Friday, May 28, 2010

Fresh Voices: Interview with Bethany Harper

"we do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit." - E.E. Cummings

Welcome to the latest edition of Fresh Voices. We are delighted to share with you the winsome yet spooky voice of Bethany Harper.
1. What is your ultimate writing goal?

I want to be able to walk into Barnes & Noble/Hastings/Borders/Whatever and be able to buy my own book.

2. Why do you write?

I write because it's fun. I enjoy watching words spill across the screen, the sounds of keys clicking. I like the way pen feels when it meets paper. I love the chunking sound of a typewriter. The part I love the most is leaving Oklahoma, leaving my living room (or my
bedroom or school or wherever my body happens to be) and going somewhere else.

3. Your writing style is sweetly gothic. It reminds me of whispering in the dark with my sister, or making up ghost stories with my friends. Have you worked to achieve that voice or is it just a natural style for you?

I have never really worked on a specific voice as much as I've worked on being consistent and clear. The work published on my blog (so far) has been stuff I've done quickly, with no editing, so it's probably as close to my natural voice as you can get.

4. Who are your favorite authors and why do you like them?

I love Stephen King. I find the characters he writes fascinating, and I love how all of his books seem to exist in the same universe-characters mentioned in one off that were the stars of other stories. I also owe him a debt of companionship, as I do to everyone I read.

5. What most attracts you to the life of a writer?

One of my many crafts is crochet. I've been doing it as long as I've been writing. I've never been sophisticated with my crochet, but building something stitch by stitch, row by row, and having something completed and recognizable at the end is wonderfully satisfying.

I feel the same way about writing. Sentences start with letters and words, stringing the sentences together makes paragraphs. Before you know it you've gone through a gallon of tea and there's this story. It needs some work (doesn't it always?), but the shape is there, the form.

It's the difference between buying a handmade blanket and making the blanket. Some people love handmade blankets, love the way they feel, but don't possess the talent (or the drive to learn the talent) to make them. Some people see a handmade blanket and want to do it. I'm the latter.

6. If you couldn't be a writer but knew you were guaranteed success at a different career, what would you choose?

I crochet and sew as well, and doing that (one or the other) for a living would be nifty.

7. If you had to describe your writing in one word, what would that word be?


8. What's the best writing advice you've ever gotten?

Stephen King's On Writing became something of a Bible of Writing to me, and there's a quote in there about criticism that I try to keep to heart. "If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that's all." It's especially worth remembering in the age of the Internet, where the trolls breed and lurk. They will deliberately be cruel, and they will hurt you. Write anyway.

Bethany Harper is short, has pink hair, lives in Oklahoma, and has a house full of animals-- 3 cats, 2 dogs, 3 gerbils. She's been voted 'most likely to turn into a crazy cat lady' at work. She crochets, sews, writes, program, games, reads, and spends the rest of her time working, going to school, or sleeping. You can find her online at Twitter (@MartianBethany) or on her blog.
Thank you for reading this edition of Fresh Voices. Feel free to follow the Fresh Voices list on Twitter or nominate yourself or another author as a Fresh Voice.

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