it is received instead of just having the release of writing it. I love the feeling of someone relating to something I have written and am slowly starting to become more confident with sharing my work in the hope it may resonate with others.
-Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on flash fiction story and LISP?
Yes I would definitely recommend entering a competition and having a go at flash fiction. It was a first for me (inspired by reading the winning stories from the last competition LISP ran) and I think it's such a powerful way to tell a story. It's been such a positive experience for me. Thank you again for the chance to enter.