Interview with Flash! Friday founder, Rebekah Postupak

FFO Staffer, Patrick Icasas, had the pleasure of ‘sitting down’ (Who actually does in-person interviews anymore?) with Rebekah over a virtual cup of coffee. Here’s what he learned:

Q. Can you tell us a little about Rebekah Postupak and who she is when she’s not writing?

A. Like all civilized writers, when not writing I am fretting about not writing, and I am spending all available brain cells (which for me is not many) plotting dragon battles and reimagining fairy tales. Growing up TV-free in a little village on an island in Asia meant my best friends were djinn, fauns, and the Rohirrim—well, anybody, really, mad enough to wield a sword on horseback (here’s looking at you, Robin McKinley. I blame you entirely for that morning I rode bareback into the sea because it sounded romantic; you did not warn me riding bareback is not for the inexperienced).

Today, though I have a day job as a personal assistant and I’m the married mommy of two totally mischievous dragonlings, my best (human) friends remain those who understand about what might be. More: what can be, for those who have the eyes to see it.

Q. Your bio says you got kicked out of Westminster Abbey. How’d you manage that?

A. For me the more important question is, How does one not??

Q. Who are the Shenandoah Valley Writers?

A. SVW exploded out of the madness of NaNoWriMo 2012; I was co-Municipal Liaison for the Shenandoah region with brilliant co-conspirator Susan Warren Utley. We had such a blast cooking up writerly schemes during NaNo, we realized the only logical course was to continue scheming together all year long. SVW today consists of many dozens of powerhouse writers, quite a few of whom have earned their dragon crowns at Flash! Friday and play vital roles in that community. Our home base is on Facebook, which means online write-ins are able to (and do!) happen at any time. I can’t imagine a successful writerly life without SVW.

Q. How did Flash! Friday get started?

A. When I stumbled into the world of flash fiction in April 2012, several writers were taking turns hosting free, community judged contests on their blogs. Getting to know these writers and sharpen my writing skills with insanely short and fast contests is addictive, let me tell you, and when for one reason or another the hosts started dropping out, well…. I had to launch my own. Two years later, the Flash! Friday community hasn’t just won a place in my heart; it owns my heart, lock, stock, and dragonly barrel. (Thank God for steampunk, or that analogy would make no sense whatsoever.)

Q. What do you think makes flash fiction so compelling, as both a reader and a writer?

A. The heart of humanity is story. It’s all the rage and violence of who we are set against a backdrop of who we were meant to be. Flash fiction is the micro-iest microcosm of that tension: depth and complexity and longing crammed into a profoundly delicate and precise sort of form. It’s prose’s version of the haiku. The literary version of stuffing twelve clowns in a tiny car. Whether you read or write flash, once you start, you just can’t look away.

Q. What advice can you give authors who want to win a Flash! Friday contest?

A. The key is not to obsess over winning*, and instead focus on crafting a perfect piece of flash. Carve out for it an enticing beginning; sculpt textured, nuanced characters to drive the plot; give it a humdinger of a punch at the end. Find your own voice and write it so magnificently, you dream of someday giving that voice a novel. When you succeed, your readers will feel the same way.

* If you learn how to do this, please contact me via the Flash! Friday site and share your secret.

Thanks, Rebekah!  And good luck to all the entrants!