AFOW Interview #6 – Eldred Bird

Today, I am featuring author Eldred Bird whose story “A Family Thing” is included in the anthology “A Flash of Words,” alongside my own brand-new story, “The Californian.”

If you had to do one thing differently with your story, what would it be?
I wouldn’t change a thing. At some point you have to stop editing and embrace what you’ve created.

What was the inspiration for your story?
Imagination in children today feels like it’s being replaced by technology. We need to learn to look for that spark in them and then fan it into a flame.

Was there a time when writing where you had to sit back stunned at what just happened? If so, what was it?
That moment came when I finished my first novel. I’d been writing non-fiction shorts and personal essays. I never thought I could write an entire novel, let alone one I could be proud of, but the first time I held that book in my hands…

What do you think is the key to writing a compelling flash story?
Fitting all of the elements of a complete story into such a limited space is a challenge. The key is word choice. Every word has to carry weight matter.

Do you write every day?
I try to, but sometimes the rest of life gets in the way.

Does your sexual orientation play a roll in the development of your character?
Not on a conscious level, but I write from my own experience so I’m sure that has an effect on the final character.

Was this the first time you wrote a flash fiction story?
No, I use flash fiction and short stories to try out new genres and POVs.

Apart from writing, what do you do for fun?
Cycling and photography are my two.

Which author(s) influenced your writing the most?
I grew up on E.A. Poe and John Steinbeck, as well as Earl Stanley Gardner and a whole host of pulp authors. I never tried to write like they did, but some of their influences do come out in my work.

Can you relate to any of the characters in your flash fiction story?
Absolutely. As a kid, I was Owen. I often escaped into my own imagination. Now instead of just playing out the adventures in my mind, I write them down.

What is your writing space like?
Cluttered, just like my brain.

Did your story turn out the way you planned, or were there some surprises along the way?
There are always surprises when I write. I never outline, so I’m never quite sure where I will end up.

How long did it take to write your story?
The first draft took about an hour—then came the rewrites, presenting it to my critique group, more rewrites and finally, one last proof read. All in all, I’d say there was better than ten hours in the story.

Do you think writing flash fiction is a challenge with the word restriction?
Word restriction is extremely challenging. Think about drawing a picture with the 64 crayon box. Now try to draw the same picture with only ten crayons. What colors you choose becomes paramount. It’s the same with writing. Words are our crayons. When you can only use a few, you need to choose each one very carefully.

If you were on death row, what would you want your last meal to be?
The comforting meal from my childhood—a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup.

What is a quote that you find inspirational/motivates you to write?
Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good. – William Faulkner

Pick up a copy of “A Flash of Words” in paperback or eBook at any book retailer worldwide, including Amazon. If purchased directly from Scout Media, you will receive a FREE companion soundtrack CD!! #ScoutMedia#AFOW

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