Wednesday, November 16, 2011

On the Tenth Day of Tesseracts: A Conversation with Rebecca M. Senese and Michelle Barker

Welcome to the Tenth Day of Tesseracts! I cannot believe that ten days has gone by.  Just a quick note, in my original schedule found on the EDGE Facebook page, I had included Yukon's Claire Eamer.  However she is still travelling in Cuba and will not be back for a few days, so her interview will get tucked in later.  However, our two originally scheduled Tesseracts Fifteen: A Case of Unusual Tales authors, Rebecca M. Senese and Michelle Barker are joining us virtually.  So, without further ado, here is our conversation for Day Ten of the Sixteen Days of Tesseracts. - Janice from EDGE

Rebecca M. Senese

TT: What is your name?

Rebecca M. Senese:
Rebecca M. Senese

Michelle Barker:
Michelle Barker

TT:  Where in Canada are you currently located?

Rebecca M. Senese: Toronto, Ontario

Michelle Barker: Penticton, B. C.

TT:  What is the name of your story/poem in T15?

Rebecca M. Senese: "Hide"

Michelle Barker: A poem called, "You Always Knew."

Michelle Barker
TT: Could you please share a summary of your story without spoilers?
Rebecca M. Senese: A young girl makes it into the exclusive neighbourhood hide and seek game only to discover there's something to really hide from.

Michelle Barker: Death is envisioned as a character who owns a rickety roller coaster in an unnamed city...but you've been there.

TT: What is the first sentence of your story?

Rebecca M. Senese: "Billy skidded to a stop beside her."

Michelle Barker: "I’m going to tell you something/ about Death, / though you suspect it already."

TT: What do you love the most about this (or being in this) anthology?

Rebecca M. Senese: The thing I like most about the Tesseracts 15 anthology is being included among so many diverse and interesting stories and so many talented writers. It's exciting to see the different tacks taken and worlds created, pushing the boundaries of YA fiction.

Michelle Barker: I love that it is a foray into YA literature, which I adore.

TT:  What is your main inspiration while working?

Rebecca M. Senese: My main inspiration is to always be writing. I have written every day for several years and track my word count. I give myself challenges to write a certain amount per day or per week or per month. I have a yearly goal that gets revised as I go. I always want to be writing, to be practicing. I think of it like being a musician. I need to practice the fundamentals daily. Some of my stories fizzle out and never get finished but it's practice. As long as I'm practicing and working to finish the majority of stories, I know I'm on the right track. Watching the word count add up and the finished stories pile up keeps me inspired and keeps me going.

Michelle Barker:  Wow, I get inspiration from so many different places. I would say, the novels/poetry I'm reading serve as my main inspiration, but sometimes ideas just come from out of the blue. I've written a lot of poems that have Death as their main character. I suppose it has become something of an obsession. But in this particular poem, I had the roller coaster at Vancouver's Playland in mind, a place I went to every year while growing up. I guess it is a potent memory - and memories definitely serve as inspiration as well.

TT: What is the best piece of writing advice you've discovered?
Rebecca M. Senese: The best writing advice I've ever discovered is to follow Heinlein's rules: You must write, you must finish what you write, refrain from rewriting except to editorial order, send what you write to markets and keep it out there. And always keep writing. Write the next story and the next and the next. I learn more from writing something new than from rewriting something endlessly. Basically, I work hard to get out of my own way and allow the story to come out in its own way. I find most stories know how they want to be told and it's my job to allow them to tell themselves.

Michelle Barker: Fiction is about people in trouble. That's one of them. But I also love Elmore Leonard's advice to writers: cut the parts that readers skip. Oh, and Stephen King's advice about adverbs: cut, cut, cut. And Stephen King one last time (his book, On Writing, is one of the best out there): be true to the story, not to what you're worried people might think of it.

TT: Thanks Rebecca  and Michelle for joining us for the Tenth Day of Tesseracts.

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