Interview – Holly Lyn Walrath – Glimmerglass Girl

Book Name and Description: Glimmerglass Girl

Glimmerglass Girlis about femininity and feminism, how we negotiate our past as women and our present, how we other ourselves into creatures and what we pass on. VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts calls this book “. . . an intersection between ethereal loftiness, humorous speculation, and poignant consideration . . . a collection of poetry and images that encourage readers to be more than they perceive themselves to be.”

Interview Questions:

What gave you the idea for Glimmerglass Girl?

The title of this book comes from the lead poem, “Espejitos,” (appears in Isacoustic: https://isacoustic.com/2018/04/14/person-holly-lyn-walrath-one-poem/) which refers to the Spanish name for the glass-winged butterfly and translates to “little mirrors.” When I started to research this butterfly, I discovered that although it appears to be delicate and fragile with transparent wings, it’s actually quite poisonous and capable of pulling up to 40 times its weight. I thought this was a fitting metaphor for womanhood because women are often expected to be fragile or more sensitive when, in fact, we are quite resilient. Butterflies also have a long tradition in folklore as being representative of the souls of the dead, so this mascot appealed to my love of dark things.

 What got you into writing in this genre?

I’ve written poetry since I was in high school. Poetry is my first love, and my friends can tell you that I will try to convert anyone I meet to the cult of the poetic. Poetry wraps all my favorite things about writing into a neat package: lyricism, imagery, voice, sound, rhythm, and concise word choice.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve worked at a jeans store, as a financial advisor, at an ice cream shop, at a print shop, as a receptionist, any number of odd jobs. About four years ago, I told myself I was going to commit to my writing. It just happened to happen at a time when my life was shifting and I was able to quit my job. I started freelancing and writing full-time. I don’t regret that decision at all, I just regret that it took me so long to get there.

What is the writing process like for you? What is your writing day like? What have been the biggest influences on your writing?

My writing routine changes all the time because my schedule as a freelance editor is constantly shifting. On a good writing day, I sit down to read on my patio and get some inspiration from books I love. Then I’ll write for an hour or so, sometimes working from prompts or just playing around. There are times where I write every day, but for the most part I have to take the time for my work. It’s not easy to juggle all the demands of the world. I also like to play with writing every day in NaPoWriMo and NaNoWriMo.

What is your favorite book (other than your own book, of course) and why? What book disappointed you and why?

One of my favorite books is The Lord of the Rings. When I was a little kid, my mom would read The Hobbitto me and do all the voices. In middle school I got obsessed and read the whole series, but I was so devastated when Gandalf “died”! Now when I look back on those books, I realize that they have shortcomings too. These days I’m reading more women’s voices and trying to widen my scope of reading experience. But I still have a soft spot for Gollum . . . my precious.

What piece of your own work are you most proud of?

One of my favorite stories that I’ve written is “The Joy of Baking,” which first appeared in Luna Station Quarterly and is available in audio version on my website. (http://www.hlwalrath.com/thejoyofbaking.html). I wrote this story for my spouse, who is a physical therapist in a cardiology unit at a children’s hospital. He deals with death, and in particular the death of children, on a daily basis. I like to bake and James will often help me out in the kitchen. One day, I was looking for a new story idea and he begged me to write a story about baking . . . which quickly evolved into a little tale that answers the question: What if purgatory came with free cake?

What are you doing next?

I’m working on several projects at once because I get bored easily. My ongoing project is a series of erasures of male canonical authors like Hemingway and Cormac McCarthy. I’m also working on a series of tiny poems, trying to compress my writing as much as possible. And of course, I’m always working on short stories in the science fiction and fantasy realm.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

I love the writing advice of Chuck Wendig, “You do you.” I think being yourself and advocating for the things you love is one of the best ways to approach writing. We all want to be successful, to get our names out there, but if you’re not doing what you love, what’s the point? Even though the things I write are often cross-genre and intersectional, combining art and words or realism and the fantastical, I don’t mind that these are considered “experimental.” I write what I love, what excites me, what feels true. That’s the best advice writers can follow, as corny as it sounds.

bio:

Holly Lyn Walrath’s poetry and short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Fireside Fiction, Luna Station Quarterly, Liminality, and elsewhere. Her chapbook of words and images, Glimmerglass Girl,will be published by Finishing Line Press in 2018. She holds a B.A. in English from The University of Texas and a Master’s in Creative Writing from the University of Denver. She is a freelance editor and host of The Weird Circular, an e-newsletter for writers containing submission calls and writing prompts.

Links:

Author’s Website: http://www.hlwalrath.com/

Author’s Twitter: http://twitter.com/hollylynwalrath

Author’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/holly__lyn/

Order Glimmerglass Girl: https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/glimmerglass-girl-by-holly-lyn-walrath/