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Interview with Sally Johnson, The London Independent Story Prize 2nd Quarter 2018 Recommended Writer

- Can you please tell us about you? Where do you live and how is your daily life? I live in the US, on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, and I work in elementary education. I’m a lifelong reader and I’m passionate about inspiring the children I work with to be curious and passionate about all areas of learning. - When did you start writing? How often do you write? We want to learn all about your writing life! I started writing when I was very young, probably very close to the age of my elementary students, and up to this point my writing life has been very private. It is essential to my emotional health. I try to write every day and, like most people, there is always a struggle to decide when a story is finished. I hope that now that I’m (finally) ready to engage with other writers and share my work that struggle will be easier. - 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? I was so pleased to see that I was included in the longlist. The email was a welcome sight in my inbox! - What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Flash-Fiction?

The best and hardest thing about writing flash fiction is one in the same for me: the short form, the constraint on word count. If a story is going to be so brief every word matters and must be sincere. It’s a fantastic challenge, especially when you think it’s going well. - 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? There is no real story behind my flash fiction story, but I think a lot about the social implications of the technology we use every day because it has grown and evolved so quickly in recent years and will probably continue to do so. When I was a child no one imagined anything like the internet we have now, the devices, or how integrated and essential they seem to be in our lives. ​​- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a 300-word flash-fiction story? Read a lot of short fiction and flash fiction first, then just go for it. It also helps to set a story aside and revisit it much later. - What's the best thing about writing competitions? Having a deadline, a motivation to finish the story, ​​the chance of winning, getting recognised by a professional organisation, communicating with other writers or a networking opportunity to meet with like-minded people? I think all the points raised in these questions are positive aspects of writing competitions, but the most motivating for me include having a set deadline and clear guidelines for what qualifies for submission. I’m also excited by the idea of being in touch with other writers, especially those who enjoy writing and reading short form fiction and flash fiction. -Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on flash fiction story and LISP? Definitely. Even if the form seems like it might be a struggle to write give it a try, the constraints might help you find a fresh new take on an old idea.

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