BackStory: Five Questions with Audra Kerr Brown

Western Cottonmouth

BackStory: Five Questions with Audra Kerr Brown
Author of cottonmouth

What inspired you to write ‘cottonmouth’?

I took one of Meg Pokrass’s wonderfully fun photo-prompt workshops, and she presented a photo of a Depression era girl holding a baby. I wrote the original draft very quickly.

Who are your favourite historical fiction writers and why?

I enjoy Laurie R King’s series about Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes. I admire King’s writing, her characterization. Her novels are a way for me to relax.

Were there any interesting facts, details, or turns of phrase that didn’t quite make the final piece?

I wanted the narrator to wrap herself up in the curtains to hide from her father, but I couldn’t get the wording right, so I scrapped the idea.

What is your favourite part of the writing process? Your least favourite?

I love editing. I enjoy going back over a rough draft and seeing what my subconscious dropped in there. I like moving sentences around, reordering things. I rewrote “cottonmouth” many times because the rhythm wasn’t right. Finally, I went back to the original draft and eliminated the punctuation. I still don’t think it’s perfect, but it’s as close as I can get it.

My least favourite part is writing a rough draft. I tend to sprawl all over the place, losing sight and focus. I abandon a lot of projects because the stories become such a muddled mess.

If you could live for one year in any historical period, when and where would it be, and why?

I’d like to stay close to modern medicine, so I wouldn’t go too far back. Probably to the 50s to see how my parents grew up.

Audra Kerr Brown lives on a dirt road in Iowa. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in the Best Small Fictions, Wigleaf’s Top 50 (Very) Short Fictions list, X-R-A-Y, People Holding, f(r)Online, Outlook Springs, and more. She is a Senior Fiction Editor at New Flash Fiction Review.

Photograph of Western Cottonmouth by Peter Paplanus via Wikimedia Commons (CC by 2.0).