Juniper Russo is a freelance writer native to the Southern U.S.

Your imagination and writing skills will atrophy if you don't exercise them. Juniper Russo

Leodegraunce: Juniper, you're from a unique background.

Juniper Russo: I come from a very complex and diverse family, and I've spent most of my life living in the Deep South. My family history, childhood and innate personality have always created an odd collision of paradoxical lifestyles and philosophies. I believe that my combination of unusual experiences have enabled me to become successfully creative.

Leodegraunce: Why do you enjoy flash fiction?

Juniper Russo: I started writing flash fiction when I was in high school, although I didn't write it seriously until about two years ago. I find it intriguing that talented authors can express a complete plot in just a few simple words. Because of the fast-pace of modern American culture, our minds are now engineered to expect instant summary and resolution in a plot. I'd like to be one of the writers who can use flash fiction to favorably advance the art of writing, instead of simply feeding the culture of distraction.

Leodegraunce: What are some of your recent works?

Juniper Russo: I've only recently allowed myself to publish fiction stories, because, until recently, I struggled with the feeling that I was making myself naked and transparent to anyone who read my fiction works. I don't like the feeling of a reader looking inside my mind, and that's precisely what fiction facilitates. For this reason, "Bumblebee" is my first "officially" published work of fiction. I am currently seeking a publisher for my first children's book, which is about diversity in animal families.

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

Juniper Russo: I am in the process of writing "Eye of Jove," a science fiction novel set on a terraformed version of Europa. I'd  like to finish the novel by the end of the year and find a publisher for my children's book. I'd also like to expand my nonfiction market to include more print-based publishers and small business clients.

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

Juniper Russo: Write as much as you can, as often as you can. Don't let a day pass without writing something-- a blog, an email, an article, a flash fiction. Your imagination and writing skills will atrophy if you don't exercise them. I lost nearly a year of experience in my late teens because I was afraid of my career as a writer. In that time, I lost most of the skills I had learned. Had I kept going despite my anxiety, I believe I would be far more successful now. No matter how you feel or how busy you are, write something every day.