Smoking With M. Lynx Qualey

Read the Story December 15, 2004

How does your background in journalism affect your fiction writing?

I suppose that, because of my background in journalism, I write quickly. I type like a fiend. My husband, who used to work for me when I was an editor, always made fun of my thunderous typing.

You’ve done a great job creating tension in your story. What are some of the difficulties you’ve encountered with flash writing, and what draws you to short pieces?

The biggest difficulty I’ve encountered with flash writing is making a scene and not a story. I think it’s very tempting to write a single scene, a part of a larger story, and then brush your hands together and say: “I’m done, it’s flash.” Flash has to be as well crafted as a longer piece.

Being a new mom, do you have any advice on how to write in the midst of chaos?

Move to Egypt. I suppose that might not work for everyone, but we have very affordable child care. I don’t think I could write if I didn’t have a babysitter come over and take Isaac for a couple hours every day.

Living in Egypt must allow you to view your past from a greater distance. Does this allow you a sense of freedom when writing?

Absolutely. There’s something about living abroad—and, more specifically, the pace of life here in Egypt—that really frees me to think and write in a way that living in America never could. There were just so many things I had to accomplish in America. Things to be checked off lists.

Where does the rhythm in your writing come from—the characters, the narrator’s voice, the setting?

I think it’s a mixture of all the stories I’ve ever read, shaken up, plus a dash of the way English is spoken in Minnesota, the way Russian is spoken in Khabarovsk and the way Arabic is spoken in Cairo. I’ve been heavily influenced by Egyptian writers. I love Egyptian short stories.

About the Author:

M. Lynx Qualey ( lives and writes and raises a one-year-old boy in Cairo, Egypt.

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.