Brittany Bauernfiend, Brave Voices Fiction Editor: What does the word brave mean to you?
Amanda McLeod: To me, being brave is about knowing yourself and not changing who you are in the face of adversity – it’s placing enough value on yourself. It’s being afraid and taking the leap anyway. There’s a line from a Jason Mraz song that I think really sums it up: “Leap, and the net will appear”
BB: How can writers be brave when working on their own writing?
AM: By writing what they want to write. Tell the story you need to tell. And – hardest of all! – be ready to admit when something isn’t working and cut it out. The wonderful Stephanie Hutton gave a me a gem of advice once – she told me to keep all the things I cut in a folder somewhere, in case they are the beginnings of something else. Just because they don’t work in that particular story doesn’t make them junk – they just need a different fit. I have mined some absolute gold out of the folder of bits and bobs!
BB: Why did you choose to write Returns and Exchanges in first person POV as opposed to other perspectives?
AM: I wanted to really inhabit her mind and have the reader do that too – you need to really step into her shoes, I think, to connect with her desperation and understand why she’d want to take such a drastic step.
BB: Do you remember where you were or what you were doing when the idea for this story came around?
AM: Yes! I was standing in line to return something I’d bought that wasn’t quite right and I was people watching, looking at all the other random things people were returning and wondering why they were returning them. I thought to myself ‘wow, people will return almost anything’ which immediately led into ‘imagine if you could get a refund on your whole life’ – and there it was!
BB: If your piece was adapted to a movie, who would you choose to play our main character, Lauren, and why?
AM: Hmm. Maybe Kristen Stewart? I think she could capture the quiet darkness quite well.
BB: Can you describe your work in three words?
AM: layered, introspective, diverse (my writing group would also say depressing, but I’ve written some quite joyous pieces as well!)
BB: What can readers look forward to from you in the future?
AM: A book! My debut flash fiction collection is being released later this year (follow me on Twitter @AmandaMWrites for all the juicy details when they become available). I’ve also been editing a novel, and working on some poetry. I’m brimming with ideas!
Amanda McLeod is an Australian author and artist. Her words have appeared in many places both in print and online including Milk Candy Review, Not Very Quiet, Chanterelle’s Notebook, and others. She is also the Managing Editor at Animal Heart Press, where she helps poets bring their books to life. She likes rain, quiet, and long walks. Find her on Twitter @AmandaMWrites or at her website AmandaMcLeodWrites.com