Fiction Kitchen Berlin is more than just a reservoir of beautiful flash fiction. We want to get to know the people behind the great work that comes our way, those pieces that make it on our menu. Today we are opening the Kitchen to Mark Anthony Smith, who hails from Hull, UK. Mark’s work, Roundabouts, appeared in the Kitchen in January 2020. His story will also feature in our first bi-annual Lit. Mag due in July.
Hi Mark Anthony and welcome to the Kitchen! Your flash piece, Roundabouts, is the most popular story we’ve hosted to date. What was your inspiration behind it?
Hi Shane! ‘Roundabouts’ was inspired by the frustrations of being lost on a day-trip or not having any bearings in a foreign city. I wanted to catch the moment when you think you know where you are, only to pass a shop again and feel lost. Then, it’s also a metaphor for anxieties going around in your head. Round and round, these circular thoughts go. I was originally going to set the story in York. But I chose a Fairground, perhaps Hull Fair, to add more tension and claustrophobia. It was so important to describe the rides a second time to really get these feelings across to the reader.
When did you discover your passion for writing?
I’ve always wanted to write since I was in my twenties. Discovering the small press opportunities on Twitter really spurred me on in the last six months.
What other writing projects are you excited about at the moment?
I’ve just published a Novella about food and love called, ‘We can order the same or taste each other’s’. That took a year of false starts as I had to find the right narrative voice. It started as a short story. Also, I’m writing a lot of Horror for Red Cape’s ‘A – Z of Horror’ series and I’m really pushing boundaries with those. My horrors keep my writing fresh as I try new techniques and tropes.
What literary journals and/or authors inspire you the most?
There’s about twenty literary journals I’ve been published in through Twitter. They’re listed on my Amazon page. I am also excited about a collection of fictions and verse forthcoming in Wolven Moon Press (@MoonWolven). Regarding authors, I love Ian McEwan, Shirley Jackson, H. P. Lovecraft, and Adam Nevill. J.M.G. Le Clezio and Javier Marias are really interesting to read too. Then Shaun Hutson, James Herbert, and Clive Barker, all made writing sexy in my earlier years.
What are you reading right now?
I’ve just discovered Richard Laymon. He left a large body of work and I’m reading my way through his novels. Also, Ellen Datlow’s ‘Best Horror…’ anthologies are deservedly getting my attention. She has her finger on the pulse when it comes to the horror scene: each book’s summation is invaluable as it combs through all the horror media of the past year.
If you could step into any story and live there – which one would it be? And Why?
Ha ha! Gosh. Err? I’d have to say ‘Black dogs’ by Ian McEwan. The prose is so sure and exact in a time of uncertainty. It was set around the time that the Berlin Wall came down and flits each side of the unknowingness.
Any sage advice for new writers?
Read, read, read. A good writer is firstly a good reader. There’s a rich heritage of writing to learn from. A good novel, poem, or short story is great socialisation. Also, submit work to journals like Fiction Kitchen Berlin to build a readership pre-book.
Ok, thank you Mark for taking the time to talk to us. Just one last question: name one thing on your bucket list?
A latte once we comeout of lockdown. Stay safe during this pandemic, everyone. Thank you.
Mark Anthony Smith was born in Hull. His writings have appeared in Fiction Kitchen Berlin, Spelk, The Horror Tree and many others. Several of his books, including ‘Hearts of the matter’, are available on Amazon. His Horrors also appear in Anthologies by Red Cape, Eerie River, and Nocturnal Sirens. Facebook: Mark Anthony Smith – Author | Twitter: MarkAnthonySm1618