BackStory: Five Questions with Nick Black
Author of Wheel of Fortune
What inspired you to write ‘Wheel of Fortune’?
A combination of vague thoughts coming together. I saw a fallen tree a few weekends ago and wondered if the first wheel might have simply been a ‘slice’ of tree trunk. (I’ll confess, I didn’t do any research before writing my story to find out.) Thinking about how people (understandably) profit from evolutionary leaps in technology, I thought it would be fun to take that back, almost to the beginning. I was really happy when I came up with the line about Raquel (a nod to Ms Welch in ‘One Million Years BC’, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen, and suspect isn’t historically accurate), to acknowledge how women have been written out of history, even if that wasn’t the main theme of the story. Anxiety about relative social/economic ‘success’ was the emotional kicker for me.
Who are your favourite historical fiction writers (flash or otherwise)?
I’m a big fan of Hilary Mantel’s Cromwell books, can’t think of another writer whose characters, whose moments, are more alive, more electric. I like Elizabeth Jane Howard’s Cazelet novels, too, she had an incredible ear and eye, and wit.
If you could live for one year in any historical period, when and where would it be, and why?
I only saw seven months of the Sixties so London, around ’65, ’66, or Haight-Ashbury, a year or two later. Though everyone would see me as either their dad or a narc. Failing that, Paris in the ‘20s, though might be a similar scenario.
What, if anything, do you have in common with your main character?
All of my stories are personal, somehow. I don’t think this one’s too heavily camouflaged.
What do you like most about writing flash?
I love the lightning bolt, when an idea hits. With flash, you can at least try to record it accurately before it fades. Plus, I’m lazy.
Nick Black manages two small public libraries in North London. His writing has been published in lit mags including Entropy, Jellyfish Review, (b)OINKzine, the Lonely Crowd, Open Pen, Train Lit Mag and Funhouse. He tweets about things he likes as @fuzzynick.
Image of wooden wheel courtesy of Ancient History Lists.