The writing group I am secretary of, the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, has recently published two poetry anthologies. These collections of poems were created using the responses to prompts created during the last two April Poetry Month challenges. As many of you know I dabble in poetry once in a while, but it is not really my forte. However, I hope that you will take a look (and buy) these wonderful collections. The poetry is as diverse as the poets themselves.
For any inspiring poets out there the foundation holds free online poetry workshops the third Wednesday of every month. No membership required. Just click the link on the main website page to receive the Zoom link. 7:00 pm MST. Next workshop 17th November Link
Other workshops and a sharing meeting are also every month. Check out the website
As for my writing schedule, I am looking at beginning preparation for November’s National Novel Writing Month and book two of my crime trilogy. The two detective’s personalities are beginning to talk to me, which is good! There are some plot points to consider, such as where the body is found and how, the feud between one detective and a pushy wannabe detective character, as well as a partner, who flies close to the wrong side of the law on occasion. I already have the title – The Tainted Search. I know once I begin writing the characters will talk to me and the story will flow. It is always exciting to start a new project.
Do you want to connect?
As always if you have any questions about my stories, books, writing life etc. – I am happy to answer them. Just put a comment in the box below or email me through the contact form.
1)Where do you find inspiration? Does place or observation, or both influence your writing?
Ideas come to me from everywhere, both from external and internal sources. It’s a ceaseless flood of ideas really that I experience, evoked by a wide range of random stimuli such as: images that I come across by chance on the internet; things I see on TV; things that I read in books; even snatches of conversations overheard when passing people in a street.
Dreams are also an important source of inspiration for me and many of my stories have had their origins in dreams. Dreams give me the initial idea for or the outline of a story and I then work further to turn those ideas into complete stories.
Most of all, ideas come to me through the process of spontaneous generation, i.e. they arise out of nothing in my mind.
Given this unceasing deluge of new ideas, it is very rare for me to have to struggle to think up of something to write. In fact, the very act of sitting down at the desk, picking up a pen and opening a notebook transports me to a zone in which a conduit is established to a world populated by eternal truths and infinite beauty, and ideas flow effortlessly as long as I am in that zone.
2) You write short stories and poetry – what are your processes for each discipline?
The first step of the process involves getting the initial idea. I jot down these ideas in small notebooks that I use for noting down ideas that have the potential to be expanded further or that require further work on them. At this stage, the idea usually consists of a sentence or a paragraph.
At the next stage of the process, I explore the initial ideas in detail and or turn them into drafts for stories and poems. This is done in a larger sizednotebook. Because of the flood of ideas discussed in the previous answer, the length of time between having the initial idea and getting around to exploring it in detail could be as long as a decade. As a result I have a backlog of about ten years of ideas that I haven’t had the chance to work on as yet and to expand into finished stories and poems.
The final stage of the process involves transferring the drafts from my notebooks into a computer. I then work further on those drafts, editing and re-editing them, until I am happy with the final result.
So, getting the initial idea comes more from intuition and inspiration, and the later editing and re-editing of drafts requires more method and logic, while the intermediate steps of the writing process are a combination of both intuition and logic.
3)How does your creative brain balance with your critical one? In particular, your mathematical proofs.
The balancing of the creative and critical brains is not really a conscious decision that I have to make, for it is something that just happens naturally. ie If I am working on my writings, then I employ the creative side of the brain. And when I am working on scientific and mathematical topics, my brain just switches automatically into another mode. In fact, sometimes it may happen that while I am working on my writings, I might have a mathematical idea and so I instantaneously turn to working on that idea and then go back to working on my writings, and it really doesn’t take any effort at all to switch between the two modes of thinking.
4)Is creative writing your only creativity?
Firstly, please let me clarify that stories and poems are not the only things that I write.
I also write (among other things) non-fiction, philosophy, psychology, spiritual pieces, vignettes, micro-fiction (including 6 word stories), humorous articles, surrealism, aphorisms, parables, fables, travel writing, ekphrastic writings and song parodies.
Having said that, I must add that science had always been my first love and I have been creative in the mathematics and physics fields since my teenage years. Until relatively recently, mathematics/physics/science fields were my first interest and it is to them that I devoted most of my time and creative energy, and writing was a distant second interest.
5) Have your degrees influenced your creative work in any way?
Firstly, just to explain, I have an Arts degree in Philosophy/Linguistics and a Science degree in Mathematics/Physics.
I think that the influence of philosophy on my writings is clearly evident to anyone who takes a look at them, as a lot of my writings concern themselves with philosophical issues.
The influence of linguistics is a bit more subtle and probably manifests itself in the games that I like play with words and their meanings in my stories and poems.
I think this influence of science shows itself in a number of ways in my work. On a more overt level, the subject matter and the themes of my stories and poems often have allusions to mathematics and physics. On a more subtle level, I think that my scientific background does influence my thinking process and the way that I go about creating the plot and development of a story. In fact, some readers have remarked that my stories have a mathematical structure and that they flow almost like a logical argument.
6)Can you enlighten us about your involvement in the spiritual community?
I was involved with a spiritual community in Melbourne on and off for about 5 years. At the time, it helped me with finding my path in life.
The guru of this community gave me my first big break with my writing career when he started reading out my non-fictional spiritual and philosophical pieces, as well as some of my fictional pieces in the public programs in front of hundreds of people.
His reading of my work and the responses that my writings received from the audience gave me the confidence to start sharing my writings with others, as until then my writings have always been a secret part of my private world and I never shared them with anyone. In fact, I used to think that I would never share my writings and that they would always remain a secret part of my private world. But things have turned out to be rather different!
7) What did you learn from your script writing venture?
I contributed some of the dialogue to a short film titled “Six Steps to Eternal Death”. I attended several days of filming to see for myself how it all works and was pretty intrigued by how written words are turned into the visual medium. It was also interesting to see how a script is developed over time, and how much is altered and deleted until the final form is reached.
Yes, I am working on a book titled “Anti-Labyrinths” which will be a collection of my stories, poems, fables, flash fiction, aphorisms etc.
“Anti-Labyrinths” is a word and a concept that I came up with. As labyrinths are places where you get lost, anti-labyrinths are places where you find yourself. A labyrinth has only one entry, and its secret can only be discovered at one point – its center. An anti-labyrinth, on the other hand, can be entered and exited at any point and at every point of an anti-labyrinth, secrets and mysteries are revealed.
My book “Anti-Labyrinths” will itself function as a kind of an anti-labyrinth, revealing truths and secrets at every point of the book, and helping the reader to find themselves. And, just like an anti-labyrinth, “Anti-Labyrinths” can be entered or exited at any point; you don’t have to start reading it at the beginning or finish reading it at the end.
BORIS GLIKMAN is a writer, poet and philosopher from Melbourne, Australia. His stories, poems and non-fiction articles have been published in various online and print publications, as well as being featured on national radio and other radio programs. He says: “Writing for me is a spiritual activity of the highest degree. Writing gives me the conduit to a world that is unreachable by any other means, a world that is populated by Eternal Truths, Ineffable Questions and Infinite Beauty. It is my hope that these stories of mine will allow the reader to also catch a glimpse of this universe.”
Why did you decide to write an autobiography? For many years, existential questions like “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” have haunted me and challenged me to go deeper into myself. My search for answers to these questions led me to journaling about life moments captured on the page; writing these short pieces called out for expression. Exploring poetry and essay, fairy tale and short life stories helped me find my “real writer” voice. Self-help books, spiritual retreats, talented mentors, friends and a personal interest in storytelling, psychology, image and myth fuelled my appetite for words. Gathering these stories together into an autobiographic novel took a long time. Now that my book is complete and ready for publication, I am more aware of the gifts and talents I can bring to the world through writing.
How long did it take you to write it? I began capturing moments of my life at a women’s writing seminar in 2004. When the instructor said I had an unusual story – growing up female in the macho world of the military – I was surprised; my upbringing seemed “normal” to me. Many of the stories in my book began back then.
What difficulties did you experience in writing it? Because of the transient nature of my childhood, I saw my early life as chopped into segments and filed in my memory by location. Recently when working with an editor, I began to see links and patterns in my life and finally, story connections were forged and fashioned into a smooth narrative. I had difficulty identifying the genre of these stories because they are based on authentic flashes of memory, and reimagined with fiction writing tools. My goal was to reveal my authentic emotions in short life stories and connect with other kindred souls through them.
How did you come up with the title? In my childhood, our family was in constant transition, and my tools for coping with goodbyes and hellos and consequently with loss and resilience. Alternate titles I considered included “Permission to Speak, Sir!”, “Nesting Places”, “Home and Away”, and “Finding Home Without a Map.” These titles spoke to my developing comfort with being at home in my heart and belonging in my own skin. At one point, the title was “Saying Goodbye is Easy – Letting Go is Hard”. The second half of this title was dropped because it became obvious to me that letting go of the past was getting easier.
As a child of a military family – what can your story teach others? The stories we tell ourselves and others influence what we believe about the world. The military has its own myths, my father’s story included World War 2 events, and my mother told stories connected me to generations of extended family and how the military influenced them and my own childhood. All the legends and myths to which I was exposed inspired my narrative of leaving the sanctuary of home and seeking independence. I believe that many women experience loneliness and isolation when they choose to leave their parents’ home and grow into their own lives. Reframing my life story allowed me to understand that it is a universal story.
The book is a collection of short stories – why did you chose this format? Short stories stand alone, and a collection of short stories are sometimes linked but not always; a novel-in-short-stories has a narrative arc even though the stories stand alone. It is not a memoir because that genre covers a set period of time. Autobiography is factual but many of my stories were imagined to make a point. My research revealed that short stories are more likely to be accepted by a publisher if the author’s stories appear in literary magazines or their writing is well known. This format seemed to work for me because it suited my experience in life.
Do you write in any other genre? I began writing poetry in the 1970s, and I was seeking inspiration for poems when I attended the women’s writing classes in 2004. With encouragement, I began writing prose and personal opinion essays for magazines. Poetry continues to intrigue me and I hope to add to my published books of verse but I also have a novel on the back burner (which is also told in segments!), two based-on-real-events historical fiction books and a non-fiction book. I do not write fantasy or romance and tend to lean towards literary fiction.
Do you have other books? Since 2004 I’ve created several handmade poetry chapbooks, and published two books of poetry. I’ve also self-published a book of essays and a volume of personal fairy tales. All of them are inner focused, and intended for kindred spirits who are interested in myth and metaphor.
Where can your readers find you on social media? On FB as Kathie Sutherland Author, on Twitter as Kathie.Sutherland aka wordpainterpoet, on LinkedIn, Instagram and on my website kathiesutherland.com where my books and writing companionship services are available. I offer Inner Child workshops, Reminiscence and Listening Services, a scuba diving-inspired workshop focused on going deeper into emotions and create “Portrait Poems” as personal gifts.
Do you have a blog? Since writing “Saying Goodbye is Easy”, I have gain clarity about the purpose of my writing. I want to give back through coaching and writing companionship. I have renewed my blogging practice.
What did you learn about yourself while writing this autobiography? The whole of my writing life has been about acknowledging and accepting myself. This autobiography has been narrative therapy for me. Each piece I worked on required me to come to terms with the theme of the story I was writing. One of my greatest strengths is my love of learning. That love brings me back to the greater life questions and my search for answers. I love learning through research. I love learning about words. I love inner work. I love writing to grow.
I wanted to write a book with an authentic cancer story line in it. Having experienced a cancer journey myself, I recognize that life goes on despite your illness. So in Full of Grace, protagonist Angela, who has made her living as a romance author thus far, begins writing the story of Grace, whose husband is having an affair. Again. (Luckily, that part I didn’t experience.) (:
How did you come up with the title?
The title, Full of Grace, is multi-layered. Angela becomes full of the character she is writing about, Grace. Also, the character Grace, is told she is full of Grace. There are different ways to interpret it.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
No, no specific messages. If the readers take anything from the book, I’m pleased! I think different things will resonate with different women.
How much of the book is realistic?
I think the book is quite realistic, being that it is a contemporary women’s fiction novel. I like to think I write about current societal issues.
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
While there are no characters directly based on someone I know, I certainly drew from all the people I have known, including myself, who have had a struggle with cancer. I also wanted a story line where someone adored their grown children, as I do mine.
Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?
Readers can find out more about me on my website, Elizabethcrocket.com. (And I love when they comment!) I’m also active on facebook. Facebook.com/Elizabeth.crocket.7923
Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
My next book, The Smell of Roses, is hopefully due out in the next year or so. It’s also women’s fiction with a strong romantic element. And so was my debut novel, A Path to the Lake.
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
I grew to love both of the protagonists (there are two) Angela and Grace, as the story unfolded. I enjoyed Angela’s sense of humour, and Grace’s kindness, in particular.
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
I do write in more than one genre. In particular, Japanese short form poetry, including haiku, haibun, photo-haiga and more. I had two chapbooks published by Red Moon Press, the largest publisher of Japanese short form poetry in the western world. There are many samples on my website.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
I start with getting to know my characters really well. I have been surprised myself by where they take me sometimes!
What is your best marketing tip?
I’m not sure I have a “best”. But I do think it helps to try and build a network of support around you of people you trust and enjoy.
Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?
I think in today’s market, a certain amount of social media marketing is a necessity.
Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
I am so blessed in that regard. My husband, my family, my dear friends and my writer friends are all enormously supportive.
Elizabeth is a women’s fiction author and poet living in Ontario, Canada. She has written three women’s fiction novels, all with a strong romantic element. A Path to the Lake debuted in April, 2018, and Full of Grace launched in January, 2019. The Smell of Roses is slated to be released the end of 2018 or early 2019. You can find out more about her at Elizabethcrocket.com https://elizabethcrocket.com/
K.D. was able to complete the interview and I am so pleased. Please join me in getting to know her.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It exhausts me! But thinking up what I’m going to write about energizes me.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Health issues. 😦
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I do write under a pen name. K.D. Rose is my real initials coupled with my family name on my mother’s side. So all my relatives are actually Rose’s on that side! It’s not my married name though. All my books and literary publications are under my Rose name.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I have been friends with a number of authors and how close they are and how much we help each other is invaluable. Because my health changes, how close I can stay changes too, which is unfortunate but it is wonderful when you can root for people and they root for you.
Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I focus completely on literary publications now. In fact I was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. My body of books are still there but they run the gamet. I do have another book ready to go when I am able.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
I had a mentorship with a poet that I contacted when I found him in the Poets Market Book. That was a wonderful relationship and feedback with new ideas.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
When I wrote a smart alecky note to my teacher in elementary school. We were supposed to be writing apologies. I didn’t feel Iike I had done anything wrong. I got hauled out of class into the hallway for a talking to!
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
All of Philip K. Dicks works. He was a master science fiction writer. Also Harlan Ellison. They are both famous but not as much as they should be.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I’m in love with cats so it would be some kind of cat. Probably a black panther.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
About two in the works. But lots of literary works too.
What does literary success look like to you?
I’d like to win a few pushcart prizes. That would be successful to me. Then win another type of prestigious prize as well.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
My writing doesn’t usually require too much so I research things here and there, in deep once in a while. Mostly its superficial things though.
How many hours a day/week do you write?
When I am well, I write 6 to 8 hours a day. But then lots of time will go by where I can’t at all.
How do you select the names of your characters?
I based one book on the first names of family. I and they thought that was fun. Other than that, I usually pick a name that I feel fits the personality.
What was your hardest scene to write?
I had to write a sex scene because the publisher wanted it and had no idea how to! I just don’t write those.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I balanced by trying them out but poetry always remained my speciality. Now it is essays and literary publishing in journals. I have a number of fiction books out though.
How long have you been writing?
Since I was in my teens. It has always been an inspiration for me.
What inspires you?
I love it when ideas come either out of the blue or from something I am seeing or experiencing at the time. That gives me a rush.
How do you find or make time to write?
I am lucky in that I have a library set up just for that. It beckons me. So making the time is just balancing writing and health usually.
What projects are you working on at the present?
I have an essay that I am in the middle of. I received good feedback on it and need to incorporate the feedback to rewrite.
What do your plans for future projects include?
I have a book I am probably going to self- publish. I haven’t published in awhile and the companies I was publishing with went out of business. My other future projects are all essays for submission to literary journals.
K. D. Rose is a poet and author. K.D received a Pushcart Prize nomination for her poem: There are Species of Stars that Have Yet to be Seen. K. D.’s book, Inside Sorrow, won Readers Favorite Silver Medal for Poetry. Her poetry, essays, and short stories have been published in Word Riot, Chicago Literati, Poetry Breakfast, BlazeVOX Journal, Ink in Thirds, Northern Virginia Review, The Nuclear Impact Anthology, Stray Branch Magazine, Literary Orphans, Maintenant Contemporary Dada Magazine, Lunch Ticket Arts and Literary Magazine, The 2016 Paragram Press Anthology, Eastern Iowa Review, Bop Dead City, Santa Fe Literary Magazine, Hermes Poetry Magazine, Slipstream, Wild Women’s Medicine Circle Journal and The Offbeat Literary Magazine. She also won an Honorable Mention in the 2016 New Millennium Writings Poetry Contest. Her last release was Brevity of Twit. She has a B.S. in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. Member: Poetry Society of America. Member: Poets and Writers. Member: Academy of American Poets.