SmokeLong Quarterly

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Smoking With Amy Sparks

(Read the Story) June 15, 2008

Amy Sparks

Amy Sparks

How did the story “The 13th Toast” come together?

Back in my SmokeLong days, I was writing regularly. A group of us were joking about the clichés we were noticing in flash fiction submissions. It’s just like movies and TV—if something gets popular, everyone wants to get a piece of the action. I think it was you, Tommy, who wished for a story that contained all of the clichés we were seeing. Well, it was just like jumping straight to the Triple Dog Dare with me. I had to see what I could do. Since I started with satire, it felt right for me to put my tongue firmly in my cheek and go for it.

Was it fun to write or did you find it challenging?

Oh, it was fun, fun, fun! It was a blast to just go over the top and then keep adding to the pile. Flash fiction seems so imposing at times because of the word count, but this was as much fun as visiting an all-you-can-eat buffet. I was amazed at how much I could cram into such a small space.

I love these dares. I still have some of the other prompts that my muse has supplied over the years so that I have a jumpstart. When I have writing droughts, wild and silly ideas like this get me unstuck.

What have you been doing since your time at SLQ?

Making babies. My older son, Jason, will be 4 in June. Little brother Dylan is an incredibly active 2-year-old. I’ve also joined the realm of management at work. The hardest part about that is managing myself! My husband has been making a bigger commitment to his opera career, so I’ve been his unpaid travel agent/business manager; to help him as his agent is arranging auditions all over the country for him. We’re celebrating anniversary #11 in June.

For a while, I really wasn’t any fun. Most full-time working moms can appreciate the exhaustion I was encountering, and throw in multiple sclerosis to make me a viable candidate for a rubber room. I’ve really missed writing, so I’ve gotten back into writing satirical reality TV summaries, blogging, and committing to NaNoWriMo 2008.

How is your novel coming along?

I’ve got two in mind right now. One is an old novel draft that I’m revisiting as I resume a regular writing schedule. The other I’m going to outline so that I can write about it for NaNoWriMo.

What’s next for you?

My boys are old enough now that I am ready to seek balance in my life. That means adding more to my life than work and taking care of my kids.

Oh, and my husband and I are potty training BOTH of the kids right now. One is bad enough, but two have been amazingly hard. Please keep us in your prayers.

I really want to get back into the regular writing habit. In addition to working on my novel, I’ve made a goal to write at least one new flash a month. My biggest goal is consistency. I’m also going to get involved in online writing forums again.

About the Author

Amy Sparks is an IT Manager and mother of two from North Carolina. She is a former associate editor of SmokeLong Quarterly whose work has appeared in Green Tricycle. She is returning to the world of flash fiction and also working on her first novel.

This interview appeared in Issue Twenty-One of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Twenty-One

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