The Long And Short Of It

A blog feature image showing a headshot of author James Webster with the title 'The Long and Short of It' over the top

While we have open submissions for a month or so each year, Inspired Quill has also been known to reach out to amazing talent: to network, to interview, and – just sometimes – to ask if they’d consider a publishing deal with a not-for-profit small press. And – just sometimes – magic happens.

Oh gosh. What to say in this blog?

Hello, my name is James and I write lots and lots of very very short stories. I call them microfiction, but you could probably call them flash fiction. Whatever you call them, they are simply strange little snapshots into other worlds, full of magic and aliens and monsters and love and trauma.

I started writing them years ago, mainly just to get into the habit, and began releasing them on social media in the hope that they may amuse a few friends.

Long story short (as that is kinda my thing), they liked them. In some cases, they really liked them. Some people laughed. Some people even cried. And (because I’m powered by tears) that gave me the confidence to write more frequently and, well, now I write a little story every day on my tumblr. Now even strangers read them. And I keep a running tally of the number of times that my words manage to make someone cry their own tears (#sorrynotsorry).

So, I am incredibly and utterly grateful to Inspired Quill, for taking a chance on me in the hopes that a whole bunch of new strangers might read and enjoy my stories.

I’d like to be able to say that when IQ said they might be interested, I played it cool and rationally thought through my options. But that would be a massive lie, because as soon as I read through IQ’s publishing mission statement and checked out the previous titles, I knew that I’d found a home. Their progressive, ethical and social ethos is just so totally my jam – this is obvs the place for me.

One of the great things that Sara [IQ boss lady] has already done for me is that she’s gotten me to look at the themes of my work. She’s helped me put it into focus. Having written so many bits of microfiction, what on earth is it that ties them all together? For me, it’s surprising people. Taking tropes and twisting them until they spark and start to feel new again.

A big way that I end up doing this is with female characters. Taking traditional damsels in distress and turning them into badass heroes. Or taking wicked witches and remoulding them as tragic heroines. Taking fairy tale princesses and giving them the chance to grab the story by the scruff of the neck and steer it somewhere new…
So that’s what I decided I wanted my first collection to be about. And that’s the book that IQ have been so amazing to help me put together.

It’s a book about heroines. About badass women. Tragic women. Interesting women. Powerful women. Women with desires and failings and power.

And I think it’s a book that fits with what Inspired Quill is trying to do: in that it’s engaged with the world around it, while also being a thoroughly engaging read.

It’s called Heroine Chic. It’s coming out in 2017.

And I really hope you like it.

Picture of publisher Sara-Jayne Slack

Sara-Jayne Slack

Sara-Jayne is a social entrepreneur, convention panelist, (very) amateur actress and lover of all things tea related.

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