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SmokeLong Quarterly

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Smoking With C.A. Cole

Interview by Nancy Stebbins (Read the Story) September 23, 2014

C.A. Cole

art by Sam Myers

As you know, one thing I was so impressed with was the technical skill displayed in this piece: your use of time and POV. Do you consciously work on these things?

This was incubating for a long while. After decades I reunited with friends from my past and I thought it interesting how many of us who went to Catholic school didn�t have any children of our own. In high school one of the Catholic schoolgirls, whose family really did own Hiawatha Island, her older brother, some other friends, and I rowed to Hiawatha Island. Connecting the scene back to my elementary school class mates as adults just seemed right. Was it conscious though? It mostly felt right, although the POV was definitely chosen consciously.

Who are your writing influences?

Sometimes I think picture books from childhood are my biggest influence. As far as flash, I started writing it as a reaction to not understanding much of the work of a well-known practitioner, kind of as a joke, but then it became a good way to ease into longer works and was kind of fun. When I first started writing, I wrote poetry, and although I wasn�t very good, I had success publishing it. I look at flash as similar in that way.

Do you have a writing group?

A core of three of us has been meeting for more than twelve years. A fourth member has been with us about seven years, and our newest member joined in April 2013. Sadly, our other long-time member died last August.

Can you describe your writing space for us?

A mess! This particular piece was composed at a local coffee shop, Wild Boar, which is in a Craftsman-style house with tile fireplaces and lots of woodwork. The editing was done in my red and gold office at the computer desk my husband made out of reclaimed beams from the Manitou Springs Hotel, which was built in the 1800s. But basically, I write and edit in a messy room at a cluttered desk.

About the Author

C.A. Cole sometimes writes flash fiction on Friday mornings with a friend at a coffee shop in Colorado. A few of these efforts have landed in print journals such as The Broken Plate, while others have been published on the web in Hobart, Mudlucious, and other places.

About the Interviewer

Nancy Stebbins is a psychiatrist, a Flash Factory groupie, and an MFA student at Pacific University. Her short stories have been published in The Summerset Review, Grey Sparrow Journal and other places. She shares a blog with three other Pacific students: http://pop-upprincesses.blogspot.com.

About the Artist

Sam Myers grew up in Florida, was born in Virginia, and she’s currently living in the U.S. of A. Sam is an eccentric packrat attempting to save the world by recycling, reducing, and reusing. She likes to use alternative canvasses, recycled items, and massive amounts of imagination. Her works range from jewelry, painting, clothing, and so forth. Whatever her mind can create!

This interview appeared in Issue Forty-Five of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Forty-Five
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The SmokeLong Quarterly Award for Flash Fiction

Deadline November 15!

The SmokeLong Quarterly Award for Flash Fiction (The Smokey) is a biennial competition that celebrates and compensates excellence in flash. The grand prize winner of The Smokey is automatically nominated for The Best Small Fictions, The Pushcart, Best of the Net, and any other prize we deem appropriate. In addition to all this love, we will also pay the grand prize winner $2500. Second place: $1000. Third place $500. Finalists: $100. All finalists and placers will be published in the special competition issue in December 2022.