Skip to main content

Discount Noir's Loren Eaton

Loren Eaton is a fellow contributor to Discount Noir, an e-Book flash fiction anthology available now from Untreed Reads. He has worked as a business manager, entertainment journalist, voter registration drive organizer, and farm hand. When not home-roasting coffee or reading genre fiction, he likes to blog about narrative, genre, and the craft of writing at www.ISawLightningFall.com. He lives with his wife and son in south Florida.

Gerald So: How did the idea for your story, "Thirty-One Hundred", develop?

Loren Eaton: I have a shameful secret to share (which, I suppose, makes it no longer secret and even more shameful): I really like a certain big, blue-box-shaped retailer. For liability-free ease of reference, let's call it Megamart. I like Megamart's huge selection. I like its rock-bottom pricing. I like that some academics say it lowers obesity rates. So when Patti Abbott and Steve Weddle suggested an anthology organized around Megamart, it struck a chord.

Okay, so I was supposed to write an 800-word story about Megamart. Setting was easy. Now what about a main character? Despite my enjoyment of it, Megamart's massiveness has always struck me as slightly absurd, so I tried to encapsulate that silliness in the protagonist's name -- Wofford Ortlund Marshall V. (Actually, I knew a guy who had a very similar moniker; wisely, he went by Ted.) Why's Wofford in Megamart? Perhaps to check out an item it alone sells, maybe an exclusive box set from a once-famous musician, say Kenny Rogers. And what if he found stationed at the store's hunting counter the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen? But how to get him there from the music section ... Heck, let's make it even more absurd: Wofford glances up to see his Megamart-hating boss stagger into the store (which is odd), a gray pallor tainting his face (also odd), and begin gnawing at the greeter's throat (beyond odd).

That's "Thirty-One Hundred," my zombie-Megamart-love-story contribution to Discount Noir.

GS: What appeals you about flash fiction?

LE: Initially, I thought flash fiction was an impossible form, its very brevity making effective storytelling nigh impossible. But having read some wonderful examples, I came to see there's a certain purity in the style, a jewel-like clarity that emerges when every word counts. I don't know how well I do at it, but it's a joy to try.

Last year, an open invitation went out on the blogosphere to share spooky, 100-word stories on Christmas Eve, a tradition stretching back (in one form or another) to M.R. James and Charles Dickens. Participating in it and reading pieces from other contributors was some of the most writerly fun I've had in ages. It reminded that flash fiction (like another sort of storytelling) can run the emotional gamut from serious and elegiac to light-hearted and amusing. To see last year's shorts, click here or go here to see this year's open invite.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

2017 Derringer Finalist Hilde Vandermeeren

I'm a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, an informal association of writers, publishers, and fans that has kept mystery & crime short stories in the public eye since 1996. On April 1, the Society announced the finalists for its 2017 Derringer Awards, and I had the idea to promote the finalists with interviews.

The 2017 Derringers were open to works whose first English translations were published in 2016. Belgian children's, YA, and adult psychological thriller author Hilde Vandermeeren's Best Short Story (1,001–4,000 words) contender "The Lighthouse" was translated from Flemish by the SMFS's Josh Pachter, and appeared in the March/April 2016 Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. Josh also kindly translated this interview to and from Flemish.


Describe your story in up to 20 words.

In a lighthouse on an island far from shore, a man suspects that his wife is trying to kill him. (20 words!)

What were the most difficult and most enjoyable parts of writi…

2017 Derringer Finalist O'Neil De Noux

I'm a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, an informal association of writers, publishers, and fans that has kept mystery & crime short stories in the public eye since 1996. On April 1, the Society announced the finalists for its 2017 Derringer Awards, and I had the idea to promote the finalists with interviews.

A 2009 Derringer winner, O'Neil De Noux is a five-time finalist after his stories contending in two categories this year, for Best Flash (Up to 1,000 words), published in Flash Bang Mysteries, "A Just Reward", and for Best Long Story (4,001–8,000 words), published in The Strand Magazine, "Effect on Men".

Describe your stories in up to 20 words each.

"A Just Reward": A man tries to pull a fast one to collect a reward. He underestimates the police and there’s a reckoning.

“Effect on Men”: Patricia has "this effect on men" and draws a private detective into a murder plot, leaving him with a hard choice.

What were the most d…

Patricia Abbott talks CONCRETE ANGEL

On sale June 9 from Polis books:

Evil doesn’t always live next door. Sometimes it lives right in your own home.

Eve Moran has always wanted “things,” her powers of seduction impossible to resist for those who come in contact with her toxic allure. And over the course of her life, she has proven both inventive and tenacious in getting and keeping whatever such things catch her eye, whether they are jewelry, money, or men. Eve lies, steals, cheats, swindles, and is even willing to take a life, paying little heed to the cost of her actions on those who love her and depend on her. Her daughter, Christine, compelled by love, dependency, and circumstance, is caught up in her mother’s deceptions, unwilling to accept the viciousness that runs in her family’s blood. It’s only when Christine’s three-year old brother, Ryan, begins to prove useful to her mother, and Christine sees a horrific pattern repeating itself, that she finds the courage and means to bring an end to Eve’s tyranny.

An atmosphe…