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?
Beth S K Morris , une femme d’un certain age…
Fiona: Where are you from?
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Last degree was a Ph.D in Speech and Hearing Science., spent my working life in Speech Clinics and college teaching. Also as a corporate consultant in Speech Improvement and Communication Skills training. I’m a wife, mother of 3 sons, grandmother of seven.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’m currently working on my third book of poetry based on my experience as a volunteer at Ground Zero in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. The chapbook version of the book (“The Pile”) is in circulation with various chapbook contests; the full ms. is in progress (“In the Aftermath”) and I hope to get it in some publisher’s hands by year’s end. In the meantime, my last book, “Nowhere to be Found,” is still available to readers. It got excellent reviews.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
When I was given my first typewriter around age 7/8.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Still a work in progress. I guess when I win a McArthur grant or a Pulitzer. (Ha! Ha1)
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
We were in S. Florida for 10 years before returning to NY. I guess it was an attempt to adjust. It was a poetry chapbook called, “In Florida,” published in 2010. Of course, my Ph.D dissertation and articles in academic journals appeared in the 1980’s and 90’s.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It was my life at the time.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
No, my poetry ranges from formal poems (sonnets, haiku) to hybrid poetry which I’ve come to explore very recently. One of my hybrids, “Dichotomy,” will appear ths May in PANK. You can find it on line.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
All of it.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Yes and No. Sometimes an email, a news article, a movie, a piece of music inspires me. Travel, too. One of my 9/11 poems is based on a trip to Glacier Bay, Alaska.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
For the last two books, I did. I used my own photgraphs.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Memory must be preserved.
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?
In the poetry area: Marie Howe, Tom Sleigh. Anthony Doerr (“The Light we Cannot See”), and I read Daniel Silva’s books for distraction. My all-time favorites in poetry- Emily Dickinson, Donald Hall, W.H.Auden, Cavafy, and, of course, William Shakespeare. I return to his sonnets all the time. He keeps me humble.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
The Hudson Valley Writers Center in Sleepy Hollow, NY. I’m a member and a student there
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, but keep your day job.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’ll wait for the editor/s to let me know.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes. the effects of a traumatic event never leave you.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
No. There are enough 9/11 videos and movies out. But, I am working on getting a composer to make a chorale out of one of my poems- “Ode to the Survivors Staircase.” Know anyone?
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Don’t tear it up.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
My poems are universal and “accessible.” As one of the reviewers of “Nowhere to be Found” stated- “In these intelligent, finely-crafted, vivid and deeply moving poems, Beth Morris casts an unflinching eye upon the real world…”
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Believe it or not, “A Pictoral History of the Civil War.” I’m fascinated by this period of American history.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
It wasn’t a real book. It was a “Gilbert and Sullivan Songbook.” My mother gave it to me as my first bedtime story. She used to put fake tears on my eyes when she sang, “Tit Willow,” and I can still sing all the verses to “A Modern Major General!”
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Playing silly games with my grandchldren. As for tears, the latest sobbing binge happened on the last episode of season one of “Unforgotten;” the BBC tv crime story about the young boy whose bones were found buried in the basement of an apt. house.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
William Skakespeare. No need to ask why.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Long treks in the woods; bird and tree-watching. Playing Scrabble. Listening/going to the opera.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Anything the BBC produces. I’m even addicted to the late night radio broadcasts. The cricket scores put me to sleep.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Everything except baked beans and chili peppers; fav. color is aquamarine; all music, even some rap musicians (early Iced Tea).
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Taking my grandchildren to all the places I’ve lived.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, poet- she tried.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Yes. www.bethsabard.info will keep you up to date on all my comings and goings. I also have a Linkedin account and you can always email me directly at email@example.com. If you email me, I can send you copies of “Nowhere to be Found” at a discount without shipping charges! and let you know when “The Pile” or “In the Aftermath” are due for publication. Great talking to all of you.
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