Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
LA: Hi, I’m Linda D. Addison, 65 years old and I write weird stuff.
Fiona: Where are you from?
LA: I grew up in Philly, the oldest of seven brothers and a sister.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
LA: I graduated from Germantown High School and then Carnegie-Mellon University with a BS in Mathematics. I moved to New York City in 1975 with my first husband, Kenneth Addison where we both worked in the record business for a while (accounting, production). Then we both decided to go back to school for computer programming and switched careers. Our son, Brian Addison, was born and grew up in Greenwich Village.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
LA: 2018 started off with a bang when the Horror Writer’s Association (HWA) gave me their Lifetime Achievement Award. It was a wonderful surprise. It didn’t feel real at first because I’m always looking forward at some new work I want to do. This kind of award looks back over the work that has been done. In any case, it’s an unbelievable honor and I use it to remind me of the work I have left to do!
The other exciting thing was that Sycorax’s Daughters, a horror anthology of fiction & poetry by African-American women edited bymyself, Kinitra Brooks PhD, and Susana Morris PhD(Cedar Grove Publishing) become a HWA Bram Stoker finalist.
Also, March 2018 a book was released with a poem of mine in it. Cosmic Underground: A Grimoire of Black Speculative Discontent (Cedar Grove Publishing) which showcases illustrations, graphic design, literature, posters, and mixed-media digital and analog artworks along with insightful analysis by brilliant scholars and amazingly talented creatives. I’m honored to be part of this magnificent book.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
LA: I was (and still am) a day dreamer. When I was younger I always imagined things slightly different from others, cats with wings, dogs that talk. When I held my first book I knew I wanted to make such things even though I had no idea what was involved. My mother was a natural storyteller, so I started making up fantasies to tell my brothers and sister at an early age.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
LA: I thought of myself as a writer even before I was published professionally. The first thing I actually wrote, I think, was in elementary school, it was predictably a re-telling of Alice in Wonderland on the backs of discarded forms because my family couldn’t afford a notebook for me to write in that wasn’t for school. Reading about other well-known authors and their process made me realize that my imagination ran along the same lines. Of course, getting my first poems published in 1994 in Just Write Magazine was a great confirmation!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
LA: After reading so many books I began to daydream about having my own book. My first book was called Animated Objects and was a collection of sf, fantasy, horror poetry & short stories with an introduction by Barry N. Malzberg, published by Space & Time in 1997. It was the best of all the work I had done up to that point, some of which I had published in other magazines prior to 1997, including a dream come true: my first poem from Asimov’s SF Magazine.
Getting an introduction by Barry Malzberg meant everything to me because I read so much of his work in college. The opportunity to ask him to read my book came from an interview I did of him for Pirate Writings Magazine. I totally expected him to say No, but he said Yes!
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
LA: The title came from the opening poem which begins:
We are neither wooden chairs
nor neon-lit apples
nor raven tipped dream snakes…
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
LA: I’ve written horror, science-fiction, fantasy so there’s not just one corner I’ve played in. I’ve been told my fiction has different voices, and I love to try different forms of poetry. I use the voice needed by a story/poem which is more invigorating than challenging for me. It would be more challenging if I forced myself to write in the same voice over and over again.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
LA: I have said for the record, everything is fiction, but there’s no way to not have imagination grow in the fertile ground of real life.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
LA: When I start a new book I don’t plan to travel in particular. Last year I did something different while working on my new SF story collection and added days to travel I did for writing conferences so I could just work on my new book, as well as spending about a month at a friend’s home in NM and with a friend traveling in her RV.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
LA: I love all my cover art. Animated Objects was done by my son, Brian J. Addison &Majarc Anderson;Consumed, Reduced to Beautiful Grey Ashes by Colleen Crary; Being Full of Light, Insubstantial by Brian J. Addison; How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend by Jill Bauman. Books I’m in with others: Dark Duet by Kiri Moth; Four Elements by Daniele Serra; Sycorax’s Daughters by Jim Callahan.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
LA: I rarely start writing with a message, but in looking back at my poetry and fiction the one thing that comes up is that I don’t believe in victims are completely powerless.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
LA: The first book of VictorLaValle’s that I just finished is The Changeling and besides completely enjoying it as a reader I’m going back through it to look at his technique because I was so impressed with how his writing was smooth and emotional at the same time. I couldn’t begin to say who my favorite writer is, there are so many that inspire my poetry and fiction.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
LA: When I approached Gordon Linzner, owner of Space & Time Books, about doing, Animated Objects, my first collection of poetry and fiction he suggested that I get some of the pieces published in magazines first and then talk to him again. This sent me on a search of markets, which taught me a lot about submitting and finding appropriate publications. Between 1994 and 1997 I published thirteen poems and three stories in magazines and then went back to Gordon and he agreed to do my first collection.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
LA: I’ve always seen myself as a professional writer, even when I had a day job in software development. Fortunately I left the day job in 2014 and have been concentrating on writing full-time.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
LA: I don’t look back at books released for changes because you can always find something to adjust. I think more about my next project.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
LA: I always learn something different with each book. Even though it’s not in print yet the SF linked short story collection I worked on last year and finishing now was a huge evolution for me. The stories came to me like poetry usually does, without pre-planning, unwinding as I wrote them.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
LA: The SF linked collection opens with a story,When We Dream Together, that was published in Genesis: An Anthology of Black Science Fiction (Graves Sheffield Publishing) and introduces the future Earth to the reader and the main character, Ray, who shows up in more than one story after the beginning. I would love to see Ray played by Anthony Mackie (who played Martin Luther King Jr. in All the Way and Falcon in Marvel’s Avengers series).
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
LA: The biggest thing is to finish what you start, allowing your first draft to be as messy as needed to get to the end, then use re-writing to shape your work into the best it can be.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
LA: Thank you!!!! What more could I say? I have infinite gratitude for anyone taking precious time from their life to read my work!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
LA: I don’t have as much time to read as I want. I’m reading four books at the same time:
-Spent Saints by Brian Jabas Smith: I’m loving how easy the fiction is to read, even though I’m often stopped by observations made by Smith’s characters of life, making me think.
-F4 by Larissa Glasser: labeled Bizarro Ficton. I’m so loving the strange SF edge, engaging characters, and highly imaginative words=interwebz, hyper-cranes, etc.
-Destroyer by Victor LaValle: I swoon for this graphic novel. LaValle’s The Changeling was fantastic storytelling which he continues in this book!
-Cosmic Underground, edited by Reynaldo Anderson & John Jennings: I have a piece in this wonderful visual book. I’m taking my time reading through it—it’s very inspiring.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
LA: The first book I remember was Fun with Dick and Jane when I went to school. The only book I remember in my house was this huge dictionary, big enough to sit on, with sections on maps of the world, etc. I loved randomly turning to a page and learning new words.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
LA: Joking around with friends, my son, playing with children/babies make me laugh; and comedians like Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle.
Tears come from lives taken or abused by others in acts of violence, especially when the victim is a child. I also tear up very easily at emotional moments in movies and books, for either sad or happy moments.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
LA: I’d love to have met Maya Angelou in person. Her writing is a huge source of inspiration for me, always have been. It would be amazing to talk to her about what the process of writing was for her and how it might have changed over time.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
LA: I meditate every day and do a short tai chi form. Usually after my meditation I write the Life Poems I post on Twitter (which feeds them to FaceBook). I find coloring with gel pens very relaxing. I love scrapbooking and have been thinking about creating some art pieces with my poetry.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
LA: I got rid of Cable last year so now when I’m writing if I don’t have music on I put on movies (mostly SF, weird) that I know well enough to mute the sound (The Matrix series, Star Wars, David Lynch movies, like that). I’ll binge watch series like Stranger Things, Lost in Space. I’m uplifted by the human stories in TV shows like The Voice, America’s Got Talent. Documentaries about other creative people: A Ballerina’s Tale (Misty Copeland), What Happened, Miss Simone? (Nina Simone), etc.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
LA: I love trying new food, when I eat out I usually pick something I’ve never had. My comfort foods are: pizza, chocolate chip/macadamia nut cookies, Philly Cheese Steaks (when in Philly), cheese burgers & sweet potato fries, chips/salsa, nachos…it’s a long list. Favorite colors: purple & turquoise, music (I like to listen to music without vocals when writing: Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett & newly discovered music by Stu Jenks (http://www.stujenks.org/ & Tokio Myers (http://www.tokiomyers.com/)).
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
LA: Well, this is really hard since I have been making up stories since my first memory. I think a teacher, I love the energy of children—they are the fertile ground the future is made of…
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
LA: “Choose Love, not fear.”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
LA: My site is being redesigned (www.lindaaddisonpoet.com), where you can still see the events I’ll be at this year, latest news (like receiving the HWA Lifetime Achievement Award) and links interviews, videos, etc.
My Amazon Authors page: https://www.amazon.com/Linda-D.-Addison/e/B001KCT6L6/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1524623317&sr=1-2-ent
Links to all my books are on my website: www.lindaaddisonpoet.com
The link to my latest:
HOW TO RECOGNIZE A DEMON HAS BECOME YOUR FRIEND
A collection of horror and science-fiction short stories and poetry; received a HWA Bram Stoker Awards(R).
SYCORAX’S DAUGHTERS, edited by myself, Kinitra Brooks PhD, and Susana Morris PhD. Cover artwork by Jim Callahan (publisher Cedar Grove Publishing). A horror anthology of fiction & poetry by African-American women (some new, some known). A HWA Bram Stoker Award finalist.
LA: Thank you, Fiona, for interviewing me.