Tara Isabel Zambrano is the author of the new flash fiction collection Death, Desire, and Other Destinations. Also an engineer, she lives in Texas.
Q: Over how long a period did you write the stories in Death, Desire, and Other Destinations?
A: I started writing the stories that are in this collection back in early 2014. It was after I’d joined a fiction workshop site, called Fictionaut, and posted a flash. It received a lot of praise and other writers suggested to submit my work to literary journals.
Q: How did you choose the order in which the stories would appear in the collection?
A: I’ve put some serious thought in ordering these stories, to not string together more than two stories of death, the same for desire. I’ve tried to mix and match the mood and the range of emotions in these pieces, the time frame in which they have been written and published.
Q: What themes do you see running through your work?
A: Most or all my work primarily revolves around the impermanence of life and hence, its grandeur of desire, its finality in the physical world. Hence the title of Death, Desire, and Other Destinations.
The first two are the prominent aspects of our existence. They are the undercurrent, the skeleton of my stories. They make me realize what this life amounts to if anything and that’s my attempt to convey through my work.
Q: As an engineer and writer, how do you see the two coexisting for you?
A: My work as an engineer has strengthened the logical, analytical part of my brain. Everything in my rational, practical world is deterministic, a wall that can be leaned on. Time and again, it has been a force in my editing process, in the execution of the story, in laying the structure, the screws and bolts of a strong framework.
As a writer, I have learned to trust my instincts, my feelings, my creative side, no matter how absurd it is. Because I know, I am going to tear it apart once I switch over to being an engineer. I might keep the absurdity, the human frailty if it has some mass, some gravity, some aspect that anyone can connect with and say, Yes, this is how I feel, this is how it is.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I am working on a few short shorts/flash pieces under 500 words. They span from single sentences, breathless paragraphs, to three-line titles.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: I am thinking of a new collection. Possibly short stories and essays, possibly something else. Also, thank you for giving me this opportunity, this medium to express my thoughts.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb