Mini-Interview with Damhnait Monaghan

Why do you write flash? What makes it different for you?

I started writing flash properly at a point where my novel manuscript had been rejected so many times that I wanted a break from the long form. Then as seems to happen, I got hooked on flash. What’s different for me is its immediacy: it’s a snapshot, a moment in time, a passing glimpse of life, as you drive by in the car.

What’s your writerly lifejacket: character or plot?

Can I have a lifejacket and two water wings, please. Sometimes, it’s character, sometimes it’s plot; more often, it’s voice. I hear that voice in my head and bam, it’s on.

Writing style: Quick and messy or slow and precise?

Quick and messy, including literal messiness. Sometimes when I look back at my notes, I can’t read my own writing. I’ve been known to take photos of my scrawls and ask for help in deciphering. Editing is where I’m slow and precise. I especially enjoy the challenge of cutting something down or carefully selecting words to meet a micro word limit.

What element or part of your “real life” do you think most influences your writing?

Motherhood, grief, loss, feeling like an outsider. I’ve learned that my best flash stories have an element of truth at their core. That truth may have been altered, tweaked, and polished, but it’s there.

But random things can also spark an idea – walking the dog, road kill, something I overhear in the street: add some ‘what if’ for kindling and I’m off.

If you could recommend a few flash stories or writers, who/what would it be?

I’m going to be a bit cheeky and instead recommend a literary journal that is near and dear to my heart – FlashBack Fiction. Our timeline is replete with cracking stories and I’d encourage your readers to dive in. What’s more, I’d love it if they submitted a historical flash to us.

What story of yours do you wish got more recognition?

Honestly, Tommy, I’m grateful if people read any. Shout out to the super supportive flash community on Twitter who read and share my stories.

That said, I have a soft spot for the teenage girls in my micro ‘The Weather Girls.’ It won the Spider Road Press flash competition, but was published only in their subscriber newsletter. I’d love more people to read it someday.

BIO: Damhnait Monaghan was born and grew up in Canada but now lives in the U.K. Her flash fiction has won or placed in various competitions and is widely published and anthologised. Her writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best Small Fictions, and Best Microfictions. Her flash pamphlet, ‘The Neverlands’ is out now with V. Press. She’s an Editor at FlashBack Fiction and tweets @Downith.

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