Like several of the stories in Flash Fiction for Flash Memory, Elizabeth Burton’s, An Unlikely Friend, erodes misconceptions people often hold about those who are not like themselves. In her story, an elderly woman is disappointed when a young, pink-haired woman moves into the house across the street because she'd hoped for a neighbor more like herself. But when disaster strikes, she finds her assumptions may have been wrong.
Elizabeth wants her readers to “be open to those who are placed in your life, even if they don’t meet your preconceived notions about what constitutes a friend, neighbor, or even a family member.” Her inspiration for the story? “I’ve had a number of unlikely friendships in my life and I wanted to honor them. The characters basically came to life on their own.”
When asked what challenges her in her writing life, she admits a common complaint among writers: “…telling a good story. I firmly believe that what makes writing memorable in the long run is not merely beautiful language but also a beautiful story. That story can be gruesome or ugly, but if it's a good story, it will have beauty.”
Elizabeth lives in Kentucky and graduated with an MFA in Fiction from Spalding University, She gives credit to her husband, Joe, as the most encouraging person in her writing life. She also acknowledges the wonderful writing tribe she found during her MFA program where everyone, “from the instructors to her fellow students” gave her inspiration. She’s had a terrific experience with their program and would encourage anyone considering entering an MFA program to look at Spalding.
Elizabeth recently completed two books: a mystery novel and a short story collection she’s currently shopping around to publishers. She’s currently hard at work finishing a draft of a novel about a girl brutalized under the eugenics laws of the 1950s. The story is about her struggle to overcome a sterilization forced upon her by the state and the way she finds meaning in her life through the art of ventriloquism. It's tentatively titled, The Puppet's Voice, and hopes to have it ready to send out to publishers within the next year.
Keep an eye on her website, http://www.elizabethburtonwriter.com/, for updates on her publishing journey!
For your copy (and to read Elizabeth’s complete story), check out: bit.ly/READFLASH!