An Interview with Fleeta

Welcome Fleeta Cunningham, and thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions.  Lets get started.

1. What do you write, fact or fiction.
Tom Clancy said, “The difference between fiction and fact? Fiction has to make sense. “
I write fiction. I am incapable of making a straight report. I have to make it more dramatic, improve the dialogue, magnify the characters–I never let the truth get in the way of a good story. My mother often told me to stop taking a button and sewing a three-piece suit to it. Somehow, though, I just can’t resist.
2. When did you start writing
I wrote my first story when I was eight. I’d been to see the movie “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and I just couldn’t believe that silly girl was taken in by the witch and ate the poisoned apple. And I’m claustrophobic myself, so when the dwarves closed the princess up in the glass coffin, that was too much. I went home and re-wrote the story. And a passion was born. In middle school and high school, I worked on the school newspaper and annual. No one knew who was behind that salacious gossip column for years. Later, as the librarian for a major Houston law firm, I wrote a syndicated column for my professional newsletter. Some of those columns have appeared as text material for academic Library Science programs. A few years into my career, I began writing novels as an after-hours escape from the world of torts, contracts, and litigation.
3. Where do stories come from
Stephen King said, “We never ask one another where we get our ideas; we know that we don’t know.”
I think we hate to admit where we get ideas for stories. We eavesdrop on people at the table behind us in the coffee shop. We watch people walking in the park. We take gossip and recast it into unidentifiable plots. We re-arrange confidences from our dearest friends. In other words, we don’t tell where we get our story ideas for the same reason magicians don’t explain their tricks. It destroys the illusion. When asked–and we all are–I just say, “That’s the way it happened because I said so–this time. Next time, I may tell it different.”
4. Why do you write romance instead of something more ‘literary’
I write to entertain. I hope to give my reader an hour away from daily life, show her a set of problems that she doesn’t have to fix, guarantee her a happy ending, and take her to a place where the right man and the right woman find each other. I don’t suppose football players or musicians or film actors are ever asked to justify what they do. They entertain, give us escape, and do so because they have talent, work hard, and are willing to risk losing the attention of a fickle public. Sometimes they turn out a magnificent effort. Once in a while they touch us with their valor. But mostly, they entertain. And if I write well enough that one reader smiles or has a moment of pleasure or feels better about her own life, I call it successful.
5. Any last words you’d care to share with us
I’ll offer you another quotation. This is Isaac Asimov. “If my doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.”  I couldn’t explain the compulsion to write any better than he did.
What a pleasure it has been to visit with you today.  Thank you, Fleeta!  I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed reading your books, now available at:

6 Responses to “An Interview with Fleeta”

  • Mary Preston [ 21Mar14]

    I love how you had to re-write SNOW WHITE. A great post thank you. Loved the quotes too.

  • Tiffany Green [ 21Mar14]

    Isn’t that great, Mary? Re-writing Snow White at eight years old had to be a sure sign a writer was born.

  • Fleeta Cunningham [ 21Mar14]

    Thanks, Tiffany! It was great fun to visit and remember how it all happened. Let’s chat again soon!

  • Tiffany Green [ 21Mar14]

    It was great fun! I’m ready anytime…

  • Quilt Lady [ 21Mar14]

    Great interview! I love how you had to re-write Snow White that is a sure sign of a good writer.

  • Tiffany Green [ 21Mar14]

    That was a sure sign, wasn’t it? Glad you could make it today, Quilt Lady.

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