An interview with Richard Sutton

by | Feb 4, 2013 | Fiction, Flash fiction, Interview | 6 comments

6357977105_b226a9fa3e_nBack in November I posted the story starter, “She knew right away the stamps were no good—no good for mailing anyway,” and asked folks to finish the story. People wrote some fine stories in the comments section to that post, which you can read at http://lauramchaleholland.com/writing/a-flash-fiction-story-to-finish/.

Richard Sutton was the first one to post a story. I was impressed that he could dash off such a good story so quickly, so I interviewed him by email. I’m going to paste in the interview here. Below that will be his story.

What do you like about writing flash fiction?
I enjoy the challenge, and approach it as a single effort at the keyboard, usually, to make it harder.

Please describe a bit of the creative process you went through in writing this particular story.
There’s not much I can actually describe. Your prompt gave me a mental image, which had to have a reason for being. The local flooding and storm damage here on LI has been in my thoughts a lot, so that prompted the fleshing out of the image, and of course, trying to control ourselves when faced with awful frustration is very difficult. The twist just made some kind of macabre sense of fair play.

What other types of writing do you do? Why?
I write both in non-fiction and fiction. My four available books include two historical novels, released beginning 2009 and two novellas that were released in September and October of this year. I write because I always seem to have stories circling around in my head and it helps the noise to get them down on paper. I got my practice from twenty some-odd years in advertising design, marketing and copy writing.

What books have you published, and where can people find them?
My books are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, local book sellers and in all eBook formats on Smashwords.com
Historical Novels: The Red Gate (2009); The Gatekeepers (2010)
Novellas: Home (scifi, 2012); Troll (prehistorical fiction, 2012)

Where can people learn more about you?
My own blogsite is www.sailletales.com. Our family business since 1985 has been in the sales of authentic American Indian arts, so I also maintain our commercial website, www.kivatrading.com. Finally, I’m quite active (for several years now using my given name) on the writers site, www.Litopia.com.

Restraint
By Richard Sutton

She knew right away the stamps were no good—no good for mailing anyway.The adhesive had gone all grey and spotty on the back, and the edges of the sheet had curled and faded. She laid them down with the rest of the contents of the top desk drawer, into the trash tub. It was almost full and so heavy she’d have to drag it to the door.

Near the front door, sat other big plastic tubs of memories, all kinds of Tsotchkes she new she didn’t really need anymore. Still, as she braced her back with one hand and stood upon her still shaky legs, she didn’t feel unburdened at all. Clearing out the soggy remnants of her adult life was turning out to be painful. She’d tried to go the resignation route. At least it deadened some of her immediate discomfort, but yesterday, seeing what the dirty water had done, the fragile facade just crashed around her.

Out side, she could hear Jim talking to the insurance agent. It had been almost two weeks before they’d even been able to go home, and now, Jim was asking for details about why their policy wasn’t going to cover the damage. She was glad she was in here. She knew Jim was a wise, careful man. Two attributes that she’d always had in short supply. She considered if the momentary joy of bashing the insurance man over the head with a shovel would be worth the the jail time she’d get.

“Honey? Can you come to the door?” Jim called her, quietly, from the yard.

When she looked down the steps into the front yard, saw the long-handled shovel in Jim’s hand, and the inert form of the insurance man in his suit, crumpled up between the piles of sodden sheetrock and the ruins of her furniture, she just had to smile. What else could she do?

Thanks to Richard for this story and follow-up interview. And thanks to the other talented writers who posted stories, too. I think I’ll do this again. Do you like that idea?

Photo by massmarrier

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6 Comments

  1. Robin Leigh Morgan

    Hi Laura
    You know by now what I love about flash fiction…it causes my creative juices at times when I need it the most. I, like Richard, begin with a nucleus of an idea and then start adding to it until an entire image can be seen, Once the imagine is in place I flesh it out by adding things like emotion.
    Thanks for getting me involved with this form of writing and for getting me connected with Lillie McFerrin as you did with your last post. I love the idea of getting to know what’s going in the minds of those who comment here.

  2. admin

    Glad you’ve discovered (or rediscovered) another form of writing that you enjoy working with, Robin. … I like gaining insights into other people’s creative processes. too.

  3. Barbara Toboni

    I do like the idea of writing prompts for your future blogs. I find them very helpful. Richard’s story was great, loved the twisted ending. I enjoyed the interview too.

  4. Susan

    Hello my friend,

    I must have been totally asleep when you asked for folks to finish a starter! Darn the bad luck. :) Must have been the turkey? Or, perhaps, time. Check’s in the mail. Love you.

    Suz

  5. admin

    Good to hear from you, Suz. I think the last couple months of 2012 were crazy for a lot of us with the flu going around amid all the extra holiday excitement. Yeah, and blaming the turkey is always an option.

  6. admin

    Thanks, Barbara. I’ll be sure to do more writing prompts this year. I liked the twist at the end of Richard’s story, too. I totally didn’t expect it.

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