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Interview with Alexis Wolfe, The London Independent Story Prize, 4th Quarter 2018, Highly Recommende

Can you please tell us about you? Where do you live and how is your daily life?

I’m a former TV Production Manager and now a stay-at-home parent to three boys. I live in Berkshire and write when my children are at school.

When did you start writing? How often do you write? We want to learn all about your writing life!

I’ve always written stuff and am never without a notebook and pen. But I didn’t really focus on writing seriously or submitting anything until about two years ago. Since then I’ve had creative non-fiction and poetry published online and been successful in a couple of short story contests, even winning a writing retreat which was amazing! I wrote the first draft of a novel in 2016 and am hoping to return to editing it next year. Generally, I try to write several times a week and go through phases of writing every day if I’m getting lots of ideas. I’m usually enrolled in a workshop or creative writing class of some sort too, as a way to stay motivated as I can find that a challenge. No one is going to be checking up on me to see if I’ve written anything each day, so I like to make myself as accountable as possible by having ‘homework’ to complete!

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?

I was surprised and very thrilled. I think this was the first time one of my flash pieces had been selected in a competition. I didn’t expect to come anywhere as I am fairly new to writing flash.

What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Flash-Fiction?

I love how inventive flash fiction writers can be, the creativity around the form and also how the essence of a flash piece can be created quickly. The hardest thing I find is making the language both lively and concise enough, I tend to write longer pieces and spend ages editing them down to fit the word counts. Sometimes my flashes go the other way and grow into short stories…

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?

In this instance, the story popped into my imagination after being given a workshop prompt. Usually my stories have a seed of truth somewhere in then, something I’ve heard about, or remembered, maybe eavesdropped on. Sometimes I have an image or a phrase which has stuck with me for some reason. I use that as a starting point and I’m off. I remember this story was written in my car as I waited to pick the children up from school and the character just appeared from nowhere.

What's the best thing about writing competitions?

I love entering writing competitions at this stage of my writing development because if I get a story longlisted or shortlisted it is such a boost. It encourages me to keep writing. Plus competitions have deadlines, and I seem to need those!

Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on flash fiction story and LISP?

Definitely, give it a go. There are also some wonderful and supportive workshop teachers out there if you feel you need some tips before you launch into writing flash fictions. I’ve taken online courses offered by Meg Pokrass and Kathy Fish, both of which I found very instructive. It’s also a way of meeting other flash writers which is great. Once you have a couple of polished pieces, submit!

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