Interview with 3rd Prize Winner, Michael Callaghan
Michael Callaghan is a lawyer living and working in Glasgow. He has had previous writing successes,
most recently taking third place in the 2022 Edinburgh Flash Fiction Award. He has also had several stories included in the Scottish Arts Trust’s various published anthologies, including two in the most recently published A Meal for the Man in Tails. He generally writes short stories although his long term ambition is to write a novel.
How would you sum up your story in 1 or 2 sentences?
A man is haunted by the memory of his girlfriend who ran off to London at sixteen and was never seen again. Can he fix the past? (It’s essentially a love story with a dash of sci-fi / fantasy...)
Where did you get the idea for your story - What came first, character or plot?
As in all my stories, the general plot came first - but the original version actually had no reference to the number point nine recurring. Later, I read about the number 0.9 recurring being equal to the number 1 - and I thought that was interesting, and also that it was a good fit for the story I’d already written.
Pen and paper or straight to screen?
I’ve always been straight to screen. I do a lot of re-writing so I think I’d kill a lot of trees if I got it all out on paper first. I like to get a rough version of the story down and then work with it, and I don’t stop for typos or other corrections - my first draft is essentially a mass of red squiggly lines…
Do you have any writing heroes or favourite authors?
I’m happy to read anything and all genres but my favourite writer is Stephen King. For fans of short fiction, I think his short story collections are essential reading.
Do you have any advice for other short story writers?
I think I’ve a long way to go before I start dispensing wise words to others, but I’m happy to repeat the truism that writers write, and if you want to progress it’s important to find time in your life to write. The worst story ever written is better than the masterpiece stuck in someone’s head.
Do you have any other short stories published elsewhere that our readers can check out?
Yes – I have a writer’s page at the Scottish Arts Trust which contains links to (most of) my available online stories – see https://www.storyawards.org/michael-callaghan
You can read Point Nine, Recurring here.