Currently live where?
Anything else, like website/blog/Twitter you are ok sharing?
What do you do when you’re not working on packets?
I own an audiobook production company with studios in Los Angeles. We record and produce audiobooks for major publishers, and I do casting and directing, as well as some narration of my own. I sometimes moonlight as a cabaret singer. I’m currently enjoying taking nascent steps back into the world again!
How did you hear about the Hamline MFAC Program?
A friend in another program mentioned something about Hamline’s curriculum and I was intrigued. I knew right away that Hamline was exactly what I had been looking for.
What was your writing experience prior to entering the program?
In my twenties, I was hired to develop a children’s television show for a university’s Communications Department TV station. It was a lucky break, because I had no experience or training at all; a friend who liked my writing convinced them that I was the right person for the job. I became the screenwriter, introduced a cast of puppet characters and took them on grand adventures, and collaborated with a musician friend to write and perform songs.
What do you especially remember about your first residency?
How joyful it was. I loved that everyone seemed to have the same spirit toward the work. The program was academically rigorous, but no one had forgotten how to play, and there was humor and an atmosphere of generosity. I appreciated how the faculty sat in on each other’s lectures and participated by asking questions and sharing advice. This gave the whole residency a collaborative quality. And I liked that the teachers were not kept at a remove, but that we were all together, participating collectively in classes and activities…and surviving the snow!
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 knew nothing about graphic novels or picture book biographies coming into the program, but I once I explored them I knew I had found my path. I realized that a lot of aspects of my creative work and personal interest intersected in these forms. I always know that I’ve found a true passion when I want to live in that world all the time. I bought a whole library of books in these forms that I read and re-read, and I always discover something new and satisfying in them. And I was excited to be able to spend some time in my last semester exploring my first love, fiction picture books.
Tell us about your Creative Thesis.
I was so happy to be able to complete a graphic novel during my time here. It’s historical fiction, set in the California Gold Rush. But I’m also including a picture book biography in my thesis because we have to present our creative theses in the last residency, and it’s much harder to read a graphic novel aloud (unless it has been modified as an audiobook script).
What changes have you seen in your writing during your studies?
I’m so glad I came to Hamline. I’ve been writing forever, but never had a sense of certainty about my work. Through the long, focused process of grad school and the guidance of our teachers in lectures, workshops and packets, I have finally gotten to a place where I can assess (or at least accept) what might be missing or need a tweak – or a complete overhaul. I’ve also developed a sense of when something is right, and landing where I want it to. This knowledge is still new and undeveloped, but it’s a far better barometer than I had going into the program. The best thing that happened was when I got to a point where I could receive criticism of my work, take a beat to absorb it, and then make the change or use it to pivot in a new direction. That was a significnat milestone for me. I had been critiqued before and didn’t know what to do with the information. Now, I have a jumping off point from which to improve my writing.
Any thoughts for entering students or for people considering the program?