While some of us Scrivas have been together since the critique group was formed, other writers have come and gone, or, as I’d like to think, are taking a long sabbatical. Sara is the newest among us and, as you can read in her Viva Scriva blog post, she didn’t take joining lightly.
What can I say about Sara? The short version is that she is a Portland (Oregon)-based writer who works as a librarian and who will be teaching a “Writing the Other: Comics and Graphic Novels” class on September 10. Her works for teen readers and others include the award-winning novels Empress of the World and Rules for Hearts, the graphic novel Bad Houses, and numerous mini-comics, as well as contributions to anthologies, the most recent of which appears in Amber J. Keyser’s The V-Word. I first encountered Sara’s writing when I deconstructed the sibling relationship in Rules for Hearts during my revisions to The Ninth Day. She unknowingly offered a critique long before she joined Viva Scriva.
Here’s what I asked Sara and what she answered:
What’s the hardest part about writing? Overcoming second-guessing.
What aspect of Viva Scriva do you find most beneficial? I don’t think I can narrow it down to one aspect! What I loved from the first ‘test’ meeting I attended is the combination of insightful critique, emotional support, and practical advice about the business side of writing. That, and everyone’s sense of humor. As Melissa commented, there is a lot of laughter at our meetings.
If you could change one aspect of the publishing business, what would it be and why? I would dismantle publishing’s structural inequities! If publishing had plentiful representation of people across cultures, religions, sexual and gender identities, disabilities, social classes, etc., in every aspect of the industry, we’d have better books and a healthier, more vibrant literary culture. Hell, we’d just have a healthier culture, full stop. (I guess technically that’s more than one aspect because it’s basically everything, but whatever.)
Which three women, who are no longer alive, have influenced either your writing or your desire to write?
- Tove Jansson. My parents raised me with her Moomin books. When I grew up I discovered her subtle spare and brilliant work for adults, and the fact that she based the character Too-Ticky in the Moomin books on her sculptor partner Tuulikki Pietilä. Her short story collection, Fair Play, loosely based on their life together, is a favorite.
- Audre Lorde. I remember subscribing to the Quality Paperback Book Club’s Triangle editions of queer classics and getting the omnibus edition of Zami: A New Spelling Of My Name, Sister Outsider, and Undersong in the mail. Her work was a revelation, and still is.
- Laurie Colwin. I love both her warm and precisely observed fiction and the generous essay-recipes in her Home Cooking and More Home Cooking. Her gingerbread is my go-to festive dessert, with the lemon icing that, as she explains, begins as impossibly sweet but gradually becomes “suave and buttery.”
If, magically, your Wednesday could be 25 hours long, and you could do anything with that hour, what would it be? Do I have to do the same thing every magical extra Wednesday hour? Because some weeks it would definitely be writing, but other weeks I might want to do other things, such as exercising, looking at art, listening to music, being with someone dear to me, getting another hour of sleep. If the magical extra Wednesday hour only happens once, though, I’ll spend it writing.
Thanks, Sara. I’ll spend that magical hour writing too.