by Charlsie Johnson
Nestled into her office on the third floor of the Janet Ayers Academic Center, Dr. Susan Finch and I chatted about her newest writing achievements, ongoing projects, and career as a writer. Finch teaches Creative Writing to undergraduates as well as graduate students for the English Department at Belmont, while also doubling as a successful published writer. Most recently she won the Special Topics Prize in the Crab Orchard Review for her short story, “Everybody Has a Flood Story,” and was named one of the six finalist for the Hamlin Garland Award in the Beloit Fiction Journal for her story, “Dear Second Husband.”
Finch expressed how she was excited to be selected by Crab Orchard Review this past December. She explained that the published issue this July, in she will be featured, is to be the last issue in print because of the move to publish online. The Special Topics Contest was called All about the Weather, and each submission had to discuss weather conditions in a creative way. Her work, “Everybody Has a Flood Story,” was the product of her research on the floods that occurred in 2010. “The research wasn’t to create factual truth,” said Finch. “The research was to give inspiration to my writing.” Her method for developing the story included listening to different accounts from those who were impacted by the floods. This sparked the creation of fictional mini stories with various narrators who were also victims of tragedy.
“Dear Second Husband,” submitted to the Beloit Fiction Journal, was recognized as a finalist for the Hamlin Garland Award in February of this year. The Beloit Fiction Journal publishes the best in contemporary short fiction that is either traditional or experimental with its narrative. Finch explained that the story that she submitted for this journal is part of a bigger ongoing project that she is working on: a published collection of nine short stories, titled Dear Second Husband. Its structure is a mixture of the traditional short story and experimental elements that push the traditional boundaries due to its incorporation of letters, the purpose of which is not revealed until part way through the book itself.
“For a lot of readers of short stories this can be really jarring because it does not follow their personal expectations of what a story should be,” said Finch. “But it’s a lot of fun to do because you get to break down the walls a little bit.”
Continue reading “Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Finch’s Recent Accomplishments and Thoughts on Writing”