“Like Some Gigantic Shining Pearl”: An Interview With Guest Reader Lori Sambol Brody

by Shasta Grant See all Guest Readers
story art

What themes do you find yourself frequently writing about? What themes are you drawn to when reading?

I find myself writing about motherhood, the relationship of mothers and daughters, and what I can usually categorize as coming-of-age stories.  Stories about the dangers of being a girl and a woman in this world.  These are also the themes I’m drawn to when choosing a book to read.

I’m currently working on a flash novella about the women who support superheroes, trying to upend the cliches and tropes.

Where do you write?

I write anywhere I can when I find time: early at work when no one else is in, in the car as I wait to pick my daughter up from ballet, at home hiding from the kids in my bedroom or in my home office.

What is one thing you love about writing flash fiction?

I love the flexibility and structure of flash fiction. I know this sounds contradictory. You think immediately of the restrictions when writing flash fiction – that you need to adhere to a certain word count, shrink the story to its core, have some sort of movement if not a complete arc, have an emotional impact, and make sure that each detail and each line of dialogue can justify its reason for being there. But there’s a wildness and freedom in writing flash also. You can jettison a traditional element of a short story (no dialogue, no setting), use elements of poetry like repetition and cadence that would not work in a longer story, write it in fragments or one dense paragraph. A tension always between structure and freedom. I guess that’s how I write flash fiction: I chew on an idea for a while, coming up with a first line, some sort of arc, a last line. This could be over a space of weeks, or just a day, thinking of the story as I drive or as I wash dishes or put the kids’ lunches together. And then I write wild: I scrawl a draft in longhand or type on the computer, a run-on sentence in one paragraph that can last for pages.

Editing is another subject entirely.

What kind of story would you love to see in the queue this week?

A story that gives me the feels, that makes me shiver at the end, that makes me want to cry, that makes me want to sit back and hold the last image in my mind like some gigantic shining pearl.

And something double-spaced.


About the Reader:

Lori Sambol Brody lives in the mountains of Southern California. Her short fiction has been published in SmokeLong QuarterlyTin House Flash FridaysNew Orleans ReviewThe Rumpus, and elsewhere. Her stories have been chosen for the Wigleaf 50 and The Best Small Fictions 2018 and 2019 anthologies. She’s an assistant flash editor at Split Lip Magazine and can be found on Twitter at @LoriSambolBrody.

About the Interviewer:

Shasta Grant is the author of the chapbook Gather Us Up and Bring Us Home (Split Lip Press, 2017). She was the 2016 SmokeLong Quarterly Kathy Fish Fellow and she won the 2015 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest. Her stories have appeared in Hobart, matchbook, MonkeyBicyclewigleaf, and elsewhere.