SmokeLong Quarterly

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Smoke and Mirrors—An Interview with Debbie Kinsey

Interview by Cyn Vargas (Read the Story) June 22, 2015

Debbie Kinsey

Art by Ashley Inguanta

This story is so intriguing. Have you considered making it into a longer piece?

I struggle to write longer pieces, even when I intend to, so normally my answer to this would always be no. But not in this case. I feel there’s more to this narrator’s story—how being surrounded by objects telling her she’s not wanted has haunted her for her whole life without her knowing it, but also then what it means to discover both this “haunting” and that neither of her parental relationships were what she thought. So, we’ll see!

The father in the story believes girls are made of sugar and spice. What do you believe they are made out of?


What interests you about the flash form?

I think good flash fiction is both a whole entity in itself, and a small fragment that speaks of something greater/wider than itself. It’s both a house and a window. It’s incredibly difficult to get that balance, and I hope one day to write something that finds it.

What’s the special furniture the father made for the narrator?

I imagine a bed, bookshelves, wardrobe and desk, beautifully handcrafted from wood, with carvings of fairies and flowers—an apparent physical representation of her father’s love (hiding his darker side written underneath). But the reader owns the story now, so whatever you think is equally true and valid.

If you could write one saying on the walls for someone later to find, what would it be?

It would depend on who that someone was, but as a general rule for humanity: “Don’t be a dick”

About the Author

Debbie Kinsey lives in Yorkshire, UK, on a diet of tea and cake. She has previously been published in Ink, Sweat & Tears, and The Pygmy Giant.

About the Interviewer

Cyn Vargas’ short story collection, On The Way (Curbside Splendor, 2015) received positive reviews from Library Journal, Newcity, Shelf Awareness, Heavy Feather Review, and elsewhere.

About the Artist

Ashley Inguanta is a writer, art photographer, installation artist, and holistic educator. Her work has most recently appeared in Atticus Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, and the anthology The Familiar Wild: On Dogs & Poetry. Her newest chapbook of poems, The Island, The Mountain, & The Nightblooming Field honors a human connection with the natural world.

This interview appeared in Issue Forty-Eight of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Forty-Eight

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SmokeLong Fitness--The Community Workshop

Beginning September 1, 2022! Register Now!

Starting September 1, SmokeLong will launch a workshop environment/community christened SmokeLong Fitness. This asynchronous community workshop will happen on our dedicated workshop site. You will work in small groups of around 10 participants to give and receive feedback. Each Monday, you will receive a new writing task (one writing task each week) designed by the senior editor team of SmokeLong. The core workshop is asynchronous, so you can take part from anywhere at anytime. We are excited about creating a supportive, consistent and structured environment for flash writers to work on their craft.