Interview with Kollibri terre Sonnenblume

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I wrote my first short-story when I was ten years old. It was about a time traveler and is still one of the best narratives I have ever come up with! I entered it into a writing contest in my local newspaper and won that month's prize, which was $20 and publication. I still remember the story, and occasionally tell it around a camp-fire.
What is your writing process?
For me, each piece that I write, whether fiction or non-fiction, is a temporary but all-consuming obsession. Even when I am not at the keyboard, ideas and phrases run through the back of my head while I am doing other things. I am not free of it until the piece is done. For software, I prefer to compose in a plain text editor because it is more like typing on a blank piece of paper than a word processor is. When the piece is nearly complete, I will put it in a word processor for spelling correction, formatting, etc. Sometimes, I still write a first draft on paper with a pen. Hearing my writing read out loud by another person is the best way for me to pick up those things that need changing for the final polish.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I read from a very young age, and don't remember the very first story I read. However, Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" was the first book that had a big impact on me. I was 11 or 12, so it was a challenging read, but it opened and inspired my imagination in ways that no other books have ever really done. To this day, Tolkien's work is among my most favorite, and a I re-read his books on a regular basis.
How do you approach cover design?
Simple and bold is best, since covers these days need to look good at postage-stamp size on a phone screen. When designing a particular cover, I will look at the covers of other books in the same genre to see what I like and what I want to avoid. Then I try to be fresh.
What do you read for pleasure?
Mostly non-fiction, by people who are writing about the environment, climate change, Native American issues, and spirituality. I also usually read the city weeklies in Portland the day they come out, even though they are often vacuous. The gems they produce every once in a while make it worth it.
Describe your desk
Ha! I have no permanent desk. Lately my laptop has been sitting on top of an old TV next to my bed, which is a mattress on the floor, in an attic with a ceiling so short I can barely stand up straight. No, I am not making that up! The laptop is a ten-year old HP set up with Linux Mint that I purchased for just $85 from FreeGeek, a non-profit in Portland that gives new life to old computers by installing open source software on them. I also use a Lenovo tablet with a Kensington keyboard when I am camping or traveling. I recharge its battery with a solar panel, and compose in nature, my biggest inspiration.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. I believe it was Willa Cather who said that Nebraska is "a good place to be *from*" -- as in, a good place to leave as soon as possible. I couldn't agree more. The Midwest in the 1970's and 80's was quite homogeneous and a stifling place for a free thinker to be. I have heard it is marginally better now, but I haven't been there in years.
Published 2015-08-23.
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Books by This Author

Adventures in Urban Bike Farming
Price: $4.95 USD. Words: 76,210. Language: English. Published: December 13, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Engineering, trades, and technology » Agriculture / Sustainable Agriculture, Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Bicycling
Equal parts historical document, confessional memoir and social critique, this book tells the story of “Sunroot Gardens,” a bicycle-based urban farming operation the author founded and cultivated in Portland, Oregon, in the early 2000’s. A must-read for anyone concerned about our collective agricultural future and the role that urban farming could play in it.