If you know the breadth of what's possible and aren't tentative about what's under the hood then there's very little beyond your reach. Jack Sheldon Anderson
Leodegraunce: What can you tell us about your background, Jack?
Jack Sheldon Anderson: I was six when I wrote my first short story ("Terror in the Darkness", available in my parents garage, second cardboard box on the left). Hungry to tell stories I studied English at Grove City College and upon graduation promptly put my knowledge of literature and criticism to work investigating insurance claims among the pit bulls and pipe breaks of Philadelphia. I am married to a gifted artist. I have three astonishing and precocious children and work as a civil servant by day. This keeps me busy enough that, however essential and rewarding, it's very difficult to hew out time in which to write from the hardwood of the workaday. Thankfully I have long train rides and manage to get a good bit done while others are huddled around the glow of their eReaders.
Leodegraunce: Why do you enjoy writing flash fiction?
Jack Sheldon Anderson: I've worked at this unusual evocative form for several years now, and I'm still surprised by its ability to be elusive. Constraints can be liberating, and I always find myself wanting to rise to the challenge of foreshortened mechanics and narrative. Flash fiction claims common blood with both poetry and fiction and opens one up to negative space and metonymy as much as it emphasizes the importance of finding the exact right word, phrase, meter and voice. Watching other writers do it well never ceases to amaze me or, if I'm honest, make me jealous.
Leodegraunce: What are some of your recent works?
Jack Sheldon Anderson: Dozens of my short stories have appeared briefly, like damselflies, in the slush piles of literary magazines on three continents. One such story, and I'm sure you'll agree it's a scandal that it hasn't been eagerly snatched up and put in print, was about a man fantasizing about fighting a tiger at the zoo. I'm grateful and pleased to be published for the first time in Leodegraunce.
Leodegraunce: What are some of your writing plans for 2011?
Jack Sheldon Anderson: My wife and I have emerged from a year of creative hibernation following the birth of twins and vowed to regain a deliberate life. I write a good deal of poetry; I expect to complete a novel within the year and will continue sending off short stories like bottle rockets.
Leodegraunce: What is your top writing tip for aspiring authors?
Jack Sheldon Anderson: Read great literature and study grammar. If you know the breadth of what's possible and aren't tentative about what's under the hood then there's very little beyond your reach. Anyway I'm still thoroughly "aspiring" and can only march along with everyone else by the lamplight of that advice.