is a North Florida native who writes fiction in a variety of genres including horror, science fiction, romance, erotica and mystery. He has published a children’s book and a string of novellas and short stories and is always working on something new. A wordsmith at heart, he has always been fascinated by poetry and flash fiction.Keep editing until your work sings
. Jamie FreemanLeodegraunce
: Jamie, tell us about your background.Jamie Freeman
: After years of writing artless corporate policies, memos and newsletters, I escaped and began writing fiction about three years ago. I've been producing short fiction and novellas and publishing at a steady clip since then.Leodegraunce
: How long have you written flash fiction and what drew you to the genre?Jamie Freeman
: I am a terrible poet, but I love poetry. Flash fiction allows me to write fiction with the precision of poetry.Leodegraunce
: You write in a variety of genres. What are some of your recent works?Jamie Freeman
: Dreamspinner Press published my novella, The Marriage of True Minds
at the end of 2009. Over the past few years, I have had a series of short stories and novellas published in anthologies of erotica, speculative fiction, horror and romance.Leodegraunce
: What are some of your writing plans for 2011?Jamie Freeman
: I feel the need to expand beyond the traditional short story form. I plan to focus on flash fiction and longer novella/novel length works this year.Leodegraunce
: What is your top writing tip for aspiring authors?Jamie Freeman
: Don't be afraid to edit. And keep editing until your work sings.
Kurt Newton's fiction, both flash and longer, has appeared in Weird Tales
, Space and Time
, A cappella Zoo
, to name a few.Just be true to yourself. Kurt NewtonLeodegraunce
: Kurt, what can you tell us about your background?Kurt Newton
: I've been a lifelong resident of Connecticut. I currently work as a Heath Physics Technician and write every spare moment I get. I've been writing genre fiction for over fifteen years now, with two short story collections, one novel, and nine collections of poetry published.Leodegraunce
: How long have you written flash fiction and what drew you to the genre?Kurt Newton
: I was writing flash fiction back when they were still calling them short-shorts and vignettes. I began as a poet, which came easy. Short stories, on the other hand, were more difficult for me to write. My poet sensibilities wanted to strip everything down to its core, so my first fictions usually never made it beyond 600 words! That and the fact that if I didn't finish a story in one sitting it usually didn't get completed. So the short-short form suited my style as well as my attention span. Nowadays, even though my writing runs the gamut from poetry to novels, I still enjoy writing these very brief snapshots; I still subscribe to the philosophy that less is more; and with the explosion of flash and micro fiction in recent years due to the Internet and Twitter, the opportunities for publication have increased dramatically.Leodegraunce
: What are some of your most recent works?Kurt Newton
: Last year I won A cappella Zoo's Apospecimen Award
for flash fiction in Issue #4. I also have a 128-word flash appearing in the newest issue of Weird Tales
: What are some of your writing plans for 2011?Kurt Newton
: I'm currently expanding a short novel I wrote several years ago. There are a handful of short stories I intend to work on and, hopefully, finish. Poetry and flashes come out of the blue, and I make sure I have pad and pencil ready when they do.Leodegraunce
: What is your top writing tip for aspiring authors?Kurt Newton
: Write what interests you. It sounds simple but too often writers write what they think will interest others. Just be true to yourself.
Fouad Oveisy is currently studying English literature part time at Ryerson University. He also edits the literature section of Persepolis, a student magazine. He has published a number of short stories in community magazines, and Afra Publications is publishing his first collection of short stories some time next year. Fouad has two novels in writing, one near completion.
Personally, I think, it is only after you gain the ability to write from the perspective of a different person that you can really write a full-bodied literary work that does not sound like a cacophonic autobiographical soliloquy on perpetual repeat. Fouad Oveisy
Leodegraunce: Fouad, you have an interesting name. What can you tell us about your background?
Fouad Oveisy: Let’s start with a formal introduction, haha. Hello, my name is Fouad Oveisy, Canadian, with a Kurdish background. I came to Canada when I was in high school, and since then life has been a relentless pursuit of adjustment and perfecting English as a third language. I got a degree in Mechanical engineering from Waterloo, because that is what first generation immigrant kids initially do, but now I’m working full time as an engineer and simultaneously (but part time) chase after a masters degree in English literature at Ryerson. I started writing short fiction in Farsi when I was in high school and began typing my first novel in English (under the desk, at work) about three years ago during a co-op internship. I’m looking forward to a full-time career in writing literature and cannot wait!
Leodegraunce: What about flash fiction? What drew you to it?
Fouad Oveisy: Flash fiction was there from day one, really. Sometimes an idea is an infant, it whines in your head, and if you try to teach it sophisticated language, well, it ends up peeing you off. These infants come and go. Most of them are simultaneously born and aborted, for example, just before you fall asleep. Some of them you grow into short stories, and very few interbreed and survive as novels. The rest, however, become flash fiction. Flash fiction, to me, is like the Japanese haiku or a supernova: It is immense, primordially composed, powerful and glaring, yet brief, and if good, eternal. Also, flash fiction is the best way to preserve the intrinsic core of an idea, so if one day you decide to develop it into a short story or even a novel, you know exactly how you felt and thought about it at its moment of conception.
Leodegraunce: Tell us about your upcoming selection of short stories.
Fouad Oveisy: Well, first things first, it is in Farsi. If I translate the title correctly, it’ll turn out something like ‘The High Council-General of the Colonies of Tamara’. The title is taken from my favorite story of the collection, a postmodern story about a stripper called Tamara and the platonic relationship of the narrator with her polymorphous nature. The ten piece collection covers a wide range of topics and literary styles that I experimented with during my novice writing career, selected from a stack of over fifty short stories. I am working on translating some of the better works into English, although getting some of the literal and metaphorical equals 'just right' is proving to be a difficult challenge.
Leodegraunce: What are some of your writing plans for 2011?
Fouad Oveisy: In addition to the usual writing and scrapping? I’d say finish, edit and submit more works, or basically get out there more. That is my resolution. After a latency period during which (I think) every writer is afraid of submissions and rejections and racks up piles of stories and poems that never see the light, there comes a time when you have to face it and find out what you’re really made of. I am also going to edit and polish my finished English novel Pscyclone: The Paradox of the Monkey, Bullet, Hunter and the Tree. It has been a longtime in writing, and I am determined to find it a publisher sooner than later. I’m thinking maybe work on a couple of movies scripts here and there? In my opinion, it’s always good to go multi-genre.
Leodegraunce: What is your top writing tip for aspiring authors?
Fouad Oveisy: As cliche as it may sound: Get out of your comfort zone. I only gained the confidence to call myself a writer a few months ago when, for the first time, I wrote a story from the perspective of a character that did not resemble me or did not remind me of myself, and at the same time, felt real, authentic and interesting. Personally, I think, it is only after you gain the ability to write from the perspective of a different person that you can really write a full-bodied literary work that does not sound like a cacophonic autobiographical soliloquy on perpetual repeat. So I’d say, get out of your comfort zone, get to know your opposite(s), dive deep in their worlds, indulge, survive, resurface, mend and then write.
Angela has self-published two romances and is the author of the zombie blog, After Old Joe
. She writes occasional movie reviews and articles for e-zines and zombie stories for Lost Zombies
. She also writes erotica under the pen name, A. R. Shannon.My top writing tip for aspiring writers is, never give up. Angela Sargenti Leodegraunce:
Angela, please tell Leodegraunce readers a bit about your background.Angela Sargenti
: I’ve been writing since I was about ten, when my dad brought home some beat-up old typewriter for us to play with. I took to it right away and have been writing ever since. I’ve self-published two novels, The Wendy House
and Tropical Temptation
, both of which are available on Amazon.Leodegraunce:
How long have you written flash fiction and what drew you to the genre?Angela Sargenti:
"Vlad" is the first flash fiction I ever wrote. I tend to be sort of a minimalist these days, I guess, and it appealed to me when I read the guidelines. I happened to be in a good, creative mood that day, so the story just came to me.Leodegraunce:
You're a huge zombie fan?Angela Sargenti:
Zombies are so fun to write about, although I haven’t done much of it lately. Leodegraunce:
You're also an erotica writer. What are you working on for 2011?Angela Sargenti:
I’ve been on an erotica kick, and I publish stuff under my pen name, A. R. Shannon. Right now I’m working on rewriting a novel I wrote a while back, and I’m also working on a novel about a sex-crazed young girl.Leodegraunce:
What is your top writing tip for aspiring authors?Angela Sargenti:
My top writing tip for aspiring writers is, never give up. Take a break from writing for a while if you need to (and who doesn’t?) But never give up entirely. It can happen.
Flash fiction requires a number of things, and the best flash fiction has a strong ending. Here is a good article on flash fiction by Suzanne Pitner
Richard Thomas was the winner of the 2009 "Enter the World of Filaria" contest at ChiZine. He has published dozens of stories online and in print, including the upcoming Shivers VI
anthology with Stephen King and Peter Straub. His debut novel Transubstantiate
was released in July of 2010. If it inspires you, instead of crushes you, then maybe you've got a chance. Richard Thomas Leodegraunce
: Richard, please tell Leodegraunce readers a bit about your background.Richard Thomas:
I started writing seriously about five years ago, when I took a couple of online classes at The Cult
. It reawakened my desire to write. Studying with authors like Craig Clevenger, Monica Drake, Max Barry, and Jack Ketchum really got me excited to write again. So I've spent these past five years honing my craft. In that time I've published dozens of stories, online and in print, won a few contests, and started my MFA. I had my first book come out in 2010, Transubstantiate
, and have really just been having a lot of fun reading tons of shorts stories and novels, and experimenting with my voice.Leodegraunce:
How long have you written flash fiction and what drew you to the genre?Richard Thomas:
I've been writing flash for a couple of years. I love the idea of every word counting, it's almost like poetry, just whittling it down. Whether it is a 24, 100 or 500 word story, the economy of it, the way it hints at so much more, the tip of the iceberg, is really appealing to me. If 1000 words is the longest that we we allow for flash (according to Duotrope) then I think one of my first great experiences with flash was winning a contest at ChiZine, for their "Enter the World of Filaria contest"
in 2009. It showed me that you could write really short fiction, and still have a story, a moment in time, something compelling. Also, in 2010 a good friend of mine Chris Deal put out a slim collection of flash called Cienfuegos
, and that really showed me how in 100 words you could create a whole world, show a lifetime, really pack an emotional punch.Leodegraunce:
Your debut novel Transubstantiate
was published in 2010. Tell us about it.Richard Thomas:
That was pretty thrilling as well. It's a neo-noir, speculative thriller, which really just means a contemporary dark story with a fast pace that asks a lot of questions. It has a bit of fantasy, SF and horror in it, but then again, what life doesn't? It's kind of a combination of Lost
, The Truman Show
and The Prisoner
. I was a big fan of Lost
, and there are certainly aspects of the horrific, the fantastic, and science fiction in that show, but people probably wouldn't label it as any of those genres. It's told in seven first person perspectives, each person given the chance to redeem themselves, after having committed horrible mistakes, crimes against nature and man. I'm also a big fan of Stephen King and his novels with large casts (The Stand
, Under the Dome
) so while this book isn't 1000 pages, it's something I think that may have started when I was a kid, this idea of multiple-perspectives, people coming together for a common causes. You can get all the information at Transubstantiate
- read a sample chapter, peep the blurbs, hear a podcast, all kinds of things.Leodegraunce:
What are some of your writing plans for 2011?Richard Thomas:
I'm hoping it'll be the best year yet for me, as I'm always trying to grow and learn and get my work out there. I have a story coming out in the Shivers VI
anthology (Cemetery Dance) with Stephen King, Peter Straub and many other talented authors any day now, and other work in Pear Noir! #5
, Murky Depths
#15 this month, and PANK
as well, online in March. I'm putting the finishing touches on my next novel, Disintegration, and am getting that to a prospective agent soon. You can read a sample chapter of that book up at What Does Not Kill Me
, as well as any of my other work. And I'm hoping to wrap up my MFA this year, as I enter my thesis semester in a week. So those are my big plans: get an agent, sell my next book, publish more stories, and then hopefully start teaching at a college or university. I'll be at AWP in Washington D.C. as well, next month, and I'm trying to get out to more writer's conferences as well.Leodegraunce:
What is your top writing tip for aspiring authors?Richard Thomas:
Read. Study the masters in every possible genre that you can stomach. Read literary novels and short stories, but also read horror, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, you name it. See what these successful authors are doing right, absorb, and apply it to your own work, to develop your own unique voice. If you pay attention, you'll see how different authors handle the narrative hook, plot, setting, character, conflict, resolution. You'll see how different authors handle subjects like sex, violence, family, love, hope, loss. You'll see how it is done, and what you're up against. If it inspires you, instead of crushes you, then maybe you've got a chance. Go for it, get your work out there, be fearless.