Interview with Annie Dawid, 2nd Place Winner, LISP 3rd Quarter 2018.
- Can you please tell us about you? Where do you live and how is your daily life?
Although the last few years have been devoted to mothering and teaching, I’m a writer at my core.
My three books of fiction, none agented, have been published by a commercial press, a university press and a literary press, in that order.
York Ferry: A Novel (Cane Hill Press 1993); Lily in the Desert: Stories (Carnegie-Mellon University Press 2001); and
And Darkness Was Under His Feet: Stories of a Family (Litchfield Review Press 2008). I live in the mountains of Southern Colorado at 8,000 feet with my dog. My son is leaving for college and so I’m an empty nester, though always a single mother. Excited to try to be a full-time writer after being a full-time mother — along with lots of other things — after 19 years.
- When did you start writing? How often do you write? We want to learn all about your writing life!
In my early twenties, I decided to dedicate myself to fiction writing, sitting beside the Lac d’Annecy in the French Alps, in response to my writing teacher’s letter telling me how difficult the writer’s life can be. At that time, I didn’t know what I would do for a career — teaching was NOT on my radar then — but I know I wanted to devote whatever time I had to writing stories. Later, I began teaching and realized that the “summers off” element of the teaching life was the perfect answer to my quandary.
I like to write on my laptop lying on the couch, looking out at the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. If I get stuck, I revert to a manual typewriter — I collect them and have many — and type on that, remembering Virginia Woolf and her seven drafts of every novel, each letter painstakingly typed on a keyboard where every stroke is intentional.
- How did you feel when you learned that you are on the Highly Recommended List of The London Independent Story Prize? How does it feel to have your work recognised?
Learning I’d placed in the London Independent Story Prize was a thrill for me as I hadn’t received any accolades in two years — and the last was also from the U.K. — the 2016 International Rubery Award in Fiction. My maternal grandmother was born in Essex, and my ties to England remain powerful.
- What's the best thing about writing competitions?
I’m the kind of writer who loves a deadline, having been trained as a newspaper reporter. I’m not terribly disciplined in an everyday way, but when I have a deadline I will meet it! Similarly, I am just about never late to appointments. It’s a character thing.
- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Flash-Fiction?
My flash fictions tend to be self-contained parts of longer pieces, although I have also written some as ends in themselves. Read your work aloud. Make sure it sounds natural on your lips and to the ear. The aural/oral quality of fiction is just as important as it is in poetry. The best thing is the concision. A flash fiction is like a poem in that way. Though I have written and published poetry — three upcoming in the brand new UK publication ACHE — I am a prose writer at heart. The worst thing is what’s left out, but of course, there are longer stories to explore those aspects.
-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?
My story is about a girl’s encounter with her own history with her murdered sister’s past in the form of letters written before her sister’s death.
I had moved to a new city and met the parents of a murdered young actress, an only child. I imagined what it would be like if there had been a sister, a sister who was far less accomplished.
-Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on flash fiction story and LISP?
Yes. I think flash fictions are especially good for trying on one idea over and over again until you get it right, especially a brief encounter.