Read constantly. Write constantly. It doesn’t matter what you write about as long as you keep doing it.
Coffin Bell: Introduce yourself / short bio / photo.
Liora Sophie: Hi! I’m Liora, I’m 27. I’m bisexual and I have a math degree. I live in Jerusalem, Israel, where I pretend to be a research coordinator for a fundraising firm, while secretly practicing witchcraft and seducing young minds into the world of mathematics.
CB: What got you started writing?
LS: I learned how to do it and just never stopped.
CB: What is the most rewarding aspect of writing?
LS: Reading your own story once it’s complete; until then, you don’t necessarily know how it’s going to end.
CB: Do you have a designated space for writing? Tell us about it.
LS: I carry a laptop around and find spaces that inspire me. Usually they involve a group of other people who are also concentrating on something. I sometimes sit in the university library, or in cafes. I once wrote about seven thousand words on a cruise ship in Alaska.
CB: Are you a planner or a pantser? Tell us a bit about your writing practices.
LS: I’m a little of both. Sometimes I’ll get an idea, write down three-quarters of a story, then get stuck with the ending. So I’ll put it in a drawer, and a few months later I’ll get an idea and dig it up and finish writing.
CB: What advice to new and emerging writers could you give?
LS: I can only pass on the wisdom of those before me: Neil Gaiman says, “Most of us only find our own voices after we’ve sounded like a lot of other people.” Read constantly. Write constantly. It doesn’t matter what you write about as long as you keep doing it.
CB: Who are your influences?
LS: J. K. Rowling taught me most of my vocabulary, and some of my favorite stylistic choices such as using lots of different words instead of “said.” Neil Gaiman has a flair for creating suspense in only a few words, and he’s not afraid to dive in to dark subjects. Besides these two favorites, I like to learn from Jodi Picoult how to cause readers to empathize with both sides and blur the lines between the “good guys” and the “bad guys because our lives are not black and white.
CB: Physical books or e-readers?
LS: I’m strictly a why-not-both kind of person.
CB: If you could give a PSA to journal editors, what would it be?
LS: Pay for writing. It shows that you appreciate the value of the craft. Paying someone for their art should be as obvious and trivial as paying for food, and yet, still everyone offers “credit” and “glory” and “exposure.” Pay your contributors. Always, always, always.
CB: Taphophobia is the fear of being buried alive. Tell us about your fears.
LS: Trypophobia is a nasty fear of patterns of holes or bumps. If you think you might have it, don’t Google it, because it’s impossible to Google it without being triggered. Here’s an excellent piece that explains what it is but doesn’t contain any trigger images. http://www.jordantrudgett.com/all-about-trypophobia/
CB: What draws you to dark fiction?
LS: Writing is one of the tools I use to try to understand the world. Darkness is a part of our lives, and one of the more difficult parts to face. Reading allows us to see through the eyes of someone else, and in doing so we learn that we are not alone.
CB: How does the darkness in your piece enhance the work?
LS: Darkness is relatable and easy to imagine. My piece has both physical darkness and metaphorical darkness – it takes place in the middle of the ocean late at night and deals with death. It’s also full of contrast – the main character’s readiness to embrace the darkness as opposed to his determination to set off fireworks. The darkness and the contrast to it give the character depth and create a vivid image of what happens.
CB: Tell us about your book / publication / web site / promotion.
LS: I write mostly flash fiction and poetry, and the occasional patriarchy smash which you can find on my website, liorasophie.com. I have a novel in progress that features witches and demons and persecution and freedom to love whoever you want. I hope I finish it soon, because I can’t wait to find out what happens! Find me at liorasophie.com, and on Facebook and Twitter.
Read Liora Sophie’s “Two Below” in Issue 1.3 of Coffin Bell Journal!