Interview with Author Titus Green

Titus, tell us a little something about yourself.

I was born in Canada in the early seventies and moved back to the UK with my parents at the age of two. I graduated with a degree in Communication Studies in 1993 and then, via the occupation of teaching English as a foreign language, went on a twenty- six year odyssey that had me residing in six different countries for extended periods. This overseas experience has educated me profoundly and provided the empirical basis for much of my writing. I wrote sporadically in my twenties and thirties, but didn’t have anything published until I was forty-two.

What is your greatest accomplishment as a writer so far?

There are a few highlights I can think of. The first is a story called Odyssey of Tears, published originally in Sediments Literary Arts magazine in 2016, in which (I believe) I portray the colossal tragedy of Syria from 2011 onwards with the power and candor worthy of the subject matter. I am also proud of Quetzalcoatl Comet, published in The Collidescope in 2019, which was my attempt to capture the last delirious days of Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II, as the conquistadors closed in, in a magical realism style.  

Why do you write?

I write to interpret reality and deviate from it. I also write to express compelling, profound and sometimes uncomfortable truths about the human experience. I am most interested in humanity’s macro themes as subject matter.

What is your writing process? (Any favorite places to write? Any interesting quirks, traditions, or rituals you may have? How many times might you revise something before being satisfied with it? Besides you, does anyone else edit your work? Etc.)

I am an undisciplined writer and my concentration span has lost many battles with YouTube and other digital narcotic dens. Don Delillo said: “As writers we spend our lifetime seeking solitude only to squander it” and this is uncomfortably true for me. I have no specific times set aside to write but try to sit down with a text I am working on for at least thirty minutes a day and read through it to make refinements. I’ve never finished a work in one sitting and rarely write for longer than one hour. I simply don’t have the stamina or will-power and can only marvel at the Zen-like focus of the literary masters of the past (Tolstoy and Dostoevsky come to mind) who could commit hours in the chair and produce monumental 800 page novels.

My stories can either be more or less finished articles in one draft or go through several iterations, changing from one submission to the next. My stories rarely have uniform creative processes.

Your story “The Liminal Lure” alludes to Franz Kafka in places. How much of a role has Kafka played in your life so that you decided to have him play a part in this story?  Have you read a lot of Kafka? Has he influenced your worldview a lot? What do you find fascinating about him? What do you think he would think of the 21st century?

I first read The Trial as a callow eighteen year old for my English Literature classes at my local college in Torquay, South Devon where I grew up. Initially, I wasn’t exactly knocked out by the terse, laconic style of the narrative, the bleakness of the setting or the rather enigmatic characters who seemed to have limited internal worlds. There was Joseph K, summoned randomly by court bureaucrats and kept in the dark regarding his ‘crime’ etc. With my immature mind and zero life experience, I just didn’t have the lived knowledge required to discover the novel’s brilliant meaning. In this novel Kafka is showing us that the power-holding institutions of the world are inaccessible because they are occult and occulted. If you don’t have the password, don’t have the connections or haven’t been initiated, then you simply don’t get a look in. This is why K is doomed never to reach the ‘higher court’.

Kafka makes his dream cameo in this story for two reasons. The first was his understanding of why corporations and institutions break us down mentally with Sisyphean tasks such as that experienced by the protagonist in The Liminal Lure. The second was his prescience: he sees the slick architecture of techno-tyranny under construction with a clarity no seminar-selling futurist of the present ever could. His message is, of course, a warning to the protagonist which goes unheeded.

I think Kafka would be justifiably horrified with the world of 2021. Phenomena such as China’s Social Credit System and the West’s corresponding fetish for enhanced surveillance societies, facial-recognition, big data, the ‘internet of things’ etc. would certainly give him pause and motivation to reinterpret reality in his fiction.

Do you have anyone (friends, relatives, etc.) review your works before you publish them?

Yes, I have to give a shout-out here to my father Paul (also a writer) who has given his time generously to beta-read some of my work and give suggestions.

Could you give us an idea of your upcoming works without spoiling anything?

I recently completed a paranormal short story called The Encounter, which I am planning to submit to (hopefully) receptive editors shortly.

Do you have any writing events coming up? For example: something being published/released? A reading of one of your works? Interviews? Any speeches or talks?

Not currently.

What do you hope to achieve as a writer?

On a practical level, I’d like to find a publisher enthusiastic enough about my work to put my short fiction into a collection. This will of course be a very difficult and time consuming project and my expectations are realistic. I want to produce a novel but don’t think I have the writing DNA or novelist discipline required for this, as indicated in my earlier comments. The short-form and I just seem to have a natural affinity. I’m a literary ‘sprinter’ while the novelists are the marathon runners.

What do you think of bad reviews? Are they helpful or harmful to you?

Frankly, almost no editors of literary magazines ever give feedback these days other than dismissing your submissions with the familiar cliché that your story ‘wasn’t a good fit’, as if the creation of hours of your toil is nothing more than a cheap, badly-fitting suit. I don’t think there’s a perfect algorithm for determining how valuable those rare nuggets of editorial opinion are, because ultimately they are just that: opinions.  

What advice do you have for novice writers?

It’s very important to open your eyes. If you intend to become a literary writer and a true artist, then keen observation of worldly phenomena is mandatory. Travel, wide-reading and accumulation of diverse knowledge are other prerequisites. Reading is particularly important, because without a sense of how the best practitioners use language to communicate their visions, your writing won’t go far. A writer whose own reading is impoverished is unlikely to say anything worth remembering.

What do you feel are the most important resources a writer can use?

The five senses, imagination and language.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing? (websites, social media, etc.)

My body of work can be found at

http://titusgreenfiction.com/

Is there anything else that you would like our readers to know?

Not at this time. I am very grateful for their interest in my work.

Interview with Author Thomas Elson

Thomas Elson’s short stories, poetry, and flash fiction have been published in numerous venues such as Calliope, The Cabinet of Heed, New Feathers, Pinyon, Lunaris, New Ulster, Lampeter, Selkie, and Adelaide. He divides his time between Northern California and Western Kansas.   


What is your greatest accomplishment as a writer so far?

Even after all these years, my greatest accomplishment is being published for the first time

Why do you write?

I come from a family of Irish storytellers and photographers. As a child I listened to  stories associated with those photographs that grew from snap-shots into fully-developed lives, e.g. an older conservative woman in her 80’s who was a flapper in the 1920’s and the photograph of her in flapper attire; a photograph of three men standing by a county lake and what their stance reveals about their relationship; or an old man and his grandson on a coastline and how that reveals their life together.


What is your writing process? (Any favorite places to write? Any interesting quirks, traditions, or rituals you may have? How many times might you revise something before being satisfied with it? Besides, you, does anyone else edit your work? Etc.)

I usually write the story in one fell swoop, then rewrite it 10-12 times, after which I turn it over to two beta readers, review their suggestions, and revise again. All this takes place in a back room of the house at an old kitchen table with a laptop and  an IBM-style keyboard and Rossini overtures blaring in the background.

Your two stories published in The Chamber (“Not Yet” and “A Cell in Motion”) seem to be very intense, very personal inside views of the main character. You seem to be getting inside their minds. How do you come up with these viewpoints? How do you imagine being in their metaphorical shoes?

My process is to be with the characters in that particular setting either as a participant or an observer who hears what they hear, smells what they smell, and hurts when they hurt. To me it’s neither a “metaphor” nor an “as if” situation; it’s being with them. After I experience it with them, I write about it.

Do you have anyone (friends, relatives, etc.) review your works before you publish them?

I have two beta readers who review my work.


Could you give us an idea of your upcoming works without spoiling anything?

I have about fifteen short works and two novels near completion.

What do you hope to achieve as a writer?

To be able to continue what I have wanted to do since the age of twenty four: to write the stories of life’s dramatic interventions and folks’ reactions to them; to take a bunch of words I have tossed onto a page and mold them into a story with emotion and impact.

What do you think of rejections and criticism? Are they helpful or harmful to you?

Any editor who takes the time to critique a story of mine, then takes the additional time to reduce that critique to writing is an immediate friend of mine. Some of my most significant growth as a writer has come from critiques contained in rejection letters.

What advice do you have for novice writers?

I can’t really give advice, but what I did as a beginning writer was to read:

  • Willa Cather who taught me how to write about the land I came from.
  • Annie Proulx who takes flat, dull people and transforms them into vibrant characters.
  • Mary Karr who taught me I could write about the people I grew up with.
  • Daniel Woodrell who shows emotions through the characters’ behaviors.
  • Alice Munro who taught me the smallest of things in the smallest of towns have large lives.
  • Margaret Attwood and her skill of injecting life and elfin-like humor into the gravest situations.
  • Molls Giles and her ability to take someone sitting on a porch and make it a breathing story.
  • Tania Hershman who can take an upright piano and transform it into a reflection of someone’s life.

What do you feel are the most important resources a writer can use?

My most useful resources are Writer’s Digest articles and the website, Helping Writers Become Authors, and Literary Hub.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing? (websites, social media, etc.) 

I’m on Facebook and LinkedIn, but the best way is to google “Thomas Elson – author”.

Interview with John Tustin


The Chamber has published three of Mr. Tustin’s poems (“Dia de Muertos”, “Space Diminishing”, and “Steady on the Wheel”), all within the last three weeks.


Approximately 100-word (more or less) summary of your life: A life of minor aspiration, necessary loneliness and forced exile.

What is your greatest accomplishment as a writer so far?

Writing productively almost every night the last two years. For the first time since I began writing again I feel I’ve gotten to the point that I often actually say what I want to say when I write.

Why do you write?

I don’t know. I began writing poetry when I was fourteen. I didn’t have interest in reading poetry but for someone reason I was compelled to write it. I probably write poetry because it’s a good way for an introverted exhibitionist to express themselves.

What is your writing process? (Any favorite places to write? Any interesting quirks, traditions, or rituals you may have? How many times might you revise something before being satisfied with it? Besides you, does anyone else edit your work? Etc.)

My process has changed over time. I used to scoff at people who took out specific time to write. I didn’t understand that it could work like that. I thought that you got the idea or the first line whenever it happened to come to you and then you just started writing. That still happens to me sometimes but most of my poems are written at a specific time set aside for writing.


It works like this: Almost every night I set aside one or more hours to writing. It’s very ritualized – I listen to music and read poetry, waiting for a line or an idea. The poetry definitely inspires me. Since I began doing this about two years ago I’ve written much more and much better.


I use Microsoft Word because it’s important to get the words down quickly. It also makes editing easy. As for revising and editing, I feel that most poetry is unfortunately revised into a shiny lifelessness. I tend to write a poem and rewrite/edit it in the same sitting. It can be no rewrites or a dozen. I also sometimes take small breaks while writing if I’m stuck on the next line or even merely feeling overwhelmed with what I’m writing. 99% of the time my poems are completed in a small timeframe. One thing I always do is wait a month or so after I’ve written something to do a final rewrite/edit. Most of the time I don’t end up editing/rewriting anything at that stage but when I do I’m mostly rewriting lines for clarity. When you get further away from what you’ve written you can edit more clearly.

I can see by the link to Fritzware that you provided, that you have had a lot of poems published since 2009. How do you keep finding new ideas, new motivations for poems? How do you stay original?

Charles Bukowski said poets write about the same few things over and over. I agree. It’s easy to get stale. I read a lot – especially poetry. Living a life and/or being well-read is the best way to get new ideas or find a new way to write something.

Do you have anyone (friends, relatives, etc.) review your works before you publish them?

No. I have a private Facebook page and I post my poems there as I write them but most of my Facebook friends don’t care about poetry. I had one friend who would constantly critique my poems unasked and I had to unfriend her. I don’t care for being edited beyond typos and it’s probably because my poems are so personal to me.

Could you give us an idea of your upcoming works without spoiling anything?

As I write this I have poetry forthcoming in over thirty different journals, online and in print. I’m working on my first book of poetry and hope I will begin shopping it soon.

Do you have any writing events coming up? For example: something being published/released? A reading of one of your works? Interviews? Any speeches or talks?

I have poetry forthcoming in: Avalon Literary Review, Bare Back Magazine, Blue Unicorn, Cacti Fur, Chiron Review, Dalhousie Review, Eunoia Review, Euphemism, Freshwater Literary Journal, Garfield Lake Review, Horror Sleaze Trash, Impspired, In Parenthesis, Ink Sac, Lakeview Journal, North Dakota Quarterly, Pangolin Review, Perceptions, Piker Press, Prole, The Rail, Raven Review, Sparks of Calliope, Steam Ticket, Straylight, Tower Poetry, Triggerfish Critical Review, Unique Poetry, Vaughan Street Doubles, Visitant and  Writer’s Block.

What do you hope to achieve as a writer?

I want my poems to reach many people and make some of those people feel the way that I do when I read certain writers. I remember the first time I listened to Bob Dylan when I was about 16 and feeling like someone was expressing my own emotions and thoughts. That’s what I want to do. I want people to read what I write and feel good – feel not so alone. I want people to feel connected to my poems.

What do you think of bad reviews? Are they helpful or harmful to you?

The closest I’ve had to reviews are a few nasty or dismissive rejection letters from editors. I don’t take criticism well but I think it could be helpful. There are a lot of factors to consider.

What advice do you have for novice writers?

Write. All the time. Write all the time and read much more than you write. Be open to anything and put down any line or idea you have. It’s OK to consider an audience when writing. I usually imagine a single person reading a poem I’m writing. Sometimes it’s an actual person and sometimes it’s an imaginary person. Reading is so important. Read a lot and not just literature.

What do you feel are the most important resources a writer can use?

Life experience and reading/listening. Pay attention to what others write and what they say. Everyone is interesting if you write them well.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing? (websites, social media, etc.)

http://fritzware.com/johntustinpoetry/ contains links to my published poems and https://www.facebook.com/johntustinpoetry is my promotional page. I post links when something I’ve written is published and I also post the poems of others I happen to be reading at the time.

Is there anything else that you would like our readers to know?

I like my words being read by strangers and I like when they are touched in some way by those words. Thank you for reading my poems.


Interview with Author Steve Carr

Steve Carr, author and contributor
The Chamber Magazine
thechambermagazine.com

The Chamber published Mr. Carr’s story “Catacombs of the Doomed” on April 23.


Tell us something about your life.

I was born in impoverished conditions in Cincinnati, Ohio and joined the military for seven years, three in the Army, four in the Navy, right out of high school. During my stint in the Army I was a military journalist. After the military I completed my university degree in English/Theater and afterward worked in healthcare management while writing plays that were produced in several U.S. States. After owning my own theatrical production company, I was able to retire early and took up writing short stories in June 2016. I’ve had 500 stories – new and reprints – published since then.

What is your greatest accomplishment as a writer so far?

The entire process of writing and then submitting a short story to a publication is grueling and sometimes brutal, and I’ve done that successfully over 500 times. That is an accomplishment that few others can lay claim to.

Why do you write?

I needed a verifiable legacy, and that is why I write.

What is your writing process? (Any favorite places to write? Any interesting quirks, traditions, or rituals you may have? How many times might you revise something before being satisfied with it? Besides you, does anyone else edit your work? Etc.)

I guess it might be called a process, but I don’t really think of it as that. I write at least 1000 words a day, usually divided into two sessions of writing 500 words each session, writing 500 in the afternoon and the other 500 in the evening. I do permit myself to take time off from writing whenever I want. I don’t adhere to the dictum that you have to write every day. I edit as I write and do one final read and final editing before submitting it as soon as it’s finished. Since I know even before I begin what publication I’m writing for and what they’re looking for, I never need to hold onto a story and search for a publication to submit the story to, unless it has been rejected the first time. No one, ever sees anything I have written until it is published.

You have written over 500 short stories but published your first novel, Redbird, in 2019. What was the transition from writing short stories to writing a novel like for you? If I recall correctly, Hemingway said that a novel is a “different animal” from a short story.

I absolutely hated writing the novel. It didn’t suit my pace of developing a story, required way too much time plotting and planning, and it felt like I was purposely extending the boundaries of the story simply to make it fit a novel word count. I’m not one to say “never” but I can’t see repeating writing a novel, ever.

Do you have anyone (friends, relatives, etc.) review your works before you publish them?

No one, absolutely no one, sees my work before it is published.

Could you give us an idea of your upcoming works without spoiling anything?

I have a list of ideas for short stories I plan to write but the list would make no sense to anyone else as it is mostly just story titles or very brief notes.

Do you have any writing events coming up? For example: something being published/released? A reading of one of your works? Interviews? Any speeches or talks?

My short stories are published all the time and it would bore you to tears if I gave out what was being published and when. Despite coming from a theater background, I hate reading my works aloud. Interviews, and I’ve done a lot of those, seem to happen spur of the moment.

What do you hope to achieve as a writer?

To write that . . .one . . .perfect . . . short story that will be studied and discussed long after I’m dead.

What do you think of bad reviews? Are they helpful or harmful to you?

Other than rejections from editors who sometimes think their role is to be a literary critic, I can’t think of a time when a short story of mine actually received a bad review. Not enough people read my novel to review it one way or another. Well it got a few good reviews on Amazon, but it was my friends who bought and reviewed it.

What advice do you have for novice writers?

Rejection happens to every writer, don’t take it too seriously. Also don’t become to enamored with your own work. That leads to all kinds of bad writing decisions. Learn grammar and never take advice from someone who knows less about writing than you do.

What do you feel are the most important resources a writer can use?

(1) Life experience: go everywhere you can, see as much as you can, experience as much as you can, remember everything or keep notes. (2) learn how to use Google. (3) Read. Read. Read. Even the back of a cereal box can be informative.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing? (websites, social media, etc.)

My website: https://www.stevecarr960.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/steven.carr.35977

Twitter: @carrsteven960

My Amazon bibliography: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07CRL1PHF?ref

My publishing imprint Sweetycat Press website: https://www.sweetycatpress.com/about

Is there anything else that you would like our readers to know?

Few writers, other than journalists or advertising copywriters, actually make a living by writing. Keep your expectations low and hold on to your day job until you have a healthy bank account, and even after that, resist being okay with living in your parents’ basement.


Interview with Author and Poet Yash Seyedbagheri

Yash Seyedbagheri, contributor
The Chamber Magazine thechambermagazine.com

Biography:

I was born and grew up in Boise, Idaho, attended Boise State University, graduated with a BA in political science and went on to Colorado State University to pursue my MFA degree in creative writing (fiction). I graduated from the MFA in 2018, and have lived in in Garden Valley, Idaho since July 2019.

What is your greatest accomplishment as a writer so far?

I would say the several Pushcart nominations I’ve received. I greatly moves me that others see something special in my work, in my craft. So, it’s certainly a good signpost for me moving forward!

Why do you write?

I write because I feel an impulse to write, to create worlds on the page and release my wild imagination. I also write to dissect human behaviors and social conventions.

What is your writing process? (Any favorite places to write? Any interesting quirks, traditions, or rituals you may have? How many times might you revise something before being satisfied with it? Besides you, does anyone else edit your work? Etc.)

I try to write in the morning if I can. Sometimes, I’ll listen to classical music, especially Debussy or Tchaikovsky to provide that needed emotional wellspring to produce. With flash fiction pieces, I can often write and rework a piece in a single setting and send things out the same day. Of course, I probably should let some pieces percolate a bit, which is something I’m trying to do more.

In terms of rituals, I like to try to submit to at least six literary journals a day (and often many more). I like to keep up the habit and submit constantly! I’m addicted to submission! I also seek inspiration from my 3-4 daily walks, whether it’s in shadows, Ponderosas swaying, or a butter-colored light glowing at dusk.

Do you have anyone (friends, relatives, etc.) review your works before you publish them?

I’m a member of a writing group, so with longer stories I do tend to get them workshopped. I also occasionally send poems to friends here and there.

Could you give us an idea of your upcoming works without spoiling anything?

I’m always working on something! I am specifically considering writing a novel set in an MFA program, about legacies and egos (with considerable comic elements). I know writing about writing and writing programs is often verboten, but I’d like to challenge that convention.

Do you have any writing events coming up? For example: something being published/released? A reading of one of your works? Interviews? Any speeches or talks?

I’ve just had a flash fiction piece accepted at SmokeLong Quarterly, which is a real thrill for me! Otherwise, I’m just submitting away!

What do you hope to achieve as a writer?

I’d ideally like to get a short story collection published. Possibly a flash fiction collection. And hopefully a novel. But I really believe the short story collection has been overlooked too frequently and flash fiction even more so.

What do you think of bad reviews? Are they helpful or harmful to you?

I haven’t received bad reviews per se, but I have received constructive critiques of some submissions. And I think they can be helpful. In particular, I think they signal that someone was attracted to a piece and it’s worth continuing to pursue.

What advice do you have for novice writers?

I’d say try to write daily, if possible. Even if it’s a mere 50 words. I’d also say don’t be afraid to submit. Yes, it can be frightening, but having a rejection is proof that you put your work out there. And if you keep submitting and really targeting your submissions, you have a great shot at getting work published!

What do you feel are the most important resources a writer can use?

Duotrope has been particularly helpful, due to its wide database of lit mags and various metrics, including journals with fast response times, most approachable, etc. It also gives you a sense of response trends at certain venues, given that so many post their responses.

I’d also say joining a writing group can be helpful. It gives you an impetus to write and submit by deadlines and, best case scenario, offers a range of voices and opinions. It’s especially helpful when multiple group members point out certain issues with a piece, as well as calling out the piece’s strengths.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing? (websites, social media, etc.)

I don’t have a website at the present and I tend to avoid social media when possible, but much of my work can be found online!

Is there anything else that you would like our readers to know?

I’m a self-proclaimed Romantic and a lover of Coen Brothers movies, especially The Big Lebowski. I wish I could abide like the Dude. But I tend to see travesties all around me like Walter Sobchak!

Interview with Author Garrett Rowlan

Born in San Francisco in 1948, raised in LA, graduate in History at Cal State LA in 1971. Read Krisnamurti’s Thing on These Things and decided to follow my heart and do what I loved, basically read and write. Lived in Sacramento four years doing factory work and moved back to LA in 1976. Journalism, computers, caretaker (for my mother) and 26 years a sub teacher at LAUSD, retired in 2012.

What is your greatest accomplishment as a writer so far?

Two novels published. To Die, To Sleep (James Ward Kirk Press) and Too Solid Flesh Melts (Alban Lake Press). 70 other stories published.

Why do you write?

A touch of hypergraphia, ego, the desire to leave something behind, probably because I have no kids.

What is your writing process? (Any favorite places to write? Any interesting quirks, traditions, or rituals you may have? How many times might you revise something before being satisfied with it? Besides you, does anyone else edit your work? Etc.)

I write in the mornings, often take a clipboard and walk around the town of South Pasadena, California, writing as sentences occur to me. A touch of cannabis sometimes helps.

Do you have anyone (friends, relatives, etc.) review your works before you publish them?

Outside of editors, no one else reads my stuff until it is published. I feel that giving yourself some time between versions is the best way to proceed. (Advice I give but don’t always follow.)

Could you give us an idea of your upcoming works without spoiling anything?

I have published a few stories and essays about Jorge Luis Borges, and I would like to use his story “The Library at Babel” as the basis for a novel.

Do you have any writing events coming up? For example: something being published/released? A reading of one of your works? Interviews? Any speeches or talks?

I have four stories accepted and a fifth is probable. I just finished a novel and am looking for an agent, but I’ll probably end up self-publishing.

What advice do you have for novice writers?

As I once read on the back of a novel by Anthony Burgess, “Just keep writing.”

What do you feel are the most important resources a writer can use?

Wikipedia.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing? (websites, social media, etc.) 

garrettrowlan.com

Interview with Author Rie Sheridan Rose

Bio:

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. Things happened along the way, like school and I gave up the dream for awhile. But when I was laid off a couple of weeks before my wedding in 2003, my fiance said I could stay at home and write. So, I have. I actually had my first published story in 1998, but it was still juggling to get writing in around work and stuff. I consider 2003 my real birth as a writer even though I had two novels published by then.

What is your greatest accomplishment as a writer so far?

I think my story in Startling Stories feels like the biggest accomplishment, though having a five book series is a close second. Since that is self-published, it doesn’t have the same feeling of “Wow” that Startling Stories gives me.

Why do you write?

I write because the words in my head want to come out and play. 🙂 Because I have these cool stories that other people might enjoy as well, and I am happy to share them.

What is your writing process? (Any favorite places to write? Any interesting quirks, traditions, or rituals you may have? How many times might you revise something before being satisfied with it? Besides you, does anyone else edit your work? Etc.)

I am very definitely a “pantser.” I never outline. Most of the time I sit down and start typing and see where the story goes. Revisions are very subjective. I used to never revise because I hated the editing stage–and then one day I realized that the first draft is just the bones of a story, and the revisions are where you get to add the muscles and flesh. Now, it can be one of my favorite parts. And, this year, I’ve noticed that most of the stories I’ve placed are ones that I looked at again and tweaked a bit. Including “Cheap Sunglasses.”

Do you have anyone (friends, relatives, etc.) review your works before you publish them?

I have a group of beta readers that I use most of the time. They are a mix of friends, family, and writing professionals, because you want different types of feedback from different people.

Could you give us an idea of your upcoming works without spoiling anything?

Well, several of my novels were left homeless when a publisher closed their novel line, so most of those are re-releasing sometime this year. I have a fairy tale romance with a beta reader (who is also a publisher, cross fingers), and I am working on a spin-off novel for my series that may need to be completely rewritten. I also have a poetry book I’m about to start and a couple of WIPs that may or may not go anywhere. Plus I have a goal of submitting at least one piece of work everyday this year to make up for my dismal laziness last year. I am up to 177 so far.

Do you have any writing events coming up? For example: something being published/released? A reading of one of your works? Interviews? Any speeches or talks?

Everything is still pretty much shut down, though I hope maybe to be back at conventions by the fall. I have a story in Good Southern Witches that debuts in April.

What do you hope to achieve as a writer?

I would like to be known. Not necessarily recognized, but if people hear my name they might say, “Yeah, I read something by her somewhere…”

What do you think of bad reviews? Are they helpful or harmful to you?

It depends on the review. I got a review once on Amazon that purported to be from a specific user. I knew it wasn’t from that specific user, because it was my husband’s user name, and he hadn’t written it. We tried to get them to take it down, but I don’t think we ever succeeded. Mostly, I look at reviews as opinions, and if they seem to have a valid objection to something, I consider it going forward.

What advice do you have for novice writers?

Keep writing. Don’t let a few rejections get you down. I did that when I was in college, and didn’t write for years. What a lot of time wasted! My husband made me a challenge one year to get 300 rejections. It was a kind of aversion therapy. By the end of that year, they didn’t bother me as much. Sure, every now and then, a rejection still really hurts, but I’ve got 80 so far this year… The other piece of advice is keep good records. Make a spreadsheet so you know where things have gone and whether or not they were accepted so you don’t accidentally send something out twice and have the awkward duty of pulling one. And carry some form of notetaking device–notebook, app on your phone, file cards…–wherever you go.

What do you feel are the most important resources a writer can use?

I think the free version of Grammarly is useful. Autocrit is nice, but costs. The Merriam Webster online dictionary. https://www.rhymezone.com/ for poetry. And for submissions, https://www.ralan.com/ and https://trishhopkinson.com/category/call-for-submissions/ are two of my go-tos, as well as the Open Call groups on Facebook. There are several of those.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing? (websites, social media, etc.)

My main social media links are: Twitter: https://twitter.com/RieSheridanRose; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rie-Sheridan-Rose/38814481714; and my main website: https://riewriter.com/. I am also on Patreon as Rie Sheridan Rose and on Pixabay as RieFlections.

Is there anything else that you would like our readers to know?

Always follow your dreams. Write what you want to read. And remember, write what you know doesn’t mean you can’t learn something new and write about it.