This week, Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to interview poet and supporter of the arts community, as well as host of Worcester Storytellers, Kristina England. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Worcester County Poetry Association and as an assistant editor for the Ballard Street Poetry Journal. Kristina also hosts a quarterly poetry prompt workshop at the Worcester Art Museum called “Poets take over the WAM.” In her spare time, she also keeps a blog on her own writing process at kristinaengland.blogspot.com and, you know, works for a living.
Thank you for joining us, Kristina!
Can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you?
I’ve been writing since I was old enough to use a pen. My family was extremely supportive of creativity and provided continuous support throughout my childhood. I like to dabble in various forms of writing, including poetry, short stories, technical writing, and marketing.
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from your work?
I’m extremely versatile now a days. Two years ago, I only wrote poetry and I probably would have pegged it as sharp and edgy. I recently returned to fiction in February 2013 after a 10 year break. My fiction varies from literary fiction to absurd comedies to suspense. It depends on my mood. My poems have also been a mixed bag with both free verse and form, light-hearted and bold.
What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out Stanley Stanley Investigative Series? How did you overcome that challenge?
I didn’t want to make the Stanley Stanley Investigative Series only a collection of detective stories. I wanted to throw in other mysteries that didn’t involve a pair of private eyes. Once I had the other stories, the hardest part was actually telling myself I was done with the book. I was still writing stories with Brady and Caldwell (the detectives) but I knew I had a deadline to meet and that I could always publish additional stories later.
What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?
I think what draws me to the detective series is just the desire to entertain. Brady and Caldwell are harmless. They are characters the whole family can sit down and read. I don’t see a lot of that anymore. I grew up reading Nancy Drew books from my mom’s childhood collection. I never hear kids mention Nancy Drew anymore. I want to bring back the quirky private eyes without the violence and scandal. Of course, that’s not to say I don’t write scandalous pieces. I’ve written quite a few that cause an eyebrow raise or two.
What question do you wish interviewers would ask you, and what would the answer be?
How hard is it to pick up a pen and write? That’s the question every interviewer should ask. There are some days where you just don’t want to write but you know you need to write just for the practice of it. Even if nothing good comes out of the fifteen minutes spent with the pen, its fifteen minutes spent exercising your mind. I go through lots and lots of rough spells, not dry spells, rough spells. I write stuff that would make your mind dribble, but I write it to get to the good stuff. And, sometimes, the bad stuff turns into good stuff. There’s also the revision piece – the most famous of writers revised their work over and over again. What you see on the page wasn’t their first go of it. Writing requires practice, practice, practice. Dedicate yourself to it. Writing is work. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s a hobby. The only way to succeed is through blood, sweat, and a whole lot of tears. But, I promise, the scars you’ll get are worth it.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
I’m working on a collection of short stories around an 80-year-old robot named Vernon. Vernon’s stories have been slow going over the last year. They are both fun and philosophical. I’m hoping he’ll find a home with a publisher in 2015. He’s a bit cranky, but lovable, so frankly, he’s bound to find a home.
Where can people find your work? (Besides ABSW ;)–though they should totally check here first!)
My short stories can be found at various online literary magazines, including Linguistic Erosion, The Story Shack, and The Short Humour Site. My poetry is up at various online magazines, including my recent poems focused current news events at The New Verse News.
My first collection of short stories, Stanley Stanley’s Investigative Services and Other Mysteries, is forthcoming from the Poet’s Haven Author Series. The Stanley Stanley stories follow a couple of detectives named Caldwell and Brady as they unravel crimes in a humorous and dry kind of way. A few of their stories can be found at The Story Shack.
How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?
You can follow my twitter account @KristinaEngland or follow my blog at www.kristinaengland.blogspot.com.
Thank you, again, Kristina, for stopping by the ABSW blog and for all the work you do with Worcester Storytellers!