“I have learned instead of pushing myself to fit a certain mold most women writers are pushed into I should allow myself the freedom to explore what I want to write when I want to write it.”
CB: Introduce yourself.
DR: My name is Desiree Roundtree, I was born and raised in Brooklyn and have the accent, and attitude, to prove it. I am the mother of a kick-ass ten-year-old girl and the wife of a superhero that possesses the patience to deal with the both of us. I believe in a well-timed curse word and am President of The Fraternal Order of Grammar Police.
CB: What got you started writing?
DR: I have always kept journals and diaries. I think that is where a lot of this started, in my youth when I felt like I didn’t have much to say to the outside world because they wouldn’t listen or wouldn’t understand. Writing gave me a way out of my head, and I think it does that for a lot of people. It allows you to escape or dive in, whichever you choose at the time. Writing has always represented a sort of freedom to me, a way for me to be whoever I want, whatever I want, whenever I want.
CB: What is the most rewarding aspect of writing?
DR: The most rewarding aspect of writing is fame and fortune. I kid. It is not. The most rewarding part for me is seeing my words in print. Sounds corny and maybe even a bit sentimental, but it’s absolutely true. Getting an acceptance, and seeing your words in print is a bit of pride only a writer can understand. It’s like someone gets that tiny spark of what makes you YOU and celebrates it. It’s a great feeling and I hope every writer I know, and even the ones I don’t, get to experience it at least once in their lives.
CB: Do you have a designated space for writing? Tell us about it.
DR: I do not have a designated space for writing. Most of the stories I have written have in fact been written on the train on my commute to work. Other times I write in bed, while my husband watches some sport I have no interest in, or an action movie that would probably put me to sleep. He once said that the sound of my keyboard is “the music of his life” since it is something he hears a lot and loves the sound of. Isn’t he such a romantic?
CB: Are you a planner or a pantser? Tell us a bit about your writing practices.
Normally, I write whenever an idea strikes. That’s why I love the idea of phones since I can either record what I am thinking or email myself a thought or plot idea I might have. That is something that definitely changed for me as a writer. I wrote my first still unpublished novel by hand in notebook after notebook after notebook, then typed it all. It was definitely something that was hard for me, I won’t lie, and often I regret relying on technology so much.
CB: What advice to new and emerging writers could you give?
DR: I would give you the same advice my Craft and Practice mentor gave me in undergrad, “Submit something every day for a year, and I can guarantee within a year you will be a published author,” her name was Barbara Cheapitis and it was the best advice about writing I have ever been given. Your writing has to be for you not for the masses, and certainly not for acceptance. If it isn’t then it becomes someone else’s writing, and that’s something you are probably trying to avoid.
CB: Who are your influences?
DR: I would say my influences delve into the realm of magical realism. Authors such as Isabel Allende, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, and Carlos Ruiz-Zafon are a few of my very favorite. Their words often drip with a sort of song I haven’t yet sung. I absolutely love their writing.
CB: Physical books or e-readers?
DR: I have learned that both are fine for me. I thought at first I would migrate toward the e-reader but I can say I prefer an actual book to hold and smell. It just feels different. I do feel like I read faster on an e-reader, so if that is your goal I would definitely lean that way.
CB: If you could give a PSA to journal editors, what would it be?
DR: Give everyone a chance. Read with patience. Contact the writers and give them the opportunity to right their wrongs if you are so interested in one of their projects. I find that email the hardest to accept.
CB: Taphophobia is the fear of being buried alive. Tell us about your fears.
DR: I learned I had a lot of fears when I was recently diagnosed with anxiety. Certain things had always scared me – I never want to get lost, I am afraid of clowns, closed spaces and the dark, I am afraid to die, I am afraid to live – the list could go on for pages.
CB: What draws you to dark fiction?
DR: Dark fiction allows you the open space to explore things you wouldn’t normally let out. It is a place to roar instead of purr.
CB: How does the darkness in your piece enhance the work?
DR: Darkness will always be there. I have learned instead of pushing myself to fit a certain mold most women writers are pushed into I should allow myself the freedom to explore what I want to write when I want to write it. It is hard to explain that there are monsters in your head, or in your soul, or sometimes in your heart but if they are there the best thing you can do is let them out. Writing is a way to do that, to feel like you can exhale that demon and maybe move on to the next.
CB: Tell us where we can read more of your words.
DR: I am in the process of editing and pitching my full-length novel, A Safe Place, a story about a woman who lives her life trapped between the world and her very real nightmares. I have been able to keep most of the novel under wraps by supplementing my writing addiction with short stories such as “The Monster” and “Generations of Warriors,” both published with Coffin Bell Journal, “The Vanishing” published with Zimbell House Publishing and a few others you can find living on the interwebs. You can read my writing about the battles I face with Lupus, and all its nastiness on my personal playground, www.thebrooklyntimes.tumblr.com. You can also catch me ranting and raving on Twitter @desroundtree.
Desiree Roundtree was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY where she still lives with her husband and daughter. By day she crunches numbers, but anytime in between she is writing words. She is a lover of hip-hop, acoustic guitar and a well timed curse word.