To celebrate 13 weeks of winter, Hàlön Chronicles will be conducting one interview a week for 13 weeks. We’ve also partnered with additional artists and authors for a few surprises throughout the winter. Join us on the hashtag #13Winterviews, or check out our blog hop for a sneak peek at who’s on the roster in the coming weeks.
Hosted by: K. J. Harrowick
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a divorced mother of two boys, a really fractious cat, and a mostly blind dog. I’m in my mid-forties and don’t care who knows it—it’s the happiest I’ve been in my life and also the best I have ever felt about my physical appearance. I really love to sing but I’m fairly tone deaf. I love to dance but I have no natural rhythm whatsoever. It’s unfortunate, but I don’t let it stop me.
2. What types of books do you write, and why?
I write mostly creative nonfiction—memoir, essay, and blogs. I feel like I’m given so much good material in real life that it would be a shame to waste it. That being said, I’m currently trying my hand at a novel, because I want to say something about alternative sexuality in a way that touches people, and a novel seems the best way to do that.
3. What were your early influences, and how does this manifest in your work today?
I read a lot of everything as a child. I always had overdue books at the library, so I raided my older brother’s bookshelves as well as my mother’s. This forced me to read books I never would have chosen on my own, and I think I benefitted from that. I still try to read a variety of genres because I think it makes us look at the world and at writing differently.
4. Are there aspects of the craft that excite you more than others?
I love anything that crumples up the rules and throws them away. For example, I recently read “They Both Die at the End” by Adam Silvera, and the idea that he spoiled his ending in the title and still had a book worth reading fascinated me. I love anyone that plays with form: essays written as footnotes, encyclopedic entries, multiple choice tests. Jeanette Winterson’s novel, “Written on the Body” has a protagonist with no name or assigned gender. I love anything unusual, and often think weirding up a piece can unlock resonance in the reader as well, because it breaks down our expectations and forces us to look at writing with fresh eyes.
5. What books or websites are your go-to places while editing?
I write with thesaurus.com open at all times. I used to have a better memory before I had kids, and there are a lot of words I almost remember but not exactly.
I love Grammar Girl’s quick and dirty tips, and m-w.com’s time traveler is great for getting into the feel of a certain year or decade.
6. Tell us about your writing space.
I write in a recliner. It doesn’t matter where the recliner is located, but I have to put my feet up to write effectively. Also, I need slippers and coffee. I don’t need a cat hovering on the arm of my chair, but I often have one whether I specifically requested one or not. I can’t write about sex or abuse when my children are home. I have to wait until they are at school or at their father’s house for those chapters.
7. Tell us about your current WIP or your latest book release.
|My memoir, Girlish: Growing Up in a Lesbian Home, is scheduled for release April 3, 2018 with Skyhorse Publishing. I wrote it in third-person as that was the only way I could get enough distance to show my family as fully formed characters. I also interrupt the narrative with “Notes from the Fourth Wall.” When an actor breaks character and speaks directly to the audience, this is called breaking the fourth wall. In my memoir, these chapters allow me to write first person with a reflective gaze to offer explanation or more information than the characters knew at the time. I am curious to see if these experiments work for the reader as well as they do for me.
Plot-wise, Girlish is the story of my childhood. I was raised primarily by my mother and her bipolar wusband (woman-husband). My father lived in Anchorage, Alaska, and has been married seven times. None of them were good at appropriate boundaries or believed in wearing clothing all the time.