Writing is so competitive that you cannot expect it to be handed to you. Jay Slayton-Joslin

Leodegraunce: Tell us about your background, Jay.

Jay Slayton-Joslin: I live in Beaconsfield, a small town near London. My passion for reading developed over lots of train journeys to college. I try and not be restricted by reading in just one genre. Just like travel, I believe that reading broadens the mind. Later this year I plan to study Psychology at University and hopefully make my living as either a writer or a psychiatrist.

Leodegraunce: How long have you written flash fiction and what drew you to the genre?

Jay Slayton-Joslin: I got into flash fiction as something to do in between writing longer stories, not to discredit flash fiction at all, though. I like the genre because it is almost a challenge to say something powerful in such a short space, rather than drag it across a 3000 word story. My favourite thing about flash fiction is that it is creatively refreshing. I think that if you write a good piece of flash fiction it revitalises your creative juices and allows you to tackle your next piece differently.

Leodegraunce: What are some of your recent works?

Jay Slayton-Joslin: I just had a piece published in Thunderdome for their resurrection theme. Also, this April I will have a piece of flash fiction in Short, Fast and Deadly. In the meantime, I run my own website where I conduct interviews with writers and link to my own creative writing. Hosting the site allows me to meet some fantastic writers and promote my own work.

Leodegraunce: What are some of your writing plans for 2011?

Jay Slayton-Joslin: Ideally I would love to finish my novel. I am working on one right now, but I have the habit of picking up projects, playing around with them and then putting them down to be looked at at a later date. I'm determined to get one of them finished this year, though, as well as build up my website and get my work everywhere possible. After finishing the novel, I will go through the process of editing it, sending it out and hopefully seeing it in print.

Leodegraunce: What is your top writing tip for aspiring authors?

Jay Slayton-Joslin: I think the best thing is to be proactive. Join writers workshops.  I'm in one right now at The Cult where I am with lots of other writers. Writing is so competitive that you cannot expect it to be handed to you. The whole part of my website is that I can conduct interviews with writers, famous and independent, and generate connections and friendships. Also, there is a market for everything nowadays. So pretty much just put the hard work in, and go out and get what you want.

 
 
James Beaton currently lives in Toronto. In his writing, he explores horror, absurd and dark themes often through psychological tensions, the supernatural and the bizarre. He has some short stories forthcoming and he is currently working on a novel.

I try to write every day; even if it is just something that is for me rather than something I will try to publish. James Beaton

Leodegraunce: James, what can you tell us about your background?

James Beaton: I started writing creatively a few years ago, although it is something I have always wanted to do. In my late teenage years, I would always dream of being a writer. Throughout my seemingly endless time in university my writing had to become much more academic. I studied sociology at the undergraduate and graduate level to which I credit many of my insights into the human condition. I find the marginal inherently fascinating.

Now I enjoy writing both surreal or dark humour and horror. My childhood still inspires me. I enjoy thinking about the strange experiences and interesting characters I knew when growing up in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

I spend my life these days in Toronto with my two black cats dreaming up new tales to tell.

Leodegraunce: What drew you to flash fiction?

James Beaton: I have always liked writing short stories but appreciate flash fiction because it requires such efficient storytelling. Sometimes when my paid employment requires more of my energy, I appreciate the challenge of writing a story in a night and then crafting it throughout the week.

Leodegraunce: What are some of your recent works?

James Beaton: As I have only recently started submitting stories in the past couple of years, I am relatively new to having published fiction work. That is why I am so excited to have a story published through Leodegraunce. I have a horror story called "The Figure" coming out in an anthology called After Dark: A Collection of Haunting Tales through Diversion Press. I have recently had  stories published online through Absent Willow Review and Danse Macabre, DM du Jour. My horror writing often explores supernatural or psychological themes. My humour writing delves into some of the more bizarre aspects of human behaviour often taking on fantastical or surreal qualities.

Leodegraunce: What are your writing plans for 2011?

James Beaton: I will continue to write short fiction and flash fiction stories. I have a book of fictional humorous dating vignettes I have just finished so I am going to try and see about getting that published. I also have a series of fictional vignettes about eccentric characters I will hope to have completed by early summer. In addition to all of this, I have a horror novel I continue to write.

Leodegraunce: What is your top writing tip for aspiring authors?

James Beaton: Everyone has their own approach that works for them. I have been blessed with a very active imagination, which is quite likely the result of a childhood where I spent a lot of time alone in the woods and on the beaches of the east coast. I had to learn to entertain myself so I would always dream up peculiar situations or stories. I look for inspiration from my life and the past and present people—and animals—around me. I even take inspiration from my cats.

I try to write every day; even if it is just something that is for me rather than something I will try to publish. I experiment with my writing, often pushing my own boundaries.  I write about things I enjoy because that is what maintains my interest. If I feel stuck on one piece of writing, I will turn to another piece.


 
 
Keep plugging away, despite the bad writing days (where you get three or more rejection notices in less than twenty-four hours), because the good days are exceptionally good. Steve Isaak

Leodegraunce: Steve, when did you begin writing flash fiction and what drew you to the genre?

Steve Isaak: I've been writing it for eleven years.

What drew me to flash fiction is that it inherently focuses on the key/character transformative moments - if it's well-written, anyway.  It cuts to the heart of the story/characters.

Leodegraunce: What are some of your published works?

Steve Isaak: I’ve had, or am scheduled to have, some of my stories and poems published in five or so 2012 anthologies.  I’ve self-published two anthologies, Charge of the scarlet b-sides: microsex stories & poems and Behind the wheel: select poems, with a third, Almost there: poems, scheduled for autumn 2012 publication.

I edit and post on writing on two websites, Reading & Writing By Pub Light and Microstory A Week.

Leodegraunce: What are your writing plans for 2012?

Steve Isaak: My plan is to get as many stories and poems published in as many worthwhile magazines as possible.

Leodegraunce: What is your top writing tip for aspiring authors?

Steve Isaak: Keep plugging away, despite the bad writing days (where you get three or more rejection notices in less than twenty-four hours), because the good days are exceptionally good.