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Smoking With Gabrielle Sierra

Interview by Art Taylor (Read the Story) June 24, 2014

Gabrielle Sierra

art by Ashley Inguanta

The power of this story is enhanced by us not knowing what happened before the story starts—why Emma’s dress and her hair are so bloody. I don’t really want you to tell me what happened, but I’m curious: Do you know the details or was that off-screen violence vague and troubling in your mind as well when you were writing this?

As I started writing the story I had a vague notion of what happened off-screen, but not a specific one. I knew that Emma was the one controlling the situation, that she was less disturbed by what had happened, while Roman was reeling from the incident. I like the idea that it could have been either one of them who committed the act of violence, but that Emma was the one in control of it all with the blood on her hands. It was troubling to me, even as the writer, and I liked that.

What odds would you give that Emma and Roman’s relationship is gonna make it, and why?

It isn’t a healthy relationship, so I would like to say that it would fail for the better of them both. But people are attracted to dysfunction and mystery and excitement, and I believe at this point Roman might do anything for Emma.

When you eat at Wendy’s, what are you most likely to order?

I haven’t eaten fast food in years, but when my brother and I were kids and my parents were both working, one of them would occasionally allow for a Wendy’s dinner. I leaned towards the spicy chicken sandwich and fries, and sometimes one of those salads that felt healthy but really weren’t.

You’re an arts and culture journalist with a killer resume. How do you balance your fiction writing with your journalism?

Thank you! Well, fiction has been my first love from way back when, so I always try to make time for creative writing. Mostly I’ll jot down ideas during the day and then stay up very late and write, because that’s when no one is awake to bother you.

Is “The Drive” representative of your fiction generally, or is this story a departure in some way? And what are you working on right now?

I do lean towards short pieces that leave something out—not information or something glaring—just the idea that more is going on. I like that you could feel more from a short piece than you could from a longer one that gives you all the information. Usually I tend to have more humor in my writing, this one was a darker turn for me, but I enjoyed it. Right now—in between summer music coverage—I am working on a short sci-fi piece, which is definitely a departure for me, but a fun way to try something new. You never know if you can do it unless you try.

About the Author

Gabrielle Sierra is an arts and culture journalist based out of Brooklyn, NY. Her work can be seen in publications such as Billboard, Gothamist, The New York Daily News, Brooklyn Based and Brooklyn Exposed. For more information on Gabrielle follow her on Twitter @gabsierrarocks.

About the Interviewer

Art Taylor’s short fiction has appeared in several national magazines (Ellery Queens Mystery Magazine and North American Review, for example), online at Fiction Weekly and Prick of the Spindle, and in various regional journals/newspapers. His story “A Voice from the Past” was short-listed for the 2010 Best American Mystery Stories anthology. He regularly reviews mysteries and thrillers for The Washington Post Book World and contributes frequently to Mystery Scene and other publications. More information can be found at arttaylorwriter.com.

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-Four of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Forty-Four
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