_Born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia, J. Chris Lawrence spent much of his life traveling. With a love for fiction, he fancies himself a writer, and hopes to convince others of the same. His work has appeared in Every Day Fiction magazine and is forthcoming at 50 Word Stories.  Visit his blog at J. Chris Lawrence.

There is always room for improvement, so get out there, join some workshops, read as much as possible, embrace life experiences as fodder for fiction, and always look for that new challenge that will push your boundaries. J. Chris Lawrence

Leodegraunce: Please tell us about your background.  

J. Chris Lawrence: Though born in the Blue Ridge mountains of West Virginia, I spent most of my childhood traveling and living place to place. I had something of an unorthodox youth as a result, experiencing many different facets of American culture. I was raised in a deeply artistic environment, and dabbled with sculpting, music, sketch work, et cetera before finding my true passion with writing. I'm a bit of a late bloomer though, as I have only just started pursuing a professional career this year. I currently live in Georgia with my wife and two sons, and hope to one day be able to live off of my writing alone.

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

J. Chris Lawrence: Not very long to be honest. I started writing flash fiction just under a year ago. What first drew me into the genre was the challenge of it. I have a natural tendency to write larger work, so when I stumbled across some websites that specialized in stories under a thousand words, five hundred words, two hundred words, et cetera, I wondered how it was even possible. I tend to gravitate toward opportunities to improve myself, and I felt that learning flash fiction would do just that. I soon realized that writing stories with such limitations is something of an art form; a unique breed of literature in a class all its own.  

Leodegraunce: What are some of your recent works?

J. Chris Lawrence: I recently had a handful of acceptances for more flash work at Every Day Fiction magazine, which specializes in stories of a thousand words or less. Among these, the best would be "The Widow's Tale" published October 28th, which received some great reviews from the public. I also have a piece forthcoming at 50 Word Stories, which marks my shortest work yet, and another flash piece due in the December issue of Apollo's Lyre that I'm rather proud of, titled "An Exchange of Words."

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

J. Chris Lawrence: I would certainly like to continue working on more flash stories, but my goal for the rest of this year, as well as the next, is to focus on longer projects. I hope to have a completed novel ready for submission in 2012, and a few longer short stories published as well.

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

J. Chris Lawrence: I suppose I still consider myself something of an aspiring author, but my top tip for others is actually two which come hand in hand. The first is to never quit trying. Tenacity is what wins this game. Write a novel, if it doesn't sell, put it in the drawer and write another. The second is to never quit learning. Writing is a craft that cannot be mastered. There is always room for improvement, so get out there, join some workshops, read as much as possible, embrace life experiences as fodder for fiction, and always look for that new challenge that will push your boundaries.
 
 
_My poetry and short fiction have appeared in magazines and anthologies on both sides of the Atlantic, including The Guardian, Mslexia, Route 16, The First Line and Short Fiction. I was the winner of the 2009 Commonwealth Short Story Competition.

Don’t sit on a rejection but get straight on with another submission – with ten more submissions – to avoid becoming despondent.
Jennifer Moore

Leodegraunce: Jennifer, please tell Leodegraunce readers a bit about your background.

Jennifer Moore: I decided to start writing seriously while I was at home with my two children and have more time to devote to it now that they are both at school.  My short fiction and poetry have appeared in a number of publications on both sides of the Atlantic, including The Guardian, Mslexia, The First Line and Short Fiction.  I was the winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Competition, 2009.

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

Jennifer Moore: I’ve been writing and submitting flash fiction for five years now.  I love its immediacy (both as a writer and a reader) and the challenges of working within such a tight form.  The possibility of traveling from an initial line or idea to a complete story in just a few hundred words, or less, is always exciting. 

Leodegraunce: What are some of your recent works?

Jennifer Moore: My short story "Slugs" appears in the November edition of In the Snake Magazine and "Swimming with the Fishes" appeared in All These Little Worlds.  I won an Honorable Mention in this year’s Wergle Flomp poetry contest with an Edward Lear parody "The Don With the Luminous Prose."  I’m currently working on a conspiracy novel for teenagers, set in the near future.

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

Jennifer Moore: I’ve set myself the task of finishing the first draft of my novel by Christmas – it’s a tight deadline but I find deadlines help keep me focused.

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

Jennifer Moore: I’d say spread your net wide, both in terms of trying different writing styles and also when it comes to finding markets for your work.  Don’t sit on a rejection but get straight on with another submission – with ten more submissions – to avoid becoming despondent.  Some of my top successes have been pieces that other editors rejected out of hand.