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My friend Meghan Arcuri invited me along on a writer’s blog tour. Her leg on this journey can be viewed at www.meghanarcuri.com
I met Meghan at Borderlands Press Writer’s Bootcamp a few years ago. We made fast friends and bunk together at various Cons. She has written some great short stories and is currently working on a novel.
She’s also very helpful with my work, filling holes and eliminating noise. One of the greatest lessons we learned at Bootcamp was how to edit.
You know–kill your darlings. Meghan helps me bury the bodies.
Meghan had been invited by a fellow camper, Sean Davis, whose novel Clean Freak I’ll be reading this summer.
We met Marianne at Anthocon last year and shared a lot of laughs!
Every writer has a Work in Progress. Even if nothing gets written down, a story is always mulling somewhere in the cranial nether world. The Writer’s Blog Tour is a peek into what’s at work with various authors you’ll meet along the way.
Kind of like interviewing yourself, then asking other writers to do the same.
So here goes:
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?
Tom Monteleone from Borderlands Press Writer’s Bootcamp recommended I write short stories. I’d always thought I’d be a novelist, but he said short stories give a sense of completion. Like setting short term attainable goals.
He was right. The first two short stories I’d written have been published in two anthologies:
I thought maybe this summer I’d go back to one of the novels I started years ago, but I’m having fun writing short stories. Especially when I get an acceptance letter!
My new title is “Swimming With Angels,” a Southern Gothic tale about a twelve year old girl who feels responsible for her mother’s death. What Asa doesn’t know is that her mother was dying anyway and had taken her daughter fishing for what she knew to be the last time. Her mother wanted her to go to college instead of getting pregnant and trapped in rural Virginia like her teenage sister did. Asa thinks her mother is being unfair and wishes her dead. This coming of age story has Asa’s imagination take her on a mystical journey through her budding sexuality while confronting the truth about her mother’s death.
HOW DOES YOUR WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS IN THE GENRE?
I wouldn’t say I’m a horror writer in the traditional sense, but most of what I do write is very dark. I take real situations and create a story around them. For instance, I wrote a story about a Christian missionary who does bad things in the Amazon while on a mission to convert the “savages.” I got the idea from reading an article in the Smithsonian Magazine about an archaeologist who wanted to be the one who finds the last of the Uncontacted Tribes. I was so mad when she said, “How can we save them if we can’t find them?” There was a photo of her plane swooping through the trees where they had located a longhouse, the natives forced to flee further into the jungle. If anything, they need saving from her! So I turned her into a bad man who gets it in the end. Ha!
In real life I tell funny stories and feel blessed with a kind heart. But we all have to face our shadow selves eventually. We all have a dark side. I’ve had some dark moments in my life. My stories are filled with dopplegangers and mirrors and small horrors that haunt people all the time. The world is not a nice place.
WHY DO YOU WRITE WHAT YOU DO?
I don’t think I have a choice. I get an idea for a story and that’s that. I use to write children’s stories when I was young, but life ain’t so rosy I’ve come to find out. I like to make my characters squirm. I like when plots twist and leave the reader thinking about the story for a long time. I like to write about uncomfortable subjects, things people don’t want to think about.
HOW DOES YOUR WRITING PROCESS WORK?
I have to write with a pen. I’m not good at typing. It takes too long to get my ideas down so I lose a good train of thought. I buy cheap spiral notebooks and scribble away. Then I type it, edit it, print it. That’s when the red pen bleeds all over the page. As far as any discipline goes, I have none. I know it’s good practice to write a certain number of words a day. I do keep a diary about daily events, but I can’t just wake up at the same time every morning and pick up a pen. I usually have the idea rolling around in my head for a while, walking through scenarios and putting it all together. Once I’ve seen the story from start to finish, I sit down to write it. And it changes of course, but for the most part I know the story before it goes on paper. I’ll write until it’s done.
My leg of the tour is coming to the end. But please follow along next week when I will be “interviewing” Elizabeth Massie.
She posts sweet nighty-nights on Facebook. Some of them are inspiring while others sing like a perfect lullabye. Beth will be on my blog because her site is being worked on. And read anything you can find by her! She’s wonderfully talented and knits beautiful scarves!
I’ve also invited Kristi Petersen Schoonover. We had a great time at Anthocon last year. I loved Bad Apple!
That does it for this time. Check next Monday night to see what Beth, Kristi and Mr. Arsenault are up to.