Featured Author - Alanah Andrews, whose story, "Earth II" is included in the anthology "A Flash of Words" alongside my own. "Earth II" is an interesting look at a dystopian future where the planet humans inhabit looks nothing like the Earth we know today.
What was the inspiration for your story?
I sat back and looked at the way we were treating the world around us. We don’t seem to be doing a very good job of looking after the Earth, and I wondered what we would do in the future when our waste production was past the point of no return. I figured that once we had wrecked the Earth, we would head to a different planet.
Was there a time when writing where you had to sit back stunned at what just happened? If so, what was it?
I started writing as though the colony was on a different planet (Mars, actually). All of a sudden, they were actually still on Earth. Hello, plot twist.
What do you think is the key to writing a compelling flash story?
1) Starting with the action – if you spend too much time ‘setting up the scene’ you will have reached the word limit before you even get to the story.
2) Word choice – although this is important in writing of all lengths, with flash fiction you really have to weigh up each and every word. Is it necessary? Is it the best word for this moment in the story?
3) A killer ending – flash fiction stories need to pack a punch.
Do you write every day?
Generally, but I don’t have a hard-and-fast rule about it. It depends what deadlines are looming! When I wrote my first novel, I was working full time and had to get up at 3am each day in order to get it finished.
Was this the first time you wrote a flash fiction story?
No, I actually began writing 100-word stories for a website called Nibble Reads in 2017. I entered my first writing competition with a 50 word story, and I was very surprised that it won. Since then, I have had flash fiction and short stories published in a range of places. My short story collection ‘Beyond’ includes 30 short stories and flash fiction pieces.
What was your favorite story in the book besides your own?
Lozzi Counsell’s ‘The Consequences of Grief.’ It made me teary.
Apart from writing, what do you do for fun?
I spend a lot of time hiking in the bush and exploring ghost towns. I also love to sing and dance, but I mostly do those in the house where no one can see (or hear) me.
What is your writing space like?
I write while sitting on the couch. It means I can still be ‘present’ for my children rather than being shut away in a study. I also carry a notebook everywhere, and do a lot of plotting while watching my kids swim or play tennis.
Did your story turn out the way you planned, or were there some surprises along the way?
My original plan was that humans were setting out to colonise Mars, and when they got there, they would find remnants of life from millions of years ago. At first, they think they have found proof of aliens, but no – it’s human. Yeah, my idea was that humans had started out on Mars, trashed it, and then moved onto Earth. I had this super cheesy idea that when humans on Mars were dying out, they sent their genetic material to Earth on a small ship. The ship crash-landed on Earth and was actually the ‘meteor’ that wiped out the dinosaurs, and then this was the first ‘seed’ of humanity. I’m pretty glad that this soon changed, as I’m not sure that it would have been accepted into A Flash of Words if this was still the plot :D.
How long did it take to write your story?
I started this story with the goal of entering it into a writing competition about saving the environment. I missed the deadline, and put it aside for a month, and then wrote it in a couple of days for AFOW.
Do you think writing flash fiction is a challenge with the word restriction?
Yes, it is a challenge, but it definitely hones your skills. I actually wrote a blog post about how useful it is to write flash fiction here: https://writingcooperative.com/in-defence-of-flash-fiction-…
If you were on death row, what would you want your last meal to be?
Indian food. All of it.
What is a quote that you find inspirational/motivates you to write?
‘Do something every day that scares you,’ and ‘Every journey begins with a step.’ I also listen to S Club 7’s ‘Bring it all Back’ when I’m lacking motivation.
You can find Alanah Andrews's story and many others in "A Flash of Words" available here: http://www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/a-flash-of-words
Or on Amazon!