How did you land your job as a writer?
It landed on me. I was discovered on facebook by a literary agent from Los Angeles who is a well known poet on the national scene. He asked me to come on his radio show, and then became my agent shortly thereafter. I had never put out so much as a chapbook when I was offered my first book deal. I had been promoting myself as a poet and had been vigorously blogging for about a year. My work had been published in several e-zines and journals previously. I had contributed human interest stories and photo essays to funeral service trade publications during my prior years as a mortician. Becoming an author came upon me as the fairy godmother came upon Cinderella.
What education do you have?
Two unrelated degrees. Biology and Mortuary Science.
How long have you been writing?
Since the 7th grade.
What steps did you follow in your profession leading up to being a writer?
I read everything I can get my hands on. Always have, always will. A writer must be an avid reader.
What kinds of tasks do you do on a typical day or in a typical week?
I paint, write, dance to music, walk my dog, love my children, teach preschoolers how to read, and drink fuck tons of bourbon.
What types of tasks do you spend most of your time doing?
What do you like best about writing?
The purge. The demons leaving. The love swelling. The act of paying homage to the everyday.
What excites you most about being a writer?
Leaving my mind behind for my children.
What are some of the more difficult or frustrating parts of writing?
Most writers are assholes and most presses are charlatans misrepresenting themselves as publishers.
How does writing affect your lifestyle?
I may have mentioned this before, but I drink a lot of bourbon. This too may be blamed on being Southern.
What characteristics does an author need to have?
Be willing to write what they know. Have the balls to not hide their true feelings and words. To not drape themselves in academic snobbery, euphemisms, or cliché. Be willing to write like they have no mother. Be willing to never apply any other rules.
Do you usually work independently or as part of a team?
Writers are solitary creatures. We should always be kept in separate cages unless writing for Aaron Sorkin.
What types of decisions do you make?
To bleed, daily.
What advice can you give to a burgeoning writer?
Write. Write. Write. Don’t be a pussy.
What type of entry-level job offers the most learning opportunities?
Being a drunk. Being a waiter. Being an actor. Being a parent. Being a teacher. Being a collections agent. Being a telemarketer. Being a jizzmacher. Being a stripper. Being a crack whore. Being a stripper crack whore. Being a stripper crack whore paying her way through school. Being a mortician. Being Catholic. Being an atheist. Being human. Being American. Being alive. Being willing to die from writing.