Smoking With Katrina Denza

Read the Story October 15, 2004

I love the deconstruction of frostbite into “frost” and “bite.” What does such a deconstruction mean to you?

I love words. I love the sound of different words and the unique visuals of each. Split apart, frostbite seemed to sum up how that character felt in her family of three: frozen-out and in pain.

Your work has such a wonderful lilting rhythm. Something that just happens or something you consciously work on?

Thank you, Randall. With my shorter flash pieces, I try to stay as close as possible to what comes out in the first draft—I’m wary of working the energy out of a sentence. That said, I usually put my piece away for a while and then read it aloud. And my husband Tom, an excellent first reader, will let me know if a sentence or a word seems off.

Every story of yours, I think, breaks new ground. As amazing as each one is, the next one seems to top it. Do you feel the same way?—and what’s the key to such continual growth?

I’d like to think my work is getting better, although it’s very difficult for me to be objective in that regard. Maybe as long as a writer continues to write, it’s inevitable the work will improve in some way.

“She’ll listen to their coded language, be the half-melted cube of ice that tempers their passion, all the while holding close the fact that she feels something they don’t.” Not sure that a sentence can get much better than that. Do such sentences come out fully formed or do they develop through a longer process of writing and rewriting?

Some do. For that sentence, the initial idea came out on the page, but the words were a bit wrinkled. I had to play with them and smooth them so they could be understood.

You had the number one story on Zoetrope. How has that changed your life?

Well, it felt nice for 58 seconds. Maybe even a full minute. Then I got back to work

About the Author:

Katrina Denza lives in North Carolina with her husband and two sons. Her short fiction has been published in Ink Pot, Lynx Eye, and New Delta Review, among others.

About the Artist:

A native of Ohio, Marty D. Ison lives with his wife transplanted in the sands of the Gulf of Mexico. He studied fine arts at Saint Petersburg College. In addition to the visual arts, he writes poetry, short stories, and novels. See more of Ison's work here.