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Niles Reddick, Short Story Semi-Finalist, LISP 2nd Quarter 2020

- Can you please tell us about your daily life?

I’m an early riser. That’s when I write and submit. In the evening, I read and edit. During the day, I work at the University of Memphis, Lambuth, in Jackson, Tennessee.

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

I began writing when I was in high school, but I didn’t get published until many years later in my late twenties. I’ve been very honored to have been nominated for a Pulitzer for my novel Drifting too far from the Shore and  a finalist for an EPPIE for my first collection of stories Road Kill Art and Other Oddities. I was a national ForeWord Award finalist for my novella Lead Me Home. I have been a Pushcart nominee for my stories “Drunk” in Brilliant Flash Fiction and “The Pool” in The Olive Press, and I was a nominee for a Best of the Web award for “Worm Grunting” published in The Harpoon Review

- How does it feel to have your work recognised?

It always feels great to be recognized, but what feels better to me is that someone truly enjoyed my story, that it had an impact on someone’s life.

- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Short Story? 

None of the process is actually easy, but for me, the writing is the easy part. The editing is tougher, and even more tough is the entire submission process and perhaps, waiting.

-  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?

Like most of my short fiction, I wrote the piece in a day, edited the next, revised, and sent it out. There’s not really a story behind it, except I just had the idea of a woman working in a grocery store and being exposed to all of these people who weren’t practicing social distancing or anything else when the Corona virus was at its height and I imagined she might be supporting this would be poet who struggles constantly, like all writers.

- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a 1500-word short story?

I believe anything can be a story. I don’t believe it writer’s block, but what I think is important is being realistic about dialogue. You have to hear it in your mind and know it’s what people really would say. Also, the story has to be somewhat realistic, unless you’re writing some specific genre that wouldn’t be. If you get stuck, set it aside and go to a different project or READ. I often read others when I’m stuck and need a break. I always get more ideas from others.

- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing competitions? 

I don’t really know. I never did enter contests at all, and I didn’t like reading in public. I think this is only the first or second contest I’ve entered.

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

Absolutely. I wished I would have entered more contests earlier in my life than waiting. I believe trying and not giving up is likely one of the best lessons in life.



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