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Bewildering Stories

Bewildering Stories Interviews

Andrea Laws

Andrea Laws is a Bewildering Stories Associate Editor.
We’re very glad to be able to add her interview to our distinguished list of interviews.

I. Personal Questions

Where do you live, if you don’t mind saying? — I live in Lawrence, Kansas.

Where do you think you might like to live either in reality or in your imagination? — I would love to live in Tim Burton’s vision of what Sleepy Hollow would look like in the film, Sleepy Hollow.

What is your occupation? What do you do in real life?

I currently work as a Documentation Specialist for the Kansas University Endowment Association. I write technical documents for the Gift Processing Department.

What advice would you give to a young person going into your line of work?

Take as many technical writing courses as you can. If you want to be a professional writer, it is a good idea to have knowledge of this field so you can still call yourself a professional “writer” even though you really want to be something more creative. It’s just this world... You got to be logical sometimes.

Has your occupation influenced your writing?

It definitely has influenced my life, because I become proficient in a field I never even dreamed of doing in my career. It is fulfilling to be diverse in all types of writing.

How did you come in contact with Bewildering Stories?

I have a website that lists places poets can send their work to get it out there, and Bewildering Stories was one of them, so I submitted my poetry for publication, which happened in issue 657.

Is there anything BwS does particularly well? Of course there’s always room for improvement: is there anything in particular you’d like to see added or changed? — The website could be revamped visually.

What do you do in your spare time (aside from reading BwS stories)? — I hang out with my family, try to find time to write and paint, as well as be a part of the Lawrence community.

II. About Reading

Is there anything you’d like to tell BwS authors to do or not do?

Writers need to understand that it is okay to have someone proofread their stories before they submit them. I’ve seen some unnecessary grammatical errors in many stories that will catch the eye of a general proofreader.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of working as an Editor for Bewildering Stories? — Making sure I get stories read within a week.

What’s your favorite book? What’s the last book that you read and really enjoyed?

Frankenstein, by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. I am currently reading Love Janis, written by Janis Joplin’s sister, Laura Joplin.

Who are your favorite authors, and what about their works appeals to you most?

Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Jim Morrison, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Jim Carroll, Stephen King, Kurt Vonnegut, Nicole Blackman and Charles Bukowski. These authors either write the strange and unique or they have a voice that has just touched me as a reader and a writer.

If you could be any character (other than one of your own) from a book or movie, who would it be? Why? — I would love to be Beatrix Kiddo from Kill Bill, because she is just a bad ass.

Do you have any favorite authors at Bewildering Stories? Have you found there any works you’d recommend to a friend? — I need to read more to have a favorite.

If you could invite any other writer to dinner, whom would ask? Feel free to choose from any time or place. — I would invite Jim Morrison to dinner, because I feel like the conversations would be endless and a night to always remember.

III. About Writing

How long have you been writing? — I have been writing since I was ten years old, and I wrote my first poem in third grade.

What made you want to start writing?

I had an assignment to write a poem and it was chosen to be presented outside the classroom for the entire school to read. I was hooked to writing after that and have done nothing but try to perfect my skills ever since.

Do you have a favorite among your works? Of your titles at BwS, which one you would recommend first to someone who hasn’t read you yet?

I am thoroughly proud of my poems, “Alistair’s Prayer” and “Flies & Spiders.” They reflect my inner emotions and challenged me as a poet to find structure in them.

Do you have a favorite character in your own stories? In some other writer’s?

Honestly, I love to read biographies, so my favorite characters are those that the book is about. I really enjoyed reading Grace Slick’s autobiography, Somebody to Love?, and I’d say she is my favorite character.

Almost every writer is inspired by someone or something else. What inspirations have you found? Where do you get your ideas?

My inspirations have always been through either reading my favorite authors’ work or through music. Sometimes I will hear a beat that triggers a stanza or read a word/phrase that inspires me to write. Most of my ideas are random, but sometimes they are influenced by the life I live.

In composing a story, which do you think of first: the plot or the characters? — The plot.

What do you consider the strangest thing you’ve ever written?

The strangest thing I’ve ever written was a short story of a girl that is raped in the snow. The story is separated by paragraphs that represent what the girl is thinking and then switches to the rapist’s thoughts. I was inspired by the story of The Rape of Lucretia at the time.

What do you consider the most revealing thing you’ve ever written?

The most revealing thing I’ve ever written was my poem, Alistair’s Prayer, because I expose my inner most feelings for my muse at the time... Alistair.

Most writers have a particular audience in mind, although it may change from one work to the next. Who are your audiences? For whom do you write?

My work tends to be on the dark side, so I’d say that horror, mystery, or gothic readers tend to like my work. Although, some of my work appears political, so that is a different audience from my norm.

What would you like readers to learn or gain from what you write? — Gothic literature is not dead!

Where do you write? — Everywhere... I carry a notebook wherever I go.

When do you write: at set times or as the mood moves you? — Mood has to move me... I don’t force myself to write unless I have work to review.

Some writers say they have to write a certain amount every day. Do you do set a quota? — No... like I said, I don’t think it is healthy to force yourself to write, because then it becomes work rather than art.

Do you ever have a problem with writer’s block? If so, can you offer other writers tips on how to deal with it?

Writer’s block is always common in every writer. The only thing I can recommend is to just walk away from your work and try to clear your mind.

Do you use the Internet or the library to check facts? — Yes.

Does anyone else proofread or critique your work?

Sometimes, but I should follow my own advice and find proofreaders to read my work before submitting it to potential publishers.

Some authors have said that their parents were supportive of their efforts when young, and some have said they had to sneak around and hide. What was the case with you?

I grew up with strict Catholics as parents, so I felt my dark writing really wouldn’t fit their idea of a “good read.” I told my parents about my work, but I don’t think I actually have heard a critique from them.

Copyright © 2016 by Andrea Laws
and Don Webb for Bewildering Stories

Proceed to Challenge 671...

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