Welcome to the latest installment of Breaking In, where I interview authors about their experiences breaking in as writers — how they did it, what it felt like to get there, and how it differed from what they were expecting.
Most of my interviews are with writers who are a lot farther along their career tracks than I am, with many published short stories and/or multiple novels under their belts. But I believe very strongly that every writer is on a journey, and that we can learn something from them no matter what point in that journey they’re on.
So I’m very pleased to be able to interview a writer at a comparatively an early stage of her career, whose first short story saw publication on August 14 – author R. W. Hodgson.
In her Twitter bio, R. W. describes herself as a “very part-time writer of fantasy, scifi, and sometimes historical” fiction. Her short story ‘Aitvaras’, which features post-World War II Lithuania and a fiery chicken, was that August 14 prose fiction debut – congratulations! It appears in the anthology FIRE: DEMONS, DRAGONS & DJINNS, from Tyche Books.
The ability for people to control (to some extent at least) fire has long been held as one of the major events that contributed to human evolution, but when fire eludes or escapes our control it is also one of the most destructive forces on earth. Associated with passion, power, transformation and purification, fire is a ferocious element with an unquenchable appetite.
Discover the power of Fire and the creatures that thrive on it in these twenty-one stories, including: the true inspiration behind Jim Morrison’s songs; a special weapon used in World War II; the secret in the depths of a mortuary furnace; a fantastical card game; and a necromancer out on what may be his last job.
Featuring: Blake Jessop; Kevin Cockle; Lizbeth Ashton; Dusty Thorne; V.F. LeSann; K.T. Ivanrest; Hal J. Friesen; Laura VanArendonk Baugh; Krista D. Ball; Mara Malins; Claude Lalumière; Susan MacGregor; JB Riley; Damascus Mincemeyer; Heather M. O’Connor; Gabrielle Harbowy; R. W. Hodgson; Chadwick Ginther; Wendy Nikel; Annie Neugebauer; and J.G. Formato.
This is one of my Breaking In posts focusing on a fellow contributor to the forthcoming anthology Nevertheless (Tesseracts Twenty-One). Consider yourself warned about my Nefarious Hidden Agenda!
[SGM] Welcome to the blog, R. W.! To begin, when did you feel like you’d broken in as a writer?
[RWH] Hey! Thanks for having me!
I’m just on the cusp of breaking in as a writer with two stories under my belt. On the other hand, I feel like I’m the type of person that could have a best seller and still not feel like I’d broken in.
What was your path to breaking in? Did you have a strategy? Did it work, or did you end up getting there another way?
This wasn’t a matter of strategy but of passion. I write because I love it and I haven’t approached it as a goal-orientated process. I submit for my own enjoyment, when I have an idea that strikes me.
And following up on that, knowing what you do now, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t do much different, aside from go easier on myself. I have a near-magic ability to make things stressful.
Now that you’ve broken in, is it like or unlike what you expected? How?
It’s a bit overwhelming. The sense of vulnerability one gets from having one’s work in the wide world is new and fresh for me, but it’s been very exciting too.
What are you working on now?
Despite being primarily a sci-fi and fantasy writer I’ve written a historical novel about Nova Scotia with privateers and I’m going to try to query it. And I’m working on a short historical fantasy set in a gold mine.
How can people keep up with you online?
Thank you so much to R. W. for the interview!
Remember, in addition to ‘Aitvaras’, you can read her short story ‘A Walk In The Woods’ (and, ahem, my short story ‘Green Leaves Don’t Fall’) in Nevertheless (Tesseracts Twenty-One) which in a remarkable coincidence, is available for pre-order now.
Coming up next on the blog: More Nevertheless contributors share their Breaking In stories.