Q and A with John Saul
June 2016 Flash Fiction Commended

Call It TenderJohn Saul told us he likes interviews, reading them especially. Matching the condensed nature of flash fiction, he's given us some brief answers to our questions. We like his one word answer – 'read ' – to our question about a tip for writing flash fiction. There's lots of opportunity for reading a variety of short-short fiction on this site. John's commended story, 'Tearful' which came to him in the middle of the night, all the winners and commended in the June round and the other winning pieces from the first two rounds of Bath Flash Fiction Award, plus many links to fiction from writers around the globe and, of course, all the pieces on Ad Hoc Fiction, our weekly free micro contest, where you can read and vote for your favourites. You can also read John's longer fiction – he's published several collections – including Call it Tender, published by Salt.

  • Can you tell us how your flash fiction piece, 'Tearful', commended by Michelle Elvy in our June round, came into being?

Uniquely in my experience, I woke up in the night thinking of it, and made myself write it down before going back to sleep.

  • You've written four acclaimed short story collections, three published by Salt and one by Hopscotch, been published in many anthologies and you've also written three novels. Do you think interest in short stories has grown in the time you've been writing fiction?

Interest seems to have grown, but not to the point where there is more of a paying readership or market. It's as if the interest has a false bottom.

  • Is writing in the short-short form a new departure for you?

It occasionally works out that way. I tend to write fiction between two and five thousand words.

  • Do you think it draws on different writing skills?

I doubt the skills are different.

  • Which writers of the short and short-short form do you currently admire?

Kevin Barry has written some very fine short fiction.

  • A top tip for writing flash fiction?

Read.

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