Leodegraunce: Abigail, please tell Leodegraunce readers a bit about your background.
Abigail Wyatt: I was born into a working class home in Aveley, just outside London, and at the age of eleven I was fortunate enough to win a place at grammar school. This led me into the teaching profession where I worked for twenty years. At my last school in Redruth in Cornwall I became Head of the English Faculty. I enjoyed my work but found it left me little time in which to write. I made the twin decisions to retire from teaching and to concentrate on my writing. This has not always been an easy path and I sometimes struggle financially but, if I had continued in teaching, I know I would never have written even a quarter of the material I have published in the last four or five years.
Leodegraunce: How long have you written flash fiction and what drew you to the genre?
Abigail Wyatt: I have been writing flash fiction, off and on, for about two years. As a writer who began with poetry and then moved into fiction, I find myself drawn to its strength and conciseness. In a piece of flash, as in any decent poem, you have to be utterly ruthless. I tend to revise endlessly and I try to make every word count. Flash fiction, I think, offers the kind of discipline which, if you submit yourself to it willingly, must make you a better writer than you were before you started out.
Leodegraunce: What are some of your recent works?
Abigail Wyatt: As a poet, I have been featured four times this year by Poetry24 which publishes work linked to news and current affairs. My most recent credit was for To Be or 36B, a Question of Identity which was published on 9th March in celebration of International Women's Day. Also, I was the featured poet in a recent edition of Word Salad and three of my poems appeared in last month's Welcome to Wherever. In terms of flash fiction, my stories, Into the Light and A Terrible Hush have appeared in consecutive editions of Word Gumbo while, towards the end of last year, I had pieces in Apocrypha & Abstractions and Long Story Short. My first published flash was An Outline which appeared in Rumble Magazine in October, 2010. I have an anthology of my short fiction, Old Soldiers, Old Bones and Other Stories due out soon with Simon Millon's One Million Stories.
Leodegraunce: What are some of your writing plans for 2012?
Abigail Wyatt: Firstly, I am putting the finishing touches to my second poetry collection, Moths and Nightjars, which I am planning to publish for Kindle in the next few weeks. My debut collection, Moths in a Jar (Palores), appeared in November, 2010 and these poems revisit and expand on some of its themes. Secondly, I am hoping to produce a collection of short fiction, by which I mean anything between 200 and 2000 words. Finally, over the next six months I plan to collaborate with my partner, David Rowland, over the writing of a thirty minute stage play which will examine some of the issues raised by the problem of 'home care'. This will be a new ground for both of us and I am certain it will involve a steep learning curve. There are bound to be other projects, too. I always try to take on too much.
Leodegraunce: What is your top writing tip for aspiring authors?
Abigail Wyatt: I am not sure that I am the right person to ask. At my age, you don't do it for the money or even in the hope of one day 'making it big'. All I can say is that, if you really want to write, then stop bleating about it and do it. I feel I can say that, though it may sound harsh, because it is a lesson I didn't learn easily. I allowed myself to be 'distracted' by too many other things. Now I write because it's what I love to do and I am running out of time in which to do it. Nothing focuses the mind quite so well as the prospect of senility and death.