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Interview with Mary Thompson, 4th Quarter 2018 Recommended Writer

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

I’m from the north of England originally but have been living in South London for the last fifteen years. I work as a freelance English teacher, and tutor privately and at university so every day is completely different, (which I love).I try to devote at least a couple of hours per day to writing, editing, submitting and reading and I’m a first reader for a journal called Craft Literary which also takes up some of my time. I adore endurance exercise and am currently training for the London Marathon.

- When did you start writing? How often do you write?

I always wrote diaries when I was younger, and took a few writing courses but I’ve only recently started to seriously focus on it. I tend to be a bit haphazard with regard to writing (and most other things!), and write down ideas as and when they come to me, but I have participated in quite a few online workshops in the past year which have helped immensely as they’ve provided me with a deadline. I’m naturally quite lazy so that has really helped!

- How did you feel when you learned that you are on the Recommended List of The London Independent Story Prize? How does it feel to have your work recognised?

I was thrilled! I tend to lack confidence so any form of accolade is a sign that I’m doing something right, something I often find difficult to believe.

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

The best thing is being able to tell a meaningful story in a few words. I also love the fact that flash can often be written very quickly. My favourite stories have come to me in dreams or on the way home after a night out. The hardest thing is knowing where to start and when to end. Most writers new to flash fiction will use too many words and explain more than they need to. I think I’m growing out of that habit and I now edit ruthlessly.

- 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 actually wrote it fairly quickly for a workshop assignment. It was based on a relationship I had in my teens, the first time (I believe) I fell in love. Life felt very beautiful back then.

- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a 300-word flash-fiction story?

Write the full story first then think about the essence and the feeling you’re trying to convey and edit it down. As with any piece of fiction, there needs to be a narrative arc so some sort of change must take place. The flash fiction pieces I love the most are those with a lot of white space i.e. it’s what’s not said that makes the story.

- What's the best thing about writing competitions?

As so many people are writing short fiction nowadays, it’s a tremendous boost and a sign you’re on the right track and perhaps have a smidgeon of talent.

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

Yes, definitely enter LISP! It’s very well run and professionally organised. This is the first time I’ve entered so I’m chuffed to have been recognised, especially when there were so many wonderful, well known flash writers taking part.

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