In honor of the anthology, I'll be spotlighting different contributors between now and its release in May. Today's blog post features fellow author Jen Chandler, who contributed the eponymous story "Mysteries of Death and Life" to the anthology. Read on for an interview with Jen. You can find the Celebrate the Small Things Blog Hop further below.
Interview with Jen Chandler
This is the hardest part for me. I have a slew of hobbies and "want tos" and, of course, the part time job, the husband, the cats, and the other "have tos". There is a constant battle inside me between WRITE and CLEAN and LEARN and CRAFT. I envy those who have one interest or, better yet, those who work in their chosen field, turn off the light, leave the workspace, and go home to relax and not thing about ANYTHING else! Alas, I am not that person.
The best writing routine I learned was several years ago when I (finally) finished college. One of my writing professors introduced me to the practice of Stream of Consciousness writing. The easiest way to describe SoC writing is this: it's where you sit down, preferably with pen and paper but I have done it on a computer, set a timer for 5, 10, 30 minutes, whatever suits your current schedule, and write. You don't stop until the buzzer goes off. You don't edit; you don't even go back and fix spelling. You just writing. Then you put it away for a month.
We did focused SoC's (those with a "prompt") and unfocused ones. The unfocused sessions were amazing exercises at emptying the main. I was amazed at what came out when I pushed aside my inner critic and just let the words fly! By the end of that eight week class, I had a slew of new story ideas!
The only advice I can give you is passed through me from my favorite writer Madeleine L'Engle. She taught that writers should concentrate on three things in order to properly "serve the work" as she called it: keep an honest, uncensored and -preferably- unpublished journal; read the great works of literature and read often; write every day. It really is as simple as that.
What do you like to write about or what drew you to this anthology? Is there anything interesting about your background as a writer you’d like to share?
I have always enjoyed ghost stories and Southern Gothic. I'm from Georgia. We like our ghosts down here. The topic of the anthology drew me in. I saw it as a good way to try out some light horror that had been floating around in my head. I've always been fascinated with the concept of an Angel of Death. Why he came to me for this anthology, at this particular time, I'll never know but I'm awfully glad he did :)
What’s your favorite recent book and/or one from your teen years or something from your to-read pile?
Oh, this is a hard one. I read voraciously. If I'm not reading at least three books at one time my husband thinks something is wrong with me! My favorite recent read is Italo Calvino's "If on a Winter's Night a Traveler". It's a beautiful work of experimental fiction. It twists and turns through multiple tales but all have a single, similar thread that ties you and the book together. To say any more would be to spoil the fun! Currently I'm reading James Joyce's "Ulysses" for the first time. I'm ashamed to say I've never read it but I am having so much fun! This book is fantastic! It's brilliant, rambling, hilarious, bawdy, and hypnotic. Once you fall into Joyce's rabbit hole, you'll never want to come back. I could go on and on about my favorite books but I won't. It would take up way too much time!
Born and raised in the deep, dirty South, Jen Chandler cut her story-telling teeth in the old folktales of Appalachia. She grew up chasing ghosts and gods, devouring the myths and legends of Egypt, Greece, Ireland and the British Isles. Now happily ensconced beneath the moss laden oaks of Savannah, GA, Jen delights in rummaging into the dark corners of stories, re-imaging mythology and collecting ghosts, goblins, and other strange things that tap at the back door of her imagination. When not writing, Jen can be found drinking copious amounts of tea, designing and stitching fabric patterns, studying folk herbalism, and re-reading old copies of British Country Living with frightening regularity. She may or may not be addicted to gummy candy.
Learn more about the anthology on our Lost Hero website.
Celebrate the Small Things Blog Hop
What I'm celebrating: I had the chance to read to 6th grade students at Temple Hill Academy this week in honor of Read Across America Day.
Have a great weekend!