Interview with Purple Clothespin

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in southern California but I moved to San Francisco when I was 19. Most of my writing reflects my experiences in San Francisco and Oakland. I draw on my memories of the days I spent in Oakland for Those Parlor Girls stories, which I have published under the nom de plume, Fiona Flander.
When did you first start writing?
I suppose I started writing at 12 or 13 years old. And I've written this and that most of my life. Taken courses in writing at different points in my life. But I was discouraged by a lover who was a writer. So I never considered publishing anything. Now I'm 65 and my life is very different. There is a point in one's life when you feel immense freedom. That can be a great boost to the ego. I'm sorry that I let that woman discourage me.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I'm writing some short erotic stories offering them free. My latest short, which is under author Fiona Flander, is about a woman without a job and without a girlfriend. She decides to go on a date with a woman she knows used to be a dominatrix. I wrote this without the slightest idea what I would write. I had to write. But nothing came into my brain. Then for some reason a memory of an ad in the Berkeley Barb, an old 60s free paper, came to my mind. I needed a story. So, I just used that ad as my first line. Bingo, the story just flowed like magic. I didn't know what was going to happen. I only knew what the next paragraph would be or what the next dialogue line would be. I was also surprised that I wrote it in the first person. I hardly ever write in the first person.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Years ago I was in the small press publishing field. People asked me if I'd ever return. I always said no. Then I discovered the indie publishing world. This is more to my liking. And so far I'm enjoying this.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love fiction. And I have found that I love creating fictional characters. They seem so real to me and when I am writing, these characters seem to tell me their stories. It's as if I weren't writing any of this myself. Of course, I know that I am writing these stories, but really they come out as if someone else wrote them. I'm continually surprised and delighted by the stories my characters tell me.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I'm not sure it was my very first story but I do remember a story I wrote in middle school about a convict going to the electric chair. This was a stream of consciousness story and I was quite absorbed in what a person would think about when about to die. Then I wrote a play when I was in high school. There seemed to be a character who had a mission to accomplish and faced severe trials of prejudice in his path. I usually wrote about male characters. In those days of the 1960s women didn't have the freedom to do much and I very much envied the male privilege to experience life. What can I say, I had a masculine viewpoint. I hated playing with dolls. Of course, I also knew I was a lesbian right from the crib.
What is your writing process?
I'm a morning person. I sit at the computer and drink my coffee and start writing from the moment I wake up at 6 am until I get hungry for breakfast a few hours later. I try to write about 2,000 words a day. But some days I don't write anything at all because I get so engrossed that I won't go out and grocery shop. Therefore I had to create non writing days to get stuff done.
How do you approach cover design?
Since I had no money and still have little, I decided to use my own artwork. My computer is loaded with my own artwork. I have training in graphic arts. It wasn't difficult to create what was needed for a cover using photoshop.
What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
Get out of bed? I'm still trying to get out of the closet. If I'm ever successful in my attempts to bash in the door, I will come out as a writer of the books that my true self as Fiona Flander writes. I've always been a marginalized person. I have spent most of my life in a different world. Why not scoot to the edge of the paper and return to where I feel most comfortable, the margin.
Published 2015-04-10.
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