BackStory: Five Questions with K.B. Carle
Author of Tyn
What inspired you to write this piece?
Tyn, formally known as Solomon, is a character who’s always had a strong presence in my mind, knowing his strong connection to nature and insects would be important to his story. The character was inspired by Alessandro Baricco’s Silk, which I suggest everyone enjoy at least once, while Tyn’s ability “to hear the whisperings of insects” came from observing a Praying Mantis sunbathe on the thermometer that hangs outside my family’s kitchen window in the spring.
Were there any interesting facts, details, or turns of phrase that didn’t quite make the final piece?
The story actually started with the characters walking into the woods, Tyn revealing that Abigail is his fourth wife, but first love, all the other women were disposed of due to their inability to produce a child with Tyn’s abilities. I also wrote several scenes depicting what happens after Master Laide leaves, satisfied with the results of the test portrayed in the story. Once he left, Abigail and Tyn shared a moment of just being parents to their daughter while several different insects gathered to welcome her to their world. This was all very sweet but also very long.
What is your favourite part of the writing process? Your least favourite? Why?
My favorite part of the writing process is the creation of the first draft. I love when the story just leaves my mind and devours page after page in my journal. When I am finished, I bask in the silence that follows, letting the sense of accomplishment overwhelm me.
My least favorite part is editing because it brings an end to my celebration! My once enjoyable silence is corrupted as I search for flaws in my freshly crafted sentences, plot, and the actions of my characters. Editing takes away the good vibes brought on by that first draft. However, as I work through the periods of self-doubt and frustration of my mistakes because the changes that emerge put me back into the thrill of storytelling with the sense of accomplishing something that is mine.
What, if anything, do you have in common with your main character?
Tyn is living my history. He is a homage to my ancestors born in Mississippi and North Carolina whose stories were erased or contorted by the violent actions of their masters. Tyn is my fascination with insects, though he is more willing to interact with them. He is an observer like me, noticing the way Master Laide grips his child or, despite the situation, “surrenders himself to [Abigail’s] honey-and-tobacco scent.” When I write, I absorb my surroundings. The ticking of the second hand on the clock, the smell of fresh oranges on the kitchen table, or the short spark of sunlight reflecting off passing cars I spy through the bare knotted tree branches in my backyard. Needless to say, I need the closest thing to silence when I write because I am easily distracted.
What do you like most about writing flash?
I love the immediacy of flash fiction. How a writer takes one moment of their main character’s life and allow their readers to explore why this moment is important. Flash is also a challenge in that you are allotted a certain amount of words to illustrate something that will resonate with readers. The difficulty of selecting these glimpses into a character’s life is astounding but when you pick that brief period of time that readers keep replaying in their minds and on the tips of their tongues, all that hard work is worth it.
When K.B. Carle is not exploring the realms of speculative, jazz, and historical fiction, she avidly pursues misspelled words, botched plot lines, and rudimentary characters. Her work can be found in Pennyshorts, Sick Lit. Magazine, 50-Word Stories, The Offbeat, Fiction Southeast, and the WomenArts Quarterly Journal. Follow her on Twitter @kbcarle or visit her website: http://kbcarle.