I've seen this survey going around the Internet over the last few weeks. I think someone is supposed to ask you to answer the questions, but nobody tagged me so I decided to tag myself. As if I could pass up an opportunity to talk about myself and my writing. As. If.
What are you working on right now?
As anyone who regularly reads this blog is well aware, I'm working on a novel titled Hive Body. It was my MFA thesis; now it has graduated to being, simply, My Book. I'm currently on draft #7, which I am hoping will be the final draft - at least until I send it out.
But something you might not know is that I'm also working on a collection of short stories. They're sort-of linked, in that they all take place in the same town in the suburbs of Long Island, which is basically a thinly veiled version of the town in which I grew up. I've got five stories in it so far. I'd like to have nine or ten, so I'm half way there. (Some of the stories that are included in it have been published - like this one.)
How does your work differ from others in its genre?
I tend to write pretty traditional narratives - I love stories about relationships in turmoil, women in emotional peril, families falling apart, that sort of thing. I don't write happy stories, as a general rule, despite being a happy person. That said, I do think my work is different, or at least not cliche, because it's very rooted in the natural world. In my novel, it's the world of honeybees. In my short stories, it's the world of suburbia, which lacks nature in a real and alarming way.
Why do you write what you do?
I just realized I identified my work as being about relationships and nature, so I guess the answer to this question is: what else is there?
My real answer is that I am fascinated by humans, by love, by tragedy, by change. I'm afraid of losing the people I care about, and I'm afraid of losing the world as I know it, which I hold dear. Some people write what they know; I write what I fear, so that I can know it and fear it less. That sounds very depressing, but it actually makes me happier than anything else.
How does your writing process work?
Wake up early, by 6:30AM at the latest. Pour a cup of coffee, which was set to brew at six. Stir in a generous drop of almond milk. Sit at desk and pull up latest project. Write or revise for the next one to two hours, until the rest of the house starts waking up or other responsibilities demand my time. Repeat every day for the rest of my life.
Or: sleep late because I drank too much wine the night before. Or: turn off the alarm because I'm lazy. Or: go for a run, because it will be 100 degrees later and if I don't go now it won't happen. Or: wake up early but read blogs and Twitter until it's too late to get any writing done. Or: wake up early wanting to write, but work on freelance articles instead, because deadlines are looming.
But mostly I try to wake up early, drink the coffee, and write. It's not very glamorous or interesting, but that's sort of the point.