1. What inspired you to write Black Friday Insanity?
I was inspired by my relatives, personal Black Friday experiences, and ridiculous news stories. Black Friday Insanity is a comedic expression of shopping and sibling rivalry.
2. As an author, what does shopping represent to you both literally and metaphorically?
In this story, shopping represents many things for the main character, Jane. Her anger is being released and defining her. Her self-esteem issues are being exposed because they allowed her to be triggered into a rage. Shopping is not about acquiring stuff to Jane--she knows she doesn't need the stuff. Shopping is about getting back at people: her sisters.
3. Why do you think the holidays are so stressful for so many people--and what makes the holidays a rich topic for an author?
The holidays are what we choose to make of them. People who are running around feeling stressed have chosen to take on a myriad of rituals (shopping, baking, cooking, traveling, hosting).
Most people take on these activities without deep reflection as to why they "have to" do these things. It is in the "have to" that the stress becomes negative (and creates resentment). I want to make some cupcakes for dessert, or I have to make cupcakes for dessert can make a huge difference in the person's emotions.
I believe that the holidays are such a rich topic because fall and winter have brought people inside to nest. They are not as distracted with the outside environment as they were in the warmer months. Since they are nesting or hibernating, they are in the mood for indoor entertainment and stories. Holiday stories have a little extra excitement because there are a few extra events taking place that don't happen on routine days (work, drive, clean, etc.).
4. What do you think about the trend among some people to reframe Black Friday as "Buy Nothing Day"?
I hadn't heard about "Buy Nothing Day," but I assume people are revolting against the insanity of Black Friday. Black Friday can bring out the worst in people. Since Black Friday brings people out in multitudes, the worst of human expression is multiplied.
5. In writing a short novel, how do you maintain a balance between writing about events and feelings drawn from your own life and creating a work of fiction?
This particular story was a pleasure to write. Much of it was taken straight from memory of incidents with people I've known. I added a little comedic exaggeration, and the same stories that had brought mental anguish then became funny perceptions.