I think it's safe to say that I am still trying to work out exactly what my process is- even after years of writing! I know I am a writer who really needs plenty of time to let things ferment in my mind. I have first drafts that have been collecting dust on my shelf for years. It's not that I've left them undone. They are aging like a fine wine. When I feel ready to really look at the draft with fresh eyes- and letting a few years pass really gives you fresh eyes!- then I'll go back and redraft. Sometimes my first drafts are handwritten in my journal, sometimes they're typed on my laptop straight away. It really depends on what I'm in the mood for. Sometimes I start out with a writing prompt from somewhere, like a writer's magazine. Sometimes I start out just feeling like I have something to say about whatever it is. A lot of my inspiration comes from music, dreams, meditation, and life.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
It's hard to say that I remember the first story I ever read. I read LOADS when I was a kid- a proper little bookworm I was! I learned to read from Dr. Suess, the stories about Babar the elephant, Madeline, Where the Wild Things Are, Alexander's Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day. All those famous children's books. When I was around 7, 8, 9 years old I read lots of Nancy Drew books- the original series. My grandmother would give me one or two of them every year for my birthday and Christmas for a while. I collected most of them. I also loved lending historical fiction from the library and being transported back in time.
But stories where I can say, 'Wow, that's had an impact on me!'- I didn't really read those til my teenage years. I fell in love with Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf. In my early twenties I loved Joyce and Ibsen. Now in my thirties, I am ceaselessly intrigued by the Beat Generation.
How do you approach cover design?
Unfortunately, I am very lacking in both design and tech skills. For these I turn to artist and designer friends whose style I adore and are kind enough to help me out.
What do you read for pleasure?
I devour non-fiction books about the craft of writing and/or creativity. I read a lot of Dharma books, and I also like books about various mystical spiritual paths. I find it so very relaxing to get a copy of the Writer's Digest mag, a massive cuppa tea, to put my feet up and page through. In terms of creative writing, fiction or poetry, I usually read something one of my writer friends has shared with me.
Describe your desk
Laptop center, teacup the size of a bucket right. Behind the teacup is a smaller cup filled with pens and pencils. Also a 1"x1" canvas on a mini easel which I painted myself and reads 'Write this much'. That was inspired by reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. The rest of the space is a cluttered heap of books, post, bills to be filed away, and 85% dark chocolate.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing in my early teens. I had a number of notebooks and tried to get down at least one poem a day, or journal about my thoughts. At some stage, I reread them, decided they were dumb, self-indulgent, full of pubescant ridiculousness that was trying to be so very deep, and I chucked them out. Later in my final year of school, I had an English teacher who I thought was just wonderful. She had us reading all kinds of great books, picking them apart, analyzing them from every angle. She had us writing quite a lot, too. And she gave me feedback on my writing that was anything but constructive. Because I had so much respect for her, I was crushed, and I thought that surely she knows what she's on about. I stopped writing for many years after that. One of the first things I did when my relationship of ten years (the one I thought would be forever) ended, was to register for a creative writing course, and another and another. Then to find a writer's group to hang out in, and another and another.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
As with many things in life, it's a grand experiment! I just wanted to put something out there and see what would happen.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Not gonna lie- my very vain self loves seeing my name in print. My very vain self loves seeing the words and images that I strung together printed on a page. My very vain self loves to be able to look at that and say, 'I did that!'
But before all that, I love the blissful hours I can spend typing when I really get into a state of flow. That feeling that I'm channeling something from some part of my psyche or spirit or wherever, and it's moving through me and out through my fingertips.
And I love getting together with writer friends for jam sessions, reading, hearing their thoughts and ideas, what moves and inspires them. I love discovering myself and others in the incredibly intimate zone that is the creative writing world.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have a day job teaching English that I really enjoy. Usually. Sometimes I resent it when I feel like it's getting in the way of writing. I practice meditation daily for at least two hours, and if I have more time or do retreat, then it's more. I am a film junkie and can go through a stack of DVDs like it's my job.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Kinda here, there, and everywhere. I've lived in the USA, all over Germany, also in Denmark and Ireland. I suppose this informs my writing in that I am inclined to set stories places I am familiar with. Based on this life experience, I may also choose to write in whatever language I feel inspired to write in or whatever one best serves the story.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.
My Sister, My Bodhisattva by Alice W. Hutmacher (1680 words) is a short story about two sisters. The younger one, Kasey comes out to the story's narrator while on a walk around the block at Christmastime.