S.A. Daynard is a member of the New England chapter of Sisters in Crime. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the US and Canada. “Widow’s Peak” earned her a Derringer Award nomination for Best Flash of 2004. Her website is www.sadaynard.com
Your story, “The Kitchen Witch” offers the ultimate in unreliable narrators. The reader is constantly on edge wondering what is real and what isn’t. What got you interested in writing about this character?
Most of my short stories have been written using an unreliable narrator. It allows me to play fair with the reader and still take them on a haphazard ride to the truth. I like to think of it as eavesdropping in on the middle of a conversation—you might think you’ve got the facts straight, but more often than not, you’re totally off base.
For “The Kitchen Witch”, Aiden Tucker presented endless possibilities as the unreliable narrator. By his own admission, he’s schizophrenic, off his meds, drinking, and more than desperate.
You’re known for your short stories, even for your flash fiction. How do you think about constructing tales in small packages?
I always know the beginning and end of my story, the rest is a surprise.
Because it’s a short story, I don’t have the luxury of writing in depth character profiles, detailed settings, and elaborate descriptions. I leave a lot to the reader’s imagination.
For Flash Fiction, I go bare-bones with quick short sentences and a title that tells part of the story. The title of my 51 word flash, “Widow’s Peak”, offers a setting for the story and a tongue-in-cheek tease of what’s to follow.
What are you working on now?
Along with short stories, I’m currently working on The Rigors of Murder, a novel-length mystery that utilizes the unreliable narrator.