Writers on Writing Interviews Nancy Clark & Rebecca Buchanan

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 This week, Writers on Writing shines our interviewing spotlight on two of the authors in EC's Emperor's New Clothes Issue: 

First up, we have
"The royal marriage, while magical to outsiders, was actually a dismal affair because the king was not just dim-witted, bad-tempered and selfish, but exceedingly vain and more than a bit of a clotheshorse. His last three wives had been executed for committing the mortal sin of outshining him..."
What do a shepherd's wife, a ram, a lady-of-the-privy-stool, a queen's dress, and an out of control ego have in common? Check out Nancy's original story, A Tale Spun of Whole Cloth, to find out...And get to know a bit about Nancy as an author in her interview below:

1.  Who is your favorite fairy tale character and why?  When I was a little girl I was entranced by a twenty-volume set of The Book of Knowledge: A Children's Encyclopedia. The books had their origins in 19th-century England and eventually were published in the U.S. Each book featured an amalgam of science, political history, and literature, including the most wonderfully illustrated fairy tales by artists such as Arthur Rackham. My favorite was "The Water-Babies, A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby" by the Reverend Charles Kingsley probably because of the dreamy, aquatic drawings of beautiful women with swirling hair. My favorite character was Mrs. Doasyouwouldbedoneby, who was kind and loving toward Tom, the chimneysweep who falls into the water along with his wealthy friend Ellie to enter a world as strange, menacing and fascinating as its mirror image on dry land. I also was haunted--in the pleasurable way of small children first imagining life in an alternative universe--by "The Princess and the Goblin" and "The Princess and Curdie," written by George MacDonald. Although I remember that it was about mines deep in the earth and goblins with sensitive feet, what I most remember is the blue light, which proves the power of verbal descriptions because the illustrations were in black and white.
Mrs. Doasyouwouldbedoneby:
Art by Jessie Willcox Smith
2. What is your favorite story that you've written? What was it about, and why was it your favorite?  Because I've been writing professionally since 1969, you'd think I wouldn't be able to remember all the poems, plays, short stories, and nonfiction pieces I've produced. But I do. First, I need to explain that when I started, the process of physically producing a manuscript was so much more laborious and unforgiving. Cloth typewriter ribbons lost their ink and got holes. Making a copy involved rolling carbon paper protected by a covering sheet of pale pink onionskin into the typewriter behind the good white paper. And, when the piece was finally ready to submit, there were only five places on the planet to publish it, or so it seemed. So, apropos of this, my favorite story is called "The Chatterton Prize" and was published by The Boston Globe Magazine in 1983. I'd been struggling for years to finish a novel (never did) and had finally concluded that in order to get accepted by an old prestigious publishing house, you had to do something fatally dramatic, like putting your head in the oven. That story is a satire based on the premise that to die young and get published as your reward is better than heaven. I got paid $500 for it, and didn't write another thing for twelve years.

3.  What was a negative writing experience for you that you turned into a positive one?  My second career was as an artisan who, completely by accident, reinvented an obscure colonial furniture decorating technique. I'd worked for newspapers and magazines as a feature writer and copy editor while trying to write fiction, and was amused that pretty soon people were interviewing me. A bout with breast cancer in 1994 brought me back to writing. I wrote a play for a local fund-raiser and, encouraged by that, set out again on the journey that both frustrates and rewards me in equal measure. I figured out long ago that I'm an eighteen-to-one writer, that is, one piece will sell or, these days, at least be accepted, for every eighteen submissions. This means that I try to have  an absolute minimum of thirty-six things out there. When one comes back, I read whatever comments might be made, rewrite, and send it again. Thus far, the system has never failed me. One example (of, oh, so many to choose from): a short story that I wrote in early 2015 went out thirteen times, changing constantly, and was finally published in the January of 2017 by the brand new Canadian magazine Paper Butterfly Flash Fiction as "The Invitation." You can read it online HERE.

Nancy Brewka-Clark grew up in the woods of New Hampshire where fairies inhabited the foot of every towering oak. Her poetry, short fiction and drama have been published in the U.S. and abroad.

Next up:
"Glamour shredded,
he stood exposed,
pale in his vanity,"

Rebecca's poem, "But he is naked," the child chanted, offers a view as to exactly who the tailors were in the classic fairy tale...and they are not who you expected. Check out her Q&A:  

1.  Do you have a favorite fairy tale book?  It’s a tie between A Guide to Folktales in Fragile Dialects by Catherynne M. Valente and Bone Swans by C.S.E. Cooney. They are both brilliant and haunting.

2.  When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?  I never realized that I wanted to be a writer. It is just something I have always done. I never had a choice.

3.  What ways do you promote yourself, and what social media do you think is most effective to do this?  Even with services like Sprinklr, no one can be everywhere online. I find it best to focus on one or two platforms that have the best chance of reaching people without consuming all of my time and energy. I focus on Facebook; my blog, BookMusings; and my website, Eternal Haunted Summer.
READ Steadfast
a poem by Rebecca that first appeared in
The Steadfast Tin Soldier Issue of EC.

Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of the Pagan literary ezine, Eternal Haunted Summer. When she is not writing, she likes to sit on her front porch and listen to the mad rantings of ravens.

Interviews by: Amanda Bergloff