The Story Behind the Story: “The Squall”

For a long time, I thought I couldn’t be a fiction writer because I’m a terrible liar. So I busied myself with personal essays and memoir pieces. But as it turns out, sticking to the truth – the whole truth and nothing but the truth – got weary after a while.

This story, like most of my fiction, was born from a personal experience – taking a pregnancy test in a portable bathroom by a lake after coming home from a trip abroad – but because it’s fiction, I was free to change the details of this woman’s situation. I was several years out of college when I sat by that lake, wondering what the lines on the plastic stick would tell me, but making Celeste a senior in college increased the stakes of the situation.

I also planted my character in a place I know well, a place with a bit more tension than a peaceful New England lake – the public beach on the side of the Rickenbacker Causeway in the heart of Miami. How many times have I stopped by here on a whim and stood in the surf, watching the waves and the clouds collide?

I’ll never forget one afternoon when I was enjoying a quick swim before work. Suddenly, the skies darkened and the beach emptied just as quickly; within minutes, I found myself at sea in the midst of an epic thunderstorm, unable to see a thing beyond the wall of rain, completely engulfed by water.

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“The Squall”

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About Carmella Guiol

Carmella de los Angeles Guiol is a writer, educator, amateur photographer and tropical fruit enthusiast. She is a graduate of Amherst College and the MFA program at the University of South Florida. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Review, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Thought Catalog, The Normal School, The Toast, Bustle, Fiction Southeast, Slag Glass City, Kudzu House, Tahoma Literary Review, The Manifest-Station, and elsewhere. A proud Floridian, Carmella is currently living and teaching in Cartagena, Colombia as a Fulbright fellow. You can keep up with her travels and her writing at