Peggy McFarland lives in Nashua, NH with her family, and is the general manager of a restaurant in Chelmsford, MA. Her stories have appeared in numerous on-line venues as well as in Shroud Magazine, and anthologies published by Absent Willow Review and Six Sentences. She is currently working on a longer story (using the word novel intimidates her). Baby steps. Peggy blogs at http://pegjet.blogspot.com. You can also find her at the Facebook page for Friday Flash http://www.facebook.com/groups/fridayflash/?view=permalink&id=10150361001945568. Her Twitter address is @peggywriter.
In your story in Dead Calm, The Red Door, a aspiring author mourns the failure of his relationship. What was your inspiration for this story?
I find it fascinating how people see the same situation in such different ways. Perceptions become our reality, and often get us into trouble. I think many relationships have their rocky parts because one partner’s interpretation of an event, a comment, or even a look is so different than the other partner’s interpretation. “The Red Door” has the protagonist mourning his loss, and his perception of what went wrong with their relationship. Even as Shamus thinks about it, he gets a glimmer, though he refuses to accept it, of Cheri’s point of view. Even though I chose to write this with only one point of view, I hoped to get across that Cheri had valid perceptions too, but ultimately, they couldn’t find the sweet spot where both points of view meshed.
You started out writing short shorts and your bio in Dead Calm says using the word novel intimidates you. Can you tell us something about your journey as a writer?
My first “success” as a writer was at a blogspot called Six Sentences. Yes, every story on the site is six sentences long. Learning to tell a story in such a short space became a challenge, but one that helped me hone word choices. From there, I had longer shorts printed in various places, including a “best of” anthology, won a flash contest at a horror magazine and eventually, stumbled upon a community of flash fiction writers (under 1000 word stories, in this case) through Twitter. Some of those flashes have been printed in various print and on-line publications too. I finally have the confidence to say I’m writing a novel, but the sheer volume of words that will need to be edited is overwhelming! The editing to get rid of the extraneous words is much more intimidating than the writing.
My most current publishing credit is a flash story that I wrote for the Twitter community, which will be out in April. “Charlie Makes His Way” will be in the latest Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader, Flush Fiction
What are you working on now?
I am trying very hard to come up with a clever crime story/mystery for “Blood Moon”; I am working on a horror short story for a challenge at a new venue; I have a story that has been through three edits and refuses to be done, but refuses to let go; and I’ve started the official first novel, working title “The Bleeding Spot.” It will be a story about accepting responsibility, atonement for hideous crimes and redemption, but only after an evil journal refuses to be lost. Maybe I’ll get one of these completed before the year ends!