July 19, 2015, on the final day of the upcoming residency, the MFAC program will have a Graduate Recognition ceremony to honor the men and women who have just completed their studies and will receive an MFA from Hamline University. Between now and residency we’ll be posting interviews with the grads.
Olivia Ghafoerkhan is today’s grad; she lives in Woodbridge, Virginia.
What do you do when you’re not working on packets?
I have four young kids, and a very needy dog. When I’m not working on packets, I am Super Mom complete with cape. Okay, it’s a rumpled cape that needs ironing, and my uniform has a few stains in it, but there you go.
How did you hear about the Hamline MFAC Program?
An online search. I knew I needed something more, something to help me bring my writing to the next level, and I was desperately searching.
What was your writing experience prior to entering the program?
I studied creative writing at Florida State as an undergraduate student. Then I became a naptime novelist, writing in between parenting.
What do especially remember about your first residency?
Being extremely tired and somewhat overwhelmed. I’m not the most social person, and the constant interaction was a bit much for me at first. Now it’s one of the things I look forward to.
Have you focused on any one form (PB, novel, nonfiction; graphic novel) or age group in your writing? Tried a form you never thought you’d try?
I’ve been working on novels most of the program. I do wish I had been brave enough to try a picture book.
Tell us about your Creative Thesis.
Story Spinners is about a young girl who is trying to save her sister in a world of fairytales and magic. The Story Spinners are hired by merchant families to create elaborate fairytales about their children in hopes of making a royal match. Ana’s stepfather creates such a fairytale for Ana, and she finds herself betrothed to a prince who is in love with his missing princess. Together they embark on a quest to save the missing princesses and uncover the truth about the Story Spinners.
What changes have you seen in your writing during your studies?
I am much more aware of the faults in my writing. Seriously, though, my writing, and my ability to self-edit, have grown tremendously throughout this program.
Any thoughts for entering students or for people considering the program?
Relax. Everyone is wonderful and supportive, there’s absolutely nothing to stress out about. Just work hard and try to enjoy every moment.