Saturday, June 23, 2012

An Interview with Rebecca Barray, 1st Place Winner of the May Flash Fiction (MFF) Contest

Everyone, please welcome fellow full-time mom and writer, Rebecca Barray, to Unwritten for some one-on-one questioning. Rebecca's entry in the MFF contest actually made my blind judge (my hubby, who is not blind) cry. It takes a strong story to make that man cry, let me tell you. And once you read Rebecca's entry, you'll know why:

MFF#13: "A Child Needs His Father" by Rebecca Barray

Let's get down to business, shall we? Tell us about yourself. Who's that woman on the other side of the screen?

Wow, this is a tough one. I’m not entirely sure who I am most of the time. I love spending time with my family and playing with my babies. I love to read, pretty much anything and everything I get my hands on. I love to write fiction and learn about writing as much as I can. I’ve recently discovered the fun of photography, too, and it’s a great way to capture my little ones in time.

Where did the inspiration for your winning story come from? 

With this story, and most of the flash fiction I write, I start with a very deliberate idea of where I want the story to end. Of course, by the time I finish, it probably couldn’t be further from that idea than if I’d deliberately tried to avoid it. I knew I wanted to tell a story of a father’s goodbye, and I wanted the father to be a really good guy. That's all that made it from start to finish in this one. I had envisioned the father running away with the child, despite being a good guy, because he knew that the child would be unsafe otherwise. But in the middle, I thought, “What if he could just keep the kid?” And thus, “A Child Needs His Father” was born.

For me, the writing bug bit in back in 2009 and hasn't let go since. When did you start writing fiction?

I’ve been writing off and on, since middle school. I had such a fantastic time writing fiction for a project in 7th grade that I never really stopped. I didn’t really consider it more than a fun hobby until about a year ago. My two small children were 6 months and 2, and my oldest was starting middle school. I found I was drawn to write more and more. I still do it mostly for myself, but I’m starting to work on a novel that I hope to publish one day.

On your blog, entitled, Becca's Blog, I see a section called 'On My Nightstand', and there are a few familiar writing resource books there. Do you have any favorite writing resources you can recommend?

Buy it HERE!
I don’t know if I can pick a single favorite; there are so many great ones out there. Stephen King’s “On Writing” is a great one disguised as more of a memoir. James Scott Bell’s “Plot and Structure” and “Conflict and Suspense” from the Writer’s Digest Series on Writing Fiction are both extremely helpful when it comes to structure. Another favorite that covers pretty much everything you need to know about storytelling is “Story Engineering” by Larry Brooks.

If I've been asked this once, I've been asked a million times: How do you, as a full-time mom of three, have time to write?

That is a question I get asked often, as well. I don’t know about you, but with two toddlers at home, I don’t HAVE time to write. I have to MAKE time to write. On a really good day, I can slip in an hour in the morning, a couple at naptime, and another hour or two after baby bedtime. That, of course, excludes any days that my husband or older son would like to spend any time with me.  Clearly, I don’t get a lot done.

Who are your favorite authors and what are your favorite genres?

I tend to be attracted to fantasy and/or romance. The House of Night series, by PC and Kristin Cast, is one of my YA favorites. The Sookie Stackhouse series, by Charlaine Harris, and The Black Dagger Brotherhood series, by JR Ward, are my favorites on the adult paranormal side. In Romance, I just discovered Megan Hart’s “Stranger”, and I now NEED to read every book she’s ever written.

Are you working on anything now, and can you tell us about it?

As I mentioned earlier, I recently started working on a novel. It’s basically about a shy teenage girl that discovers she’s a long lost fairy princess. Can she overcome her shyness and discover the secrets of her family tree in time to save her newly discovered kingdom from a dark and sinister rival? (Okay, I know it’s a little heavy on the clichés, but I am just starting, and by the time I’m finished, it’s anybody’s guess what it will be about.)

Would you like to share an excerpt?

Here’s where my fairy princess enters into the world of Faery for the first time:

I began to take in this fantastical whole new world. If I had been colorblind, it wouldn’t have been half as startling. Many things had familiar shapes: grass, trees, flowers and streams, though with vastly different colors. Everything shone like it was lit from within. Bright, white light streamed down and warmed me from two suns, one low and one hanging high in a soft pink, cloudless sky. The air was heavy with a wild mixture of strange fruity aromas and almost no breeze. My mouth watered and I imagined the scent belonging to a plump fruit, full of a sweet juice that ran down my chin with every bite. A gurgle drew my attention to a small brook flowing with water the orange color of sunset back home. Everything seemed to slow as I spun around with my arms outspread, trying to take it all in at once. There was such a feeling of peace as I took a deep breath and a smile stretched across my face. Every few steps I wanted to stop and inspect something. There was a cluster of blood red flowers that swayed even though there was no wind, as if they were slow-dancing to some melody that I just couldn’t hear. A long line of tiny birds, the size and color of golf balls, marched like ants, high among the feathery, lavender leaves of a tree. When the small leader opened its beak, the tinkling sound of bells came out and every single bird in line stopped frozen. If I hadn’t just seen them moving with my own eyes, I would have sworn they were concrete statues. A little farther along, I came to an odd tree. The stiff, navy branches seemed to be slotted. As I stood bewildered, a light wind brushed across my bare arms. Suddenly, a strange music filled the air and small, furry animals the same cerulean blue as the grass darted around beneath the branches, snatching falling seeds as soon as they touched the ground.

Last but not least, here's a random question: What do you order when you eat Chinese food?

Oh, I love Chinese food! I don’t get to eat it nearly often enough, but, when I do, I always get General Tso’s Chicken with fried rice! I LOVE IT!!

Thanks so much, Rebecca, for sharing all these juicy tidbits with us today. I wish you a ton of success!

Thanks so much for your fun contest and wonderful prizes! It’s an honor to be showcased here on Unwritten!!!


Rebecca Barray is a stay home mother of three (four if you count her extremely child-like husband). She loves fiction and spends her precious little spare time reading, writing, learning about writing, and thinking about writing. She also likes to take pictures.

Becca’s Blog is where she shares her goals, tips, and dreams. She’s also been known to share mommy moments, as well as bits of her latest fiction love: romance, poetry, or fantasy. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Good interview, Rebecca and Mysti. I feel the same way about Stephen King's writing. There's just something about him draws you into his stories.

    Best of luck in your writing. My grandson set up a blog for me a long time ago, but I didn't really understand how to use it. I might try to find it after reading yours and a few others.

  2. Thanks Leona!

    And great big thanks to Mysti for having me here on her awesome blog!

  3. It's my pleasure! Thanks for sharing your awesome story and some wonderful info about yourself. You did GREAT!!

  4. wonderful interview - I appreciate hearing how others "make time" for their writing, where they get their inspiration, what they're playing with in their writing


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