Contributor Spotlight: Sacha Siskonen

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How long have you been writing?
I started writing rom-com screenplays in grade school. Not sure why I stopped. I’d probably be doing better financially now if I’d kept at it.

What’s your connection to the Midwest?
I moved to Chicago in 2009. Prior to that I had only read about the Middle West in books.

How has the Midwest influenced your writing?
I have a very contentious relationship with the Midwest, particularly the weather, which often seems to be taunting me personally. I came here from Northern Arizona where the weather, even at its worst, is always rather pleasant. I’ve had some trouble acclimating to the Midwest’s lack of sunlight and excessive humidity. But I stay in-doors more now and consequently get more writing done, so I suppose overall the Midwest has had a positive influence on my writing.

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?
Being relatively new to the area, I don’t really know. Chicago is certainly a lively place full of writers doing interesting work. There are tons of readings, book and magazine releases, and small press events here every week, far more than I can keep up with. People might not be calling it regional literature, but it’s happening with or without the title.

How do you feel about social media to promote your writing, and do you use it?
Like anything social media has its faults, but I really enjoy using it to engage with the writing community. I follow a lot of writers and literary magazines on Twitter and love reading their links to stories and poems and posts about writing. It’s a handy way to stay connected. I tweet and blog and like to read other people’s blogs.

Favorite book?
I just read Karen Russell’s Vampires in the Lemon Grove and loved it. My favorite book ever changes weekly, but this week I’ll say it’s Karen Tei Yamashita’s Tropic of Orange. I’m only reading books by people named Karen right now.

Favorite food?
I’m quite committed to Thai food. Green curry in particular.

If you could have coffee (or tea or a beer) with any literary figure, alive or dead, who would it be?
I think tea with Virginia Woolf would be quite satisfying. She seems funny and dark and was probably an excellent conversationalist. Or maybe she was reserved and we’d just sit there sipping tea, trying not to make eye contact, discussing the weather in awkward bursts, but that would be fun too.

Where can we find more information about you?
I blog at The Saskatchewan Review and you can follow me on Twitter, @SachaSiskonen, where I sporadically tweet inane 140-character messages and occasionally re-tweet interesting links.

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