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A Flash of Words 2, Author Interview - Carl D Jenkins

As part of the release of the latest "Of Words" Anthology, which I have a short story in, I'm putting out a new author interview every few days. Today, I am featuring author Carl D. Jenkins, whose story, “Sunset in a Cup,” is included in the anthology, A Flash of Words 2, alongside my own brand-new story, “Scatter”

Do you find the flash fiction word count a help or a hindrance?

Both, honestly. I enjoy fleshing stories out more, building character and place, but I’m at a stage in life where the longer stories take more commitment of time. Not so much for the writing phase, but for the editing phase. But I really prefer reading a full-length novel to a short story.

With flash fiction, I can take a prompt and bang out the first draft in a couple of hours. If I don’t get back to it for a couple days, the story can still marinate in my head and when I go back to edit it, the ideas of what to adjust are there for the whole story. Turning it into a true first draft is generally quicker and my efforts at editing don’t get bogged down in other daily commitments.

With longer pieces, the urge to tinker is greater, the amount of time I need to let the story rest to be out of it is longer, and my editing process has far more passes, meaning more time for life to interrupt. The research time is also greater. Almost every story benefits from research, and the more pieces you have to blend, the easier it is to find yourself in a rabbit hole spanning several dimensions.

Do you write in the same genre as your reading preference, or do they differ?

Yes, but mostly because I don’t put a lot of thought into genre as a reader or a writer. There are a couple of genres I avoid, but I like to blend things together. So, genre becomes a marketing question, not a reading question. The story is the story and I’m not going to artificially constrain it. As a writer, I’ll edit for consistency and then figure out the marketing after the characters have had their peace. As a reader, I’ll start with new releases, staff favorites, and proven authors and branch out from there. A decent cover, a responsible blurb, and passable random passages throughout the book if I crack the cover will get you home with me faster than which placard sits above your shelf space.

Which do you prefer writing, the hero or the villain?

I find this a silly question. Everyone is the hero of their own story. So, when you write the character, no matter what their role in the story you present, you write a hero. Everyone has depth, everyone has flaws, everyone has motive. Give a character that respect and they’ll play their part seamlessly.

What other games did you consider before choosing the one you wrote about?

Presumptuous. I’d like to pretend I have the story written every time and just jump at the right fit for it when opportunity knocks. But, you’re right. I wrote this one in response to the call for submissions, and it was not the only piece I wrote.

My first story idea involved an ancient game called Mehen for which the actual rules are lost. Several hundred pages into research of ancient Egyptian gods, kings, landscapes, politics, parallel games and period names and I decided I could never feel like the story would be complete in just 1000 words. I love what I came up with, but the character’s future had become too clear and I went the route that ultimately earned me the nod. Both stories could be played in the dirt, but one of them was destined to outgrow the garden.

Who is one of your favorite authors and why?

There are many, many good authors spinning even more good tales. I’m going to go with Tana French because I am reading her latest release now. I found her when her first book came out in hardcover and I’ve read every book she’s put out the same way since. Her stories occupy the same universe and are generally connected in some way, but not to a degree that requires reading them all or reading them in order. I’ll simplify to say she’s an Irish Detective writer.

Her second book, The Likeness, took a relatively unlikely coincidence and built a wonderfully complex background for it that placed the main character in a position to make a choice between the life she had built, and one that seemed to have been built for her. What she would do became a bigger-question even than the whodunnit the story rested upon. You felt for all the characters, and left wondering if you would have made the same decisions as the villains. It’s solidly one of my top three books and the best anyone else can hope for is to force me to change that number to top four because there is no way to place any of the contenders above another.

Pick up a copy of A Flash of Words 2 in paperback or eBook at any book retailer worldwide, including Amazon. If you purchase the paperback directly from Scout Media (click the logo below), you will receive another “Of Words” anthology of your choosing in eBook for FREE, as well as a FREE companion soundtrack download!

A Flash of Words 2 — Scout Media (scoutmediabooksmusic.com)