In Conversation…August 2021

In Conversation…with Karen Jones

Welcome back to In Conversation. This month I had the pleasure of sitting down with fellow fiction editor at New Flash Fiction Review, Karen Jones. What a delight.

Late in 2020, I was invited by Al Kratz to attend a NFFR Zoomed reading. Just sitting in on the Zoom for me, a newbie to the world of flash, was intimidating. Along with the editors of NFFR and Meg Pokrass, I remember Francine Witte, Leonora Desar, and Neil Clark being present. Karen was the humorous, Scottish blond in the middle left block on my screen. She was magnetic and her reading was…well, she’s Scottish and I’m American, so her accent had me over the moon. Her story demonstrated her wit and her writing prowess. I could have listened to her read all day.

I was hopeful to one day meet Karen. I did. This month, I cyber-met her over Zoom. We talked about her beginnings in flash (which travel back to the earliest days of the genre), being co-editors, and how reading for contests differs from reading for regular subs. We end the interview with her pitch perfect, debut reading of “Anatomy of the Aftermath” winner of the Cambridge Flash Fiction Prize 2021. While there are some disruptions due to the cross Atlantic signals, and occasionally you hear us talking while our bodies are frozen, the interview is full of heart and laughs. I do so hope you enjoy our wee conversation.

In Conversation with Karen Jones

Karen Jones is a flash and short story writer from Glasgow, Scotland. Her flashes have been nominated for Best of the Net, Best Micro Fiction and The Pushcart Prize, and her story Small Mercies was included in Best Small Fictions 2019 and BIFFY50 2019. She won first prize in the Cambridge Flash Fiction Prize, Flash 500, and Retreat West Monthly Micro in 2021. Her work has been published in numerous anthologies and magazines. Her novella-in-flash, When It’s Not Called Making Love is published by Ad Hoc Fiction. She’s Special Features Editor at New Flash Fiction Review. 

Next month my guest will be J. Archer Avary founding editor of Sledgehammer Lit. Here’s what he has to say about Sledgehammer’s pandemic beginnings.

I started Sledgehammer on a whim during Guernsey’s 2nd lockdown, mainly because I had so much time on my hands. I was out on an exercise walk with my wife in Delancey Park and the idea of Sledgehammer popped into my head. When we got home, I googled it and the domain was available. The next day I built the site and opened for submissions two or three days later. I had no idea what I was doing, and still don’t really, but what a wild ride it’s been. The response from readers and contributors has been overwhelming and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

We’ll be talking about this and much more next month. Please, be sure to tune in.

Also, sometime over the next several weeks I will be posting a special In Conversation… interview with my friend, children’s librarian, Anne Kissinger. We’ve had a difficult time getting together for our interview, which is ridiculous since we live less than 2 miles apart, but life and our schedules have thwarted our attempts. So, don’t be surprised to see a surprise post.

Health, laughter, and love to you all!

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