Spotlight: Allison Symes, Tripping the Flash Fantastic

It’s lovely to welcome Allison onto the blog today, to talk about her new collection of flash fiction, Tripping the Flash Fantastic. This was released in September, but she’s having an online launch this weekend, so make sure you head over, and get involved! Now, over to Allison…

Hello, Allison Symes, flash fiction writer and blogger for Chandler’s Ford Today here. Many thanks to Jen for inviting me back on to her blog. It is always a pleasure to chat with Jen, though we have both missed our usual chats over a glass of something lovely at the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School in August each year. Both of us are very much looking forward to Swanwick 2021! (What will be fantastic is we will both have new books to take to the legendary Swanwick Book Room).

Since I was last guest here, I’ve been busily working on my second flash fiction collection and am now delighted to say it has now been published by Chapeltown Books. Tripping The Flash Fantastic is my follow up to From Light to Dark Back Again, and both books contain a wealth of stories with intriguing characters.

My new book Tripping the Flash Fantastic takes you back in time. I also take you into some truly criminal minds, into fantasy worlds, and show you how motherhood looks from the viewpoint of a dragon. I hope you enjoy the journey!

One great aspect to writing flash fiction is because it has to be character led, I can set those characters wherever and whenever I want  so I do! Oh and they don’t always have to be human either, which, for me, all adds to the fun.

Flash fiction is technically any story up to 1000 words but my natural home is the sub-500 mark. I often write 100-worders, which are also called drabbles. I discovered flash fiction thanks to the online magazine, Cafelit. I had been writing standard length short stories for them (1500 words or thereabouts) and still do, but they issued a 100 word challenge so I thought I would give it a go, as you do.

What I did not anticipate was (a) becoming addicted to the form and (b) being published in it. I’m very happy with how things have turned out though! 

It is always a thrill to see a book with your name on the front cover and I am delighted to now have a second one to my name. It was a delight to work with Chapeltown Books again as it meant I had some input into the cover design and that I appreciated. It doesn’t always happen!

And, for the first time with my new collection, I have historically based flash fiction stories appearing. There are tales here told from the viewpoint of Richard III and, separately, Elizabeth of York.

I don’t use “medieval speak” for this kind of story. What I do use is language that would not be unreasonable for my characters to use if they were speaking across the centuries directly to us in the here and now. They are making themselves understood for us. I chose that deliberately. I think it makes for a smoother read for one thing and I’ve occasionally been put off reading something which, to me, is too full of archaic language, as we would consider it to be now.

As there are so many wonderful and not-so-wonderful historical characters to write about, this is an area of flash fiction I hope to develop further.

Allison’s first collection

But meantime, naturally, I am focusing on celebrating having my second book out and enjoying the moment. My work has appeared in a number of anthologies over the years, and I am proud of those stories too, but nothing beats the moment when you open a box of books from  your publisher and you see your creation with your name on the front cover!

Tripping the Flash Fantastic is available from the usual places and I’ve included my Amazon Author Central page below. And why the title? My first book’s title, From Light to Dark and Back Again, reflects the different moods  of story within it. Tripping the Flash Fantastic shows up genre immediately (and I always wave the flag for flash fiction wherever I can) and I hope indicates the book will take you into a world of stories, fantastical and otherwise.

Many thanks to Jen for hosting me. 

WHERE TO FIND ALLISON SYMES ONLINE  – Amazon Author Central Page – on the Waterstones website – Book Depository  – website – author page – book page (where I share advice on flash fiction in particular) – I blog weekly for Chandler’s Ford Today, often on topics of interest to writers. – My Cafelit page.

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