“Read constantly. Write constantly. It doesn’t matter what you write about as long as you keep doing it”:
13 Questions with Liora Sophie
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.
Liora Sophie is a late-twenties Israeli writer with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and education. She was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, and moved to Israel as a child. She does research and data maintenance at a fundraising firm, and plays cello with Nava Tehila as a volunteer. Liora also acts to raise awareness about multiple issues relating to gender inequality and representation of women in STEM.
“I think one of the most important and most satisfying parts of the act of writing is the sense of discovery that comes with thinking on the page”:
13 Questions with Michael Chin
MC: For me, writing is not only a part of how I express myself, but how I think and understand the world. So I think the most rewarding part is when I walk away from a writing session having realized, or at least articulated something I hadn’t prior to that point.
Michael Chin was born and raised in Utica, New York and currently lives in Georgia with his wife and son. His hybrid chapbook, The Leo Burke Finish, is available now from Gimmick Press and he has work published or forthcoming in journals including The Normal School, Passages North, Barrelhouse, and Hobart. He works as a contributing editor for Moss. Find him online at miketchin.com or follow him on Twitter @miketchin.
“Read a lot of literary journals. Study them. Respect them”:
13 Questions with Kim Chinquee
KC: I’m a good planner if I give myself a deadline. I tend to have a lot of projects going at once. I work at some aspect of editing nearly every day—whether its reading student work, journal-editing, reading my friends’ stories/books. Reading work from my online writing group, Hot Pants. Also committee and administrative work. Writing my own stuff. Emailing/talking/being in touch with my literary folks and being part of the community is kind of a lifeline to me. I spend most of my days working, alternating between one thing or another. I’m grateful for that.
Kim Chinquee is the author of the collections Oh Baby, Pretty, Pistol, Veer, and Shot Girls. She is a regular contributor to NOON, Denver Quarterly, and other journals. She edits New World Writing and ELJ, and is an associate professor at SUNY Buffalo State.
“I spontaneously started writing poetry in second grade
and just never stopped”:
13 Questions with Holly Gaskin
HG: Be open to constructive criticism. Listen. Don’t interrupt. Don’t object. Consider any and all suggestions. Keep what’s good, and throw away what you don’t need. Know that nothing is ‘perfect’ the first time you write it.
Holly Gaskin grew up on Long Island and currently lives upstate in Watertown, NY. She has enjoyed a long career in radio broadcasting, and can currently be heard as “Cricket” on Froggy 97 (WFRY). Holly is the author of four books, including A Little Company (suspense) and Tricked (YA thriller). She is one cat short of crazy.
“Time can be your best critic”
13 Questions with Jennifer Lynn Krohn
JLK: It is rare, but there are a few occasions where I have gone back and reread work that I’ve written, and I can no longer believe it is mine. There are no words I want to add or delete, no line breaks that I want to adjust. The piece is complete and strangely independent of me. It is a poem or story that I can just enjoy reading without fiddling with it, and, even though I had spent likely months (or years) fiddling with it, at that moment it seems to have always been that complete piece.
Jennifer Lynn Krohn was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she currently lives with her husband. She earned her MFA from the University of New Mexico, and she currently teaches English at Central New Mexico Community College. She has published work in Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Necessary Fiction, Storm Cellar, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Gingerbread House Literary Magazine among others.
“The Gothic darkness is just in my blood”
13 Questions with Valentina Cano
I was raised on a daily diet of [dark literature]. At eight years old, I’d read all of Poe’s stories, so the Gothic darkness is just in my blood. I’ve had to modify it for the genres in which I write, but I can’t think of writing without that darkness. Of course, I’m sure that my continuous struggles with anxiety and depression have also left their dents in my mind, making it much easier for darker works to ring truer.
Valentina Cano is a student of classical singing who spends whatever free time she has either reading or writing. Her works have appeared in numerous publications and her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Web. Her debut novel, The Rose Master, was published in 2014 and was called a “strong and satisfying effort” by Publishers Weekly.
“There is always the sense of an offering, of giving something back:”
13 Questions with Clio Velentza
CV: I always start with a theme, or an idea. That’s my point of reference. I might plan a bit if I’m writing a novel, but then it’s only a short way ahead – how the scene will go, or which point of view and mood will be the defining one. And then I move forward feeling about in the darkness. Most times I don’t know what the next line will bring, and get regularly surprised by it. It can be scary and slow, but I avoid detailed outlines in writing. (I’ve tried it.) The story needs room to breathe and grow, and to get where it needs to get. For me it’s like this: I write so I can learn something; and if I know everything beforehand, then what is the point?
Clio Velentza lives in Athens, Greece. She is a winner of ‘Best Small Fictions 2016’ and a Pushcart nominee. Her work has appeared in several literary journals, such as Wigleaf, Lost Balloon, Jellyfish Review, Hypertrophic Literary, Moonpark Review and People Holding. Find her on Twitter at @clio_v.
“Sometimes I like to rebel in my poetry:”
13 Questions with Ray Ball
RB: A lot of my poems play with history and myth and allow me to envision different alternatives for historical actors. These aren’t necessarily happy endings, but they are ones I can shape in different ways. At the same time, my academic background has made me very willing to revise my poems and other creative writing. Sometimes only a scrap of the original survives.
Ray Ball, Ph.D is a writer and history professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage. When not in the classroom or the archives of Europe and Latin America, she enjoys running marathons, reading, and spending time with her spouse Mark and beagle Bailey. She is the author of a number of history books and articles. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Foliate Oak, Moonchild Magazine, NatureWriting, Occulum, and Visitant. She tweets @ProfessorBall.
“It’s very difficult for me to write a ‘happy’ poem”:
13 Questions with M. Stone
MS: Don’t struggle for perfection. There really is no such thing. If you try to wait until a piece is “perfect,” you’ll never let it go, and others will miss out on your writing. Also, read A LOT. If you feel like you have writer’s block, read. If you’re feeling particularly creative, also read.
M. Stone is a bookworm, birdwatcher, and stargazer who writes poetry while living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in San Pedro River Review, SOFTBLOW, Calamus Journal, and numerous other print and online journals. She can be reached at writermstone.wordpress.com.
“E-readers are not books”:
13 Questions with William Doreski
WD: I complained to a high school teacher that anyone could write the kind of poetry that E.E. Cummings wrote. He said, “Try it,” and I did. It wasn’t as easy as it looked, Intrigued, I stuck with the problem for the next half-century or so.
William Doreski’s work has appeared in various online and print journals and in several collections, most recently A Black River, A Dark Fall (Splash of Red, 2018).
“There is No Such Thing as Writer’s Block”:
13 Questions with Lucinda Kempe
LK: I don’t set out to write a dark story. I wrote one about a monster who really isn’t a monster. The idea came from the poet Larry Fagin. Larry died last May. “Breeding” can be found online at Jellyfish Review. I wrote a short-short story on Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc), who in her real life had a dark end–find her at New World Writing. Start with a horribly murdered saint and see what happens.
Lucinda Kempe’s work has been published or is forthcoming in Elm Leaves Journal, New World Writing, b(OINK), FRiGG, r.kv.r.y., The Summerset Review, and Jellyfish Review. The recipient of the Joseph Kelly Prize for creative writing in 2015, she’s an M.F.A. candidate in writing and creative literature at Stony Brook University. New World Writing nominated her for a Pushcart in 2017. She has just completed her memoir.
“I enjoy writing with no clue about what will happen”:
An Interview with T. L. Sherwood
TLS: My advice would be don’t listen to other writers’ advice. A lot of it is good, but it usually applies to them, not necessarily to you or your style. That being said, what I wish someone had told me early was how lonely writing is and that it’s important to reach out and find others. Share your work with them and learn to critique what you like or don’t about other people’s work. We’re all in this together, so do your best.
T. L. Sherwood lives in western New York near Buffalo. She’s Fiction Editor at Literary Orphans and the Assistant Editor of r.kv.r.y Quarterly Literary Journal.