Sharon Frame Gay grew up a child of the highway, playing by the side of the road. She has been published in several anthologies, as well as BioStories, Gravel Magazine, Fiction on the Web, Literally Stories, Halcyon Days, Fabula Argentea, Persimmon Tree, Write City, Literally Orphans, Indiana Voice Journal, Luna Luna, Crannog magazine, and others. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee.
Congratulations on winning our July contest with "The Lighthouse". What gave you the inspiration for your story?
Thank you! I enjoyed writing this story and am happy to have won the July contest! Usually when I write, a sentence or phrase comes into my head, and the story goes from there. In the case of "The Lighthouse", in my imagination I heard a very formal male voice tell me that the sound of a fog horn was a lullaby to him. I let my character take it from there. He had a lot to tell me,(living in a lighthouse is lonely!) and I was happy to be his "scribe"!
What are some great books you've read recently?
I just re-read To Kill a Mockingbird, then treated myself to Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger, Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan, Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner and My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh.
What does a typical writing day look like for you?
I spend time each day editing and revising my stories, looking for places to submit them, sometimes reading and commenting on work that other writers send to me for feedback. I write my pieces all in one sitting, so I need the inspiration for the entire story to knock on my door, which doesn't happen every day. When it happens, I am oblivious to the world and can think of nothing else!
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to see where an idea takes you?
I don't work with outlines. I write everything in one fell swoop, then go back later and edit. After that, I put the story away for a short while - let it simmer on the back burner and try not to think about it. Then I go back in and read it again with a fresh pair of eyes. I try not to do much editing at first as I don't want to bleach out the emotion I felt when writing the story. Eventually, I feel brave enough to go back in and do some surgery on the piece.
What you are working on now?
Right now I am working on three contemporary pieces, but my heart returns again and again to historical fiction. I just finished a Western short fiction that I am excited about, and I am letting it rest for a while, gain some wisdom. In the meantime, I am polishing up the other three, and hope to start submitting them soon.
People close to you in life - family or friends - will always tell you that they will be there if they need help, but when the time comes, they’re not around, or they’re too wrapped up in themselves and their own grief to be of any help to you at all. Sometimes you have to heal alone, sometimes you heal together. Sometimes all you need is a bit of catharsis. I suppose that’s what Whittling, Man was about, and that’s what it was for me as well.
Growing up without roots, you never fully bloom. You may find the sun, rain, or wind on your face, but it only burns, wets, and batters. Nothing takes hold, burrows into a community, blossoms out of purpose. That's how I came to be here. I'm no more than a dandelion seed, standing in the middle of the road in a small town in South Dakota, ready to blow away on the next breeze. It doesn't matter. Not a bit. One town looks the same as another after a while.