Many thanks to Stephanie Hammer for inviting me to participate on this blog tour.
You can read Stephanie’s responses to the same questions I answer below: (http://stephaniebarbehammer.net/2014/03/11/the-writing-process-blog-tour-continues-at-magically-real/)
Stephanie Barbé Hammer @ MAGICALLY REAL is a talented author, MFA graduate from the Northwest Institute for Literary Arts on Whidbey Island. She “explores the power, beauty, and fascination that surrealism, expressionism, magical realism and the unreal exert over us.” Stephanie’s work exhibits the disorienting strangeness of the unreal — “its deeply subversive, darkly liberating sense of joy.” For a few examples of her published work, such as “Sex with Buildings” go to her website and check out the showroom: http://www.stephaniehammer.net/ Stephanie has won a number of pushcart prize nominations and contest prizes for her work.
- What am I working on?
I am completing a second short story/flash/prose poem collection entitled “She Wears Hot Pink Jeans.” This is a collection of work that has been published in various journals and online sites. In addition, I am writing the second novel in the “Prasanga” series: “The Beekeeper’s Twin” which is fantasy/sci fi. I just reprinted the first book, “Prasanga in the Underground” which will be up on all storefronts any day now. At some point, in my spare time, (LOL) I will write the second linked tale collection for “Tales from Ma’s Watering Hole” In that collection, 99 year old Ma will take a trip to America…
2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
My work encompasses the magic of Australian aboriginal myth and fantasy with its acceptable belief in the paranormal. I love the shamanistic aspects of aboriginal medicine and their connection to nature. I place eccentric characters within a chaotic world frame. My characters are offbeat people with human frailties seeking balance in difficult environments. An example would be the story of a lonely refugee from the outback seeking solace within the big city at Ma’s café and watering hole.
3. Why do I write what I do?
I write because I can’t stop writing. I write to disorient readers from their fixed perspectives and offer alternate ways to understand human existence. I write because I feel I need to capture a familiar story from somewhere in my long past. I write for the immigrant because I am one myself. I know how disconnected one can feel in a new country and offer comfort and ideas within my stories and characters’ actions to combat this sense of isolation from loss of roots.
If you think about it, we are all essentially lost within a strange world, immigrants and refugees from something or somewhere, feeling lost and trying to connect. That is the philosophical truth upon which I base my stories.
4. How does your writing process work?
I write when the spirit moves me but I edit and rework every day. My most productive time of day is morning but my most creative time of day is twilight when the mournful owls and little birds call through my window. I sit on five forested acres with a window view to flowering white dogwoods, peach and plum blossoms and kumquat trees laden all year with orange fruit. I have a bird’s nest outside my window and the birds and rain inspire the muse. I am glad it rains a lot in Florida.
I write the most when I am involved with classes and therefore I am always taking an online class in writing stories or poetry. My critique group (The Critters) gets me moving when I feel lazy.
Thanks to Bonnie Ogle, Rick Sapp and Jennifer Grant for their astute critiques and honesty.
The Writing Tour continues next week with my friend and talented author Janet Buttenwieser.
Janet Buttenwieser’s nonfiction work has appeared several places, including Potomac Review, Literary Mama, Bellevue Literary Review, and won honorable mention in The Atlantic 2010 Student Writing contest. She has an MFA from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. Find excerpts from her memoir-in-progress, GUTS, and her thoughts on the writing life on her website, janetbuttenwieser.com http://janetbuttenwieser.com/blog/