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interviews

Author Q & A with Alex Sese

Author Q & A with Alex Sese

September 29, 2022

This week’s Author Q&A is with Alex Sese. Alex is a native of the Philippines who currently lives in Illinois as a full-time copy editor in medical communications and freelance fiction and nonfiction editor for Subtle Script Editing. Her story, “Love, Dad,” was this year’s winner of the Honeybee Prize in Fiction selected by guest judge Mary Kurlya. Here’s what Mary said about her story:

“Love, Dad” is a cleverly told story that employs misapprehension to brisk dramatic effect. As this short epistolary story reveals through masterful use of form, Dad and his legacy are far more nuanced and adoring than his earlier characterization portends, as is the medium through which he demonstrated his love, storytelling. 

As we do with many of our contributing authors, we asked Alex to share a little more about her writing and her writing life. We began by asking her which part of the writing process she found most difficult.

Her response: “To me, it’s finding that one line that anchors the whole story. Every piece starts with that one line that I’d really like to write and the rest kind of builds itself around it. It takes some time, reflection, and sometimes just luck to come up with it.”

This is a common obstacle faced by many artists. It is said that beginning is the hardest part. Afterwards, the rest just flows. We then asked her what fuels her desire to write.

Her response: “Readers, to be honest. I know they tell you to write for yourself, to write what you’d like to read. And I do. But every piece I’ve written is also a sort of love letter to someone out there. I hope that my words find them.”

It’s interesting to consider who we are writing for, ourselves or someone else. Perhaps we should be writing for ourselves but most writers probably have some person or audience in mind when setting out to write something new. The fact that yours are love letters is endearing and we love that! We then asked her who her biggest writing influences were.

Her response: “Haruki Murakami is someone I admire and consider his work as comfort reading. I think the way he makes me feel like I’m eavesdropping on his characters in their more somber moments influences what I hope my writing to feel like – intimate and gentle.”

Making a reader feel connected to the characters you create is a great accomplishment and goal! Finally, we asked her what comes to mind when she hears the phrase “the good life.”

Her response: The good life is one where we feel at peace with who we are.

Thank you, Alex, for sharing your “love letter” with us and taking the time to answer our questions. We wish you the best with all your writing endeavors.

Cheers,
~The Good Life Review Team

Categories
interviews

Author Q & A with Adeline Lovell

Author Q & A with Adeline Lovell

September 23, 2022

This week’s author Q&A is with Adeline Lovell. Addie is a native of Brooklyn, New York. She attends Smith College where her focus is Women and Gender Studies with a concentration in Creative Writing. She is the author of the award-winning story “Burning” and the runner-up for the 2022 Honeybee Literature Prize in fiction. We had the privilege to ask Adeline about the creative process for her latest work, “The Children.

We began by asking which aspects of the writing process stood out or surprised her most.

Her response: “This piece mostly started from stand-alone scenes that came from prompts in creative writing classes. I wrote the flashback scene with Brittany and Caroline as teenagers first, and then felt like there was more to their relationship, after they’ve grown and dealt/not dealt with their own dysfunction. I think the time that this is being published is the weirdest detail—I wrote this way before the Roe decision, certainly not expecting that if or when it was published, abortion rights would be in such a dire place. I feel happy that this is being published right now. I hope that now, this piece reads as another reminder of the many reasons that women make this choice, and that none of them should have to be justified.”

A very insightful and honest take on how this story relates to modern times! We then asked her what new discoveries she made about her craft and overall writing style in the making of this story.

Her response: “This piece didn’t feel complete for a long time—I wrote it non-chronologically, not even knowing if I could make it into a concise story. That’s pretty different from my usual process when I’m writing short fiction, so by the time I sat down and tried to consider it as a longer piece, a lot of it was already done. So that was a new experience for me, in terms of craft. I felt really tender towards my two main characters in this piece—I didn’t really favor one over the other—which was kind of new for me, given that they do a lot of unintentional hurting of each other. It was a really fun and interesting thing to explore

It’s always exciting to surprise yourself and learn more about yourself as a writer when drafting new work! We then asked Addie what she enjoys most about the artistic process.

Her response: I love the initial process of writing a story. Writing scenes for the first time, however much they end up changing, is so much fun for me. I feel like I’m often reminding myself that writing is supposed to be fun even as it’s also incredibly hard, frustrating, and occasionally infuriating. But I LOVE the feeling of getting into a zone where I know what I want to say and feel the urgency to write it.

The sense of urgency that she describes is felt by many writers out there, as is the ultimate reward that comes with writing new work. We finally asked her about her writing influences and what fuels her desire to write:

Her response: Reading good fiction, seeing something that I want to find an interesting way to describe, getting overwhelmed by an emotion that feels important enough to explore in some context other than my life…I think Alice Munro, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Elizabeth Strout are probably my biggest influences. I write a lot about family dynamics and dysfunction, and every time I read them, I’m just floored by how compelling and smart their work is. 

We asked Addie if there was anything else she wanted to share with potential readers?

Her response: I feel like now is as relevant a time as any to remind everyone who is able to donate to abortion funds and listen to and amplify the voices of the poor women and WOC in red states who are most affected by new laws, and to never let the lawmakers who were responsible for this have a moment of peace.

And finally, when we asked her what she thinks of when she hears the phrase, “The Good Life,” her response was as follows:

There are so, so, so many things, but right now, I’m answering these questions outside a coffee shop with live music, drinking an iced lavender latte and sitting next to my best friend. It feels very relevant.

Thanks Addie for sharing your words with us and being a part of our Summer issue. We appreciate you taking extra time with us on this Q&A and wish you the best!

Cheers,
~The Good Life Review Team