Kristin is a graduate of the
Kristin, tell us more about “Lincoln, YouTube and History Reconsidered” that you have published in the “Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln” anthology.
Kristin: When I wrote the essay in the fall of 2008,
What if we’d had MSNBC, Fox News, YouTube, Politico, Huffington Post, Rush Limbaugh, Air
Katie: You’ve written both short fiction and poetry. Which do you like writing better? Why?
Kristin: Great question. I like writing poetry in those moods when I just need to capture an image or tell a brief story. For example, when I returned last year from a month-long trip to
I prefer writing short stories to poetry when I have something that can’t be contained in a single image or group of images. I also prefer writing short stories when I need character and dialogue. I wrote one about two sisters who meet after death and observe their children. It would be impossible to put that even in a long poem, and I have yet to write an epic poem.
Katie: Tell us how you became aware of the “Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln” anthology and why did you decide to enter?
Kristin: I joined the National League of American Pen Women in 2000, and in 2008 the organization’s national magazine, THE PEN WOMAN, put out a call for entries for “Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln”. I originally wanted to write a feature-length screenplay, but my idea didn’t excite me. Anna Di Bella, our tireless editor, gave me a gentle e-mail prod, so I wrote my essay and composed a children’s play about how the women in Lincoln’s life—sister, mother, stepmother, wife—viewed him. To have both my pieces accepted for the anthology was a great feeling.
Katie: What kind of research did you have to do for “Lincoln, YouTube and History Reconsidered”? Is it considered a non-fiction story?
Kristin: I am a research hound, and writing this creative non-fiction speculative piece exposed me to a broader range of thought about
One of my favorite sources was “Wild Women in the White House” by Autumn Stephens, which revealed the horrendous things the 19th century press and prominent figures said about Mary Todd Lincoln and her clothes. I was also amused, but hardly surprised, that at the time I wrote the essay, although the keywords “Abraham Lincoln” generated more search results than the 2008 candidates,
Katie: It seems that authors seem to like either short works, like articles, or writing longer works, like novels. Since you write both poetry and short articles/stories, has that been your experience?
Kristin: I write longer works these days – screenplays, nonfiction books, novels. I heard author Jace Epple speak on Crossroads Paranormal Radio (www.cprshow.com). He said that he prefers writing short stories because in our short-attention-span culture, people often don’t have the time to read long novels (or nonfiction books for that matter) and they can read short stories much more easily—he estimated you can read each story in about ten to fifteen minutes. I read a couple of his sample stories, and he accomplishes more in that brief time than some novels I’ve read.
I can definitely see Jace’s point. Because writing screenplays and long works is such a marathon, writing short stories and poems, although intensive, definitely has some appeal for me. I like completing short stories and poems. A short story is often just as challenging as a novel, because it forces you to pare your story down to the essence of plot, character, theme and conflict. Likewise, with an essay you have to make your point concisely. I did that with the
Katie: What inspires you to write poetry?
Kristin: I’ve written poetry since childhood, and at one point ran a business writing personalized poems, PoemsForYou.com. The poem, “Waiting for Brahma,” that got published in “The Pen Woman” came out of one of those moments when you’re meditating and you feel the impatience of daily life just overtake you. Then out of that churning of mind, you feel the impulse towards inner peace.
I’ve been inspired by sea turtles and humpback whales that I see near my home in
Katie: Do you plan on submitting more works to anthologies? Why or why not?
Kristin: Yes, I’ll submit if I see an opportunity to submit to something that challenges me to write something new, or an anthology that might give a home to one of the pieces clamoring for attention on my hard drive. However, that’s not a huge focus right now since I’ve got several client projects in the works. It’s been my experience that shorter pieces actually take as much energy, and sometimes more, than screenplays or novels.
Katie: What three pieces of advice would you give an author who is interested in writing for anthologies?
Kristin: I’ve had works published in several anthologies, including “Aleatory’s Junction” and “The Carpathian Shadows Volume II”. As with “Happy Birthday Mr. Lincoln,” I was blessed with a great editor. First piece of advice: Get to know your anthology editor and be open to whatever changes they suggest. They usually have standards for tone, style, and so forth.
Second piece of advice: Don’t wear yourself out submitting to every anthology on the planet. Find anthologies in your genre, whether it’s American history, Cup of Comfort-style reflections, or Southern gothic horror.
Third piece of advice: Don’t be afraid to promote your anthology. You never know what opportunities might come if the right person reads the anthology. It helps if you network with people in the anthology—you can help each other. Sylvia Wright of www.TheWrightScoop.com is one of the talented authors featured in “Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln,” and she’s a marketing and PR dynamo. On both “Aleatory’s Junction” and “Carpathian Shadows,” all the authors worked together across the Internet, and the synergy was perfect.
Katie: Thanks, Kristen, for being on my blog today.