Tag: publisher

Featured Author/Editor: Christi Craig

On Sunday, October 29th the Broadway Theatre Center’s lobby will be filled with published Wisconsin authors before, during, and after performances of Renaissance Theaterworks’ production of SEX WITH STRANGERS. The authors appearing from 1:00pm to 5:00pm on Sunday are: Cari Taylor-Carson, Christi Craig, Kathy Lanzarotti, Mel Miskimen, Pam Parker, Lisa Rivero, and Kim Suhr. They represent memoir, non-fiction, humor, and short stories.

As an advance introduction to the authors, Renaissance (RTW) asked them questions related to their writing and some of the conflicts presented in the play SEX WITH STRANGERS by Laura Eason.

Christi Craig

RTW: What inspired you to write? 

CHRISTI: I admit, jealousy inspired me in the beginning. Upset that a friend of mine had the money, the time, and a nanny to quit work for a year and pursue her writing, I complained to another friend, over and over, about the unfairness of it all. Finally, that friend sighed and said, “Why don’t you just start writing.”

Oh. Okay. Sometimes starting is the hardest part.

Now, I’m inspired by people, places, and things. By my grandmother, who raised nine children on a Depression budget in a small Texas town. By old empty buildings and cemeteries. By lines of poetry, like this from Patrick Phillips’ “Elegy for a Broken Machine:”

even the silence, / if you listened, / meant something.

In one of my favorite books, Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert says:

[C]reativity is the hallmark of our species. We have the sense for it; we have the curiosity for it…we have the language and the excitement and the innate connection to the divinity for it. If you’re alive, you’re a creative person.

We are creatures who seek out story, because we are creatures built on story; they settle in and around us all the time. If you’re paying attention, inspiration is everywhere.

 

RTW: How important is it to you that your friends, your partner, your family members read and like your writing?

CHRISTI: Majorly! Except…. While I want my friends, my sisters, my husband to read and love my work, looking for affirmation of this kind from those in my immediate circles can be dangerous. So often, we want people closest to us to be our biggest fans. And they are in many ways. But when we hand them our work to read, the response we get isn’t usually the response we want.

People who know me personally, or intimately, have certain expectations based on the “me” they see every day (not the characters in my fiction). A friend at work once told me that I have a great sense of humor. Then, she read a short story of mine about a young woman who dressed bodies in a funeral home. She laughed, a bit nervous, and said she liked it. But we don’t talk much about my writing anymore. My husband knows my tendency to be a worse-case-scenario kind of person. I don’t think he expects me to hand him anything light-hearted. But when I asked him to read a collection of pieces about characters looking for redemption, for solace, for relief, he gave them back and said, “Some of them don’t seem finished. Some of them are weird.” I have yet to ask my sisters what they really think.

So that question—how important is it that they love our writing?—might need a quick edit: how important is it that they love us as a writer?

That’s easy: very important. My husband and I don’t like the same movies. Why would we enjoy reading the same stories? Even so, he applauds my successes, encourages my attempts, reminds me on the bad days that pursuing my passion is a good thing. And that Is priceless.

 

Christi Craig works as a sign language interpreter by day and moonlights as a writer, teacher, and editor. She was part of the novel acquisitions team during the 2016 submissions call for Forest Avenue Press and served as an Assistant Editor at Compose Literary Journal, as well as an Associate Editor for Noble / Gas Quarterly. Her own stories and essays have appeared online and in print, and she received an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s Family Matters Competition, 2010. Visit her website at christicraig.com.

 

Follow these links to learn more about: Renaissance Theaterworks, SEX WITH STRANGERS, Wisconsin Romance Writers.

 

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Featured Author/Editor: Lisa Rivero

On Sunday, October 29th the Broadway Theatre Center’s lobby will be filled with published Wisconsin authors before, during, and after performances of Renaissance Theaterworks’ production of SEX WITH STRANGERS. The authors appearing from 1:00pm to 5:00pm on Sunday are: Cari Taylor-Carson, Christi Craig, Kathy Lanzarotti, Mel Miskimen, Pam Parker, Lisa Rivero, and Kim Suhr. They represent memoir, non-fiction, humor, and short stories.

As an advance introduction to the authors, Renaissance (RTW) asked them questions related to their writing and some of the conflicts presented in the play SEX WITH STRANGERSZ by Laura Eason.

Lisa Rivero

RTW: Can you describe your current book? What genre is it? What do you like about that genre? And what other kinds of writing do you do?

LISA: Recently I co-edited (with Christi Craig) and published an anthology of creative nonfiction, essays, and found poetry titled Family Stories from the Attic. Collaborating with Christi, who did the bulk of the editing, was a dream, and we both were fortunate to work with twenty-two generous, talented authors from around the United States and New Zealand. The book’s concept was to showcase writing as a way to understand more fully our personal and collective pasts, by writing about objects such as diaries, letters, photographs, notebooks—even a set of family silver. Given the diversity of approaches and backgrounds of the submissions we accepted, we were delightfully surprised at how well the collection held together as a whole.

In addition to publishing, I have written non-fiction books, essays, articles, and fiction, and I’m currently doing a kind of (later than) mid-life pivot to focus on writing speculative fiction and poetry.

 

RTW: What inspired you to write? What kinds of fiction genres do you like reading?

LISA: For as long as I can remember, I knew I would be a writer, even when I was making my own childhood poetry chapbooks on construction paper, tied together with yarn. Over the years, that persistent beacon has taken several forms, from being a journalism and then English major, to technical writing, teaching composition to budding engineers, writing a food and wellness column, and writing about psychological topics. I love to read almost anything (including old-fashioned hard cover encyclopedias), but really enjoy quirky authors, such as George Saunders, Flannery O’Connor, and Haruki Murakami, as well as science fiction, fantasy, poetry, and all stories and novels that offer a glimpse into parts of the universe—real or imagined—that I previously did not know.

 

RTW: Have you ever been tempted to use initials to disguise your gender as a writer?

LISA: As I’m making the transition to trying my hand at more speculative fiction, I’ve thought about using initials or a gender-neutral pseudonym, as that’s a genre does seem to experience some gender-bias, and also to make a more defined transition from one aspect of my writing career to another. Right now, however, I’m leaning towards using my real name, whether from laziness or principle.

Lisa Rivero is the co-editor (with Christi Craig) and publisher of Family Stories from the Attic (Hidden Timber Books), an anthology of essays, creative nonfiction, and poetry inspired by family letters, objects, and archives. Lisa has written professionally for over two decades and taught college writing and creative thinking courses at the Milwaukee School of Engineering for many years. The author of four non-fiction books, a middle-grade historical novel, and several articles and essays, she is currently focusing on writing poetry and speculative fiction.

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