Laura Misco’s story “Exorcising Mike” appears in Midwestern Gothic Issue 22, out now.
What’s your connection to the Midwest, and how has the region influenced your writing?
I’ve lived in the Midwest for most of my life — in its rural areas, villages, college towns, and large cities. The different fabrics of those places — the culture, customs, landscape, weather, food, people — have informed the way I view everything.
What do you think is the most compelling aspect of the Midwest?
The Midwestern Sensibility: resilient, fun-loving, diligent, fair-minded, true.
How do your experiences or memories of specific places—such as where you grew up, or a place you’ve visited that you can’t get out of your head—play a role in your writing?
As a reader, I love nothing more than to be transported by setting — understanding characters and plot as filtered through place really resonates with me. I keep that in mind when crafting my own backdrops, especially when they’re connected in some way to an actual location or experience. Borrowing the most authentic, singular details matters most.
Discuss your writing process — inspirations, ideal environments, how you deal with writer’s block.
My ideal writing environment is in the dead middle of night, but that doesn’t tend to jive with normal life. Like most, I think, I have to fight for the time. As for writer’s block, the notion of it became a convenient cover for procrastination, so I decided many years ago that it didn’t exist. I’m writing or I’m not, and either way I have to live with it.
How can you tell when a piece of writing is finished?
When I’ve exhausted all opportunities to tinker, it’s done. The goal is to stop messing with a piece before I strangle it to death.
Who is your favorite author (fiction writer or poet), and what draws you to their work?
I love a million writers and don’t have a favorite. For the authority, economy, imagery, and subtle humor, Rebecca Lee’s recent collection Bobcat is about as perfect as one can get.
What’s next for you?
I’m at work on a novel about a Goth teen looking for a do-over.
Where can we find more information about you?
At Foundation in Riverwest.