|Photo by Maya Rosenfeld|
Excerpt from “Independence Day” by Avril Adams
The Rochelle Staab Questions Asked of Avril Adams
What is the weirdest thing that’s happened to you in Los Angeles?
One night someone knocked on my door. I lived on a hillside at the time and it was a hard climb without a car. I opened the door and there was a woman standing there. She had red hair and wore glasses. She said her car had broken down and asked to use my phone. Right out of a horror movie, right? Well this was in the days before cell phones so it was more reasonable than now. Since she appeared to be alone I agreed to let her use the phone . I pointed it out on the kitchen wall. I was busy for a moment as she picked up the receiver but unknown to her I was watching. I realized she hadn’t actually dialed a number but was just pretending to talk to someone. Then I was really scared but I didn’t let on. After a minute of very strange conversation she asked if she could stay the night. Whew! I was scared. I finally got her to go outside and locked the door behind her.
Do you have a yet-to-be-realized L.A. dream?
My dreams don’t center around this town. This city has a thousand masks and you can try on a few but sometimes the masks can overtake you and you can become part of the craziness. I’m okay with being in it but not of it.
Why write short stories? Why write at all? What’s in it for you?
A lot of life is about karma and the law of unintended consequences. Shot stories allow me to play god with these ideas, pack a punch and get out quick. Sometimes short stories leave an indelible mark because they are brief, ephemeral, pivotal moments in time.
What is the biggest challenge to writing to theme?
Writing to theme can be a curse if you feel you have to be totally linear with it. It can also be a blessing in that it winnows a universe of possibilities down to a manageable few.
Los Angeles is a patchwork quilt of different neighborhoods. Why did you pick the area you used for your story and how did the neighborhood influence your writing?
This city is full of neighborhoods but most people drive through or around them without ever stopping to meet the people that live in them or to experience other cultures. You could have a story with a certain set of facts but it will be completely different when filtered through different neighborhoods and ethnic group experience.
Are there scenes in your story based on real life-yours, hearsay, or a news story you read?
Most of my stories are based on something real, in the news, an idea in a book, something that happened to me. I rearrange the facts and try to figure out why this event is important and what is the theme that I want to dress it in.
What came first, the character or the plot?
For me, always the character.
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While you are writing: music (what kind) dead silence, or…?
I can sometimes write when there is music or the T.V. going on in the room, usually classical or something without words. I can work while half-listening to the T.V. Noise isn’t so much a distraction but a mood changer. Sometimes that’s also good to change the mood.
What’s your favorite writing quote?
I don’t really have a favorite but if I did it would remind me that one writes for its own sake and not for a reward or if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
What’s my writing ritual?
Don’t have one but I often warm up by reading something great by another author.
Avril Adams lives in the Inland Empire. She writes crime fiction, often in the noir genre. Her story, “The Lowriders” was included in Last Exit to Murder. She has had several other short stories published. In addition to crime fiction, Avril writs science fiction with a humanist twist as well as children’s stories. She is working on a novel starring an African-Amercican female PI. Her animals are an inspiration for her fiction.