Lee: To start things off, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself and your work as a writer.
Marge: Hi. I guess this is where I give you a bio. Here goes: I live in Ocala, Florida and serve on the HWA Board of Trustees. I have three Bram Stoker Awards, Rhysling Awards for Best Long and Best Short Fiction, the Elgin, Dwarf Stars and Strange Horizons Readers’ Award. My poems and stories have appeared in Clannad, Pedestal Magazine, Asimov’s, Silver Blade, Polu Texni, Bete Noire, New Myths, Daily Science Fiction. My stories also appear in anthologies such as Tales of the Lake 5, Chiral Mad 4, You, Human and The Beauty of Death, to name a few. I attend the ICFA annually as a guest poet/writer and I’m on the board of the Speculative Literary Foundation.
Lee: I’m familiar with your work published on The Ladies of Horror Flash Project. Can you tell us a little about the group?
Marge: LOVE, love it. Flash and poetry are my bag. I’m sure someone else you’re interviewing will mention how The LoH Flash Project works. I was so pleased to meet you at Grand Rapids Stokercon, Lee. Someday I hope to meet Nina and Erin too!
Lee: Do you have a specific method you follow when writing? What are some things you need on-hand when writing?
Marge: How about what I don’t need? Don’t want to be interrupted except by myself. Don’t want noise, music, no roaches, ants, etc. Truth be told, I don’t write novels, so I don’t need to prepare my work area. Sometimes I have some hand written notes but mostly, where I go with something on my back burner. I have two necessities: coffee, and at some point, popcorn.
Lee: What made you decide to become a writer? Was it something you always wanted to do?
Marge: I call it Marge’s Magnificent Adventure. One day I was walking through the woods with a basket of organic bread and tofu cheese for my Granny. A wolf jumped out at me and I screamed. I was wearing my Lucky Red Cape, and a woodsman who closely resembled a young Brad Pitt saw the flash of red and came to my rescue. After that, I decided to become a writer and finish an otherwise boring story. Seriously, this sort of question makes it sound like one suddenly realizes — while washing the dinner dishes or wiping the blood off the knife used for their latest kill — that they want to be a writer. You know you are, so you do.
Lee: What has been the toughest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?
Marge: I never. 😊 Oh, wait – growing up enough to critique my own stuff.
Lee: Do you plan your stories out? Or do you just write and let the words flow?
Marge: If given a prompt, for example, I might start by composing a poem or a short fiction. Sometimes I may make poem into flash or fiction into poem. If I were writing (as I rarely have) a 5-6k story, I would have a summary and loose plan of sections.
Lee: What do you like to read? Who are some of your favorite authors?
Marge: I like flash fictions or short stories about the weird and unexpected, off kilter –could be sf/h/f/speculative, but unconventional. The Good Reads discussion group, Literary Darkness, has afforded me a chance to sample a plethora of speculative authors I’d never known before such as Angela Carter, as well as authors I knew, such as Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. I also enjoyed the short stories of Flannery O’Conner and Sheridan LeFanu. Apart from Good Reads, contemporary short fiction writers such as Angela Yuriko Smith, Brian Evanson, and of course Bruce Boston. I was a fan of his stories as well as his poetry for years before we married. There are some writers on Ladies of Horror that I favor, but I better not name names.
Lee: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
Marge: Read. Paint or draw. Talk to my kindred. Mainly, have crazy or serious discussions with my amazing husband, Bruce Boston. Other: climb Mt. Everest, sail my schooner up to Martha’s Vineyard on weekends. Stuff like that.
Lee: What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a career as a writer?
Marge: Just about every interviewer asks this question. Without fail, I say READ, READ, READ. A writing professor told me that one of his students declared, “I’m a writer, not a reader.” And we know how far that person has to go, don’t we? 😊
Check out Marge Simon’s work on The Ladies of Horror Flash Project!
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