How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing stories and making little chapbooks since I was very young, but I began studying Creative Writing in high school. I attended the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati, Ohio, and it is now the nation’s only K-12 school of the arts. I have to credit Sara Berry, my junior and senior English teacher, who taught me how to write essays. It was only when I discovered that I had something to say about the literature I’d read, and it was only after I learned how to clearly define my thoughts on paper, that I realized I might also be able to pursue the study of creative writing. This was in the ‘90s, and I finally made up my mind to leave my Jazz Theory major behind and switch to Creative Writing in ’98. I then went to the University of Redlands and declared Creative Writing as my major there, and two years later when I transferred to the University of Cincinnati, I declared English as my major but also earned a Creative Writing certificate in 2006. In 2008, I earned an MA in fiction from the University of Cincinnati as well.
What’s your connection to the Midwest?
I grew up in northern Ohio and then spent over a decade in Cincinnati. I’m a Midwesterner at heart. I think this means I’m friendly, I trust people, and I’ll never think I’m as cool as people from the east or west coast.
How has the Midwest influenced your writing?
I would say that having been educated in the Midwest, my academic experiences are very much informed by the teachers I learned from and studied under. I am very grateful to the education I received in Ohio, and I am very grateful to Sara Berry at SCPA, and UC professors Michael Griffith, Maria Romagnoli, Beth Ash, and former-UC professor Brock Clarke—all of whom taught me so much about how to read and write.
Why do you believe there has never really been a regionalist push for Midwestern writing in the past like there has with the South or even the West Coast?
I don’t know.
How do you feel about social media to promote your writing, and do you use it?
I’m as guilty as the next person of posting a new publication or announcing writing-related news on Facebook. But social media is so much more than that. I blog, I leave comments on others’ blogs, I rely on Google Reader to tell me the latest, I check in on friends’ Tweets, I watch YouTube book trailers, I rate Amazon reviews as helpful or not helpful, I check out Goodreads every so often, I buy books on small press websites all the time, and so I would say that Social Media is not only an interesting phenomenon but a major part of how I interact with literature today. That said, I’m interested in learning more about these new media outlets in order to create a more viable literary environment for today’s readers.
Lydia Millet’s My Happy Life.
Ramen noodles. Korean.
If you could have coffee (or tea or a beer) with any literary figure, alive or dead, who would it be?
Where can we find more information about you?