Writers of WHQ: An Interview with Iona Rule

5 minute read
Author: Jo

In case you didn’t know, the Writers’ HQ writing community is the actual, literal best in the universe, full of amazingly talented and generous writers who make our little corner of the internet a very nice place indeed.

And so, we decided to show some of ’em off as a part of our monthly Writers of WHQ interview series.

Get to know our amazing WHQ members — how they write, what makes them tick, their influences, inspiration, top tips and favourite stories — and see just how different each and every writer is. ‘Cause there’s no one ‘right’ (write?) way to do things, right?

Without further ado, today we are delighted to introduce you to WHQer, flash-fictioneer, and award-winning writer, Iona Rule!

Tell us about your writing journey — where did you start, where are you now, and how did you get there?

I only started writing during lockdown. I found Writers’ HQ by accident while googling flash fiction, stumbled upon Flash Face Off, and haven’t escaped yet! Like everything, it takes practice. I cringe thinking about what I first wrote. But with feedback and reading other stories I like to think I’ve improved. Now I’ve been published a few times and placed in / won some competitions. All bar one of these started in FFO.

Do you have a writing routine? How do you work best?

I don’t work Tuesdays so that’s my writing day. I only write to the FFO prompts as they spur me on to think about something in a short time frame. It has become a routine. I look at the prompts and write a mind map of what they make me think of then see what happens. I sit at the kitchen table and use pen and paper. I can’t think the same while typing.

What are you working on at the moment?

Flash! I’m trying to do some editing (ick) of pieces to get the submission ready. For mags and a few competitions that I like the look of. I also have a wee side project of a flash collection of lover inspired pieces, with each lover having a different profession. The title is a work in progress too but its currently A Conquest of Lovers.

Gif of an arty animated scribble depicting embracing lovers

What advice would you give to a writer starting out?

Read. Read. Read. Then read some more. Read broadly too. I feel that my writing was a bit rubbish until I came across magical realism/surrealist pieces and just thought, “Wow! You can do that?” Also find a supportive ( if sweary) group (hint hint) because it is so encouraging to know how your work is received but also to have constructive feedback.

What’s the piece of writing you’re proudest of (and why)?

Probably High On The Memories which started as a FFO which Kathy choose to be read out. I ended up cutting 100 words off it for the TSS Publishing Cambridge Flash Award and was shortlisted. It’s one of those stories that I wish I could replicate again. It was my best idea, I think. 

What are the main challenges you face with your writing?

Time. Or the lack of. If I don’t get an idea quickly it can be hard because there are so many other demands on my time that it feels a waste to sit and spending hours thinking of one. Now I’ve written this I’m thinking maybe being too hard on myself is also a challenge. 

What are you currently reading?

I read a lot. Just finished Kirsty Logan’s A Portable Shelter. And starting Ali Smith’s Girl Meets Boy. I’m only on the first page so can’t say it’s a recommendation yet!

What’s your favourite part of the Writers’ HQ Community?

How supportive everyone is. It feel like a win for one is a win for all. As are our losses/near misses. I feel like so many of the flash crew are pals even though we’ve never met, too. It’s not pretentious, competitive or too “arty farty” (for want of a better word) which is refreshing too.

Gif of Moira from Schitt's Creek saying "when one of us shines, all of us shine"

And finally, give us three recommendations of writers or stories you love.

Elisabeth Ingram Wallace

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Terry Pratchett


Edging — won 2nd prize in the Bath Flash Fiction Award Feb 2022

Heart Burn in Ellipsis Zine

When The Cardiologist Gave Me Your Heart in Full House Literary

We Traced The Footsteps, But They Led Nowhere in perhappened

Iona Rule
Iona Rule

Iona lives in the Scottish Highlands near Inverness, with her husband and cat, Louis. Apart from writing, her free time is also spent hiking, cooking and socialising. She hates writing bios or “stand up and tell the group something interesting about yourself” activities because her mind goes blank and she worries that she lives a very boring life. Or that she’ll inadvertently reveal an embarrassing secret and never live it down.

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