Cyndra Gernet is one of the authors that will appear in Fatally Haunted, Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles’ upcoming 2019 anthology.
STORY TITLE: “The Funnel of Love”
A twenty-something carney worker accused of a crime in Arizona flees to the assumed safety of California.
Q: What intrigued you about the theme, Fatally Haunted ?
I write lots of short stories and many have a haunting quality. In fiction, as in life, people say things or take action they later regret. If the words or actions are extreme enough, they lodge in a person’s conscience and don’t let go.
I was delighted when my story, The Funnel of Love, was chosen for this anthology.
Q: Is your story a who-dunnit, a why-dunnit, or a how-dunnit?
My story is a bit of all three. The reader doesn’t know the answer to any of these questions until the end of the tale. I didn’t really make the choice to use all the dunnits so much as the developing story required them. I am a no-outline writer who lets the story lead me and often don’t know where it’s going until it’s there.
Q: What’s different about writing a short story? What did you learn from this experience?
For me, the difference between short story writing and novel writing is great. Short stories are a comfortable fit for me, novels are not. I tend to get lost and stuck when writing a novel, but with the short story form, I’m free to just fly. I love to get in there, paint a mood, develop a character, and move on. Perhaps it comes from being a Speech Pathologist who sees students for only a half-hour at a time before the next group arrives. When I took my first yoga class and when I wrote my first short story, I felt the same way; “You’re so familiar. I know you. I’m home.”
Q: How did your editor help you improve your story? What insights did you gain from working with her?
My wonderful editor Sheila Lowe was so generous with her time, attention to detail, and her compliments. She offered several suggestions for clarification or expanded descriptions, always in an upbeat manner. If I ever edit anyone’s work, I will use her positive attitude as a model. I was touched that when she met my family, she praised me as a writer.
Q: What’s next for you? What are you working on?
I just finished another short story that isn’t crime related. In fact, it’s a love story, a love letter to a house I used to live in that I am finally missing after ten years. What’s next for me should be the business of submitting my stories to agents or editors. I find that aspect of writing very difficult so probably what I’ll really do is just write another short story.
Q: What does your writing space look like?
The space where I write can be anywhere I carry my laptop. I have written in my backyard, in libraries, parks, my living room, my bedroom. I have no permanent space or even a desktop computer. My favorite place to write is atop the bed in the den, propped up on pillows, my two mini-dachshunds beside me.
Likewise, I have no writing schedule. I am not disciplined. I know it is better to be so, but I have finally ‘owned’ my writing style which is write when it moves me or for class, quit when something inside says to, and choose to ignore most writing advice.
If I can manage to be a writer with this approach, so can you.