Lili Maylat Interview, 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 a Kibbutz in the Jordan Valley of Israel with my husband and two daughters.
I've been a Fang Shui consultant for ten years. My purpose in work is to make a better environment for my clients in their home and businesses.
I also write and give lectures and workshops in my field.
- When did you start writing? How often do you write? We want to learn all about your writing life!
I used to write poems and other things in my adolescence but I was afraid of what people would think so I tore them to pieces.
I read a lot, adventure books, romances, fantasy, whatever book that got in my way I at least gave it a chance.
Friends always liked the cards I sent them for birthdays but apart from that, I didn't do anything with my urge to make writing my friend. I am sorry about that but at the same time, I understand that the little girl I was didn't want to share her feelings with others and was protecting her heart.
At work, I had a friend who always told me that I should write. She said this just on the basis of stuff that I wrote at work and letters to our boss. When I left work she gave me a very nice notebook and a set of pens which I still have :)
It was only when I opened my business and started writing letters to my customers that it ended up being a blog where I write about work and my point of view about life.
Then I came with the idea about writing books for children explaining the Fang Shui. One of them was
published in Israel by the name: "The rotating house of Yin and Yang" (Saar publication, 2014).
You can also find it in English as a digital version in Amazon.
I also started writing short stories and one of them won the first prize in 2013, "Between the evening and morning prayers".
This story was translated to Yiddish by Dr. Adi Mehalel and been published at the "Afn Shvil" magazine in New York (2014).
I won another first prize with my short story "To drift away" at 2015.
It took me a while to get there but I am writing every day. I wake up early and work for about two hours before getting into my day. These days I am working on the third draft of my first novel.
- 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?
When I saw your mail with the subject "Congrats",' I called my two girls and read it together with them. I was very excited and it made me very happy. I dream of being a worldwide author and it feels like a great start.
- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Flash-Fiction?
You know, at first when I started to write short stories, I didn't get it. I always think in long sentences. My friend use to repeat the same to me saying, "A short story is like a song". I never got it until one day I did. I needed to write a 500 words story and it was almost 900 words. How did I do it? I had a deadline so I worked hard and then I began to like this little "game" of transferring three sentences into three words. I read it and thought 'wow, it is much better like that'. This story ended up being my first winning and publication.
Therefore, the hard part is also the best part because I get much satisfaction from finding a short way to say the most important message.
- 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 wrote this story a few months ago because I had to; it just came out of my heart.
I never knew my grandparents on my father's side. They came as Iraqi refugees to this young country and the living conditions weren't the best. They got sick and one year after another, my father lost them both. He was only 14 years old.
However, my father always chose life, he had his friends, and people loved him. One of them was a holocaust survivor, Mr. Moshe Pomerants. He and his wife, Rachel, never had their own children so they were the grandparents to my brothers and me.
This story based on a chewing gum incident that Moshe, may he R.I.P. told my father.
- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a 300-word flash-fiction story?
I can only tell what I do in the hope it will help some of the readers.
I write it without thinking about how long it is. Sometimes, like this story, I have more than double of words to cut. The first half is quite easy but when I get to the last 20 words to cut, I need to leave it and come back the next day and then I have it.
You need to try to cut the things that you believe you can't go without. Sometimes you're right and you put them back but sometimes you realize while reading out loud (I always do that) that you can do without them.
- What's the best thing about writing competitions?
The deadline certainly works for me. I write anyway and finish stories but the motivation to be published, which mean for me to be heard, drives me to participate.
-Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on flash fiction story and LISP?
Of course. It is great experience in a supportive environment. All the interaction with LISP was nothing less than pleasant and I never felt like someone was judging me. The feeling was that you encourage me to sit, write, and thank me for sharing. I do appreciate it and for me it feels like a safe environment to be in.