Myfanwy Collins lives in Massachusetts with her husband and son. Her work has been published in The Kenyon Review, AGNI, Cream City Review,Quick Fiction, and Potomac Review. Echolocation is her first novel. A collection of her short fiction, I Am Holding Your Hand, is forthcoming from from PANK Little Books in August 2012.
What is your feeling about having mentors as a writer? Talk about the mentor relationship if you will, its importance to a writer…
Like all crafts, there is a sense of apprenticeship within writing, a learning from those who have come before. As such, mentors are extremely important to the growth of the writer, I believe. Both to be mentored and to mentor. As much as you get or have gotten from others, you should be prepared to give that to another. You should be prepared to give more.
What do you do when you feel stuck or uninspired and does it work to trick the brain into working?
I used to need to write in the quietest, most tranquil place. I would need all of the stars to be aligned. It was extremely easy for me to allow myself to be distracted out of my writing time. Not anymore. As I have a small, no-longer-napping child, my time for writing is limited. Even if it weren’t limited, my brain capacity is limited as it is filled up mostly with him and his needs at present. As such, when I get time for writing, I just write. Noises don’t bother me anymore. People around me don’t bother me anymore.
Same thing when I’m feeling uninspired. I just write and write until something comes. Something will always come.
Are there favorite writing exercises or prompts which you use regularly?
I have never been good about writing to a prompt. I admire people who can do that but I’m not one of them. I wish I could.
Can you offer other writers suggestions with character development? Do you know who they are before you write or do you find out who they are in the writing?
Gosh, good question. I guess it’s something you just have to feel in yourself as you write, don’t you? If I don’t feel them inside me then I don’t figure anyone reading can feel them either.
What’s the best writer’s advice you ever got?
The best writing advice I ever received is the advice I give over and over again: in order to be the best writer you can be, you first have to be the best reader you can be. Keep reading and don’t ever stop.
Please talk a bit about your new works…
My next book is a collection of short fiction coming from PANK sometime within the next six months or so. It is called I Am Holding Your Hand and is comprised of both short stories and flash fiction, written (and rewritten) over the past ten+ years. I’m very excited about it.
What question do you dislike being asked the most in interviews?
This one: “What’s your book about?” I am continually tongue-tied at that question and need to learn to better respond.
What is next for you?
The biggest thing I’m working on right now is helping my son prepare for kindergarten. He begins in the fall. I’ll soon have my final reading for the promotional tour I set up for Echolocation. It’s been a really fun and exhausting couple of months touring around and reading. I’m extremely grateful to everyone who hosted the events and everyone who came out in support. You people are wonderful!
In addition, I have just received my MA in English Literature (my graduation is on May 20th, 2012) and am planning on applying to MFA creative writing programs over the next couple of months.
As for writing, I’m going to be starting on a new novel soon. I’ve got the beginning already but just (finally!) came up with the story. I’m excited about it. Life is beautiful.
The Fictionaut Five is our ongoing series of interviews with Fictionaut authors. Every Wednesday, Meg Pokrass asks a writer five (or more) questions. Meg is the editor-at-large for BLIP Magazine, and her stories and poems have been published widely. Her first full collection of flash fiction, “Damn Sure Right” is now out from Press 53. She blogs at http://megpokrass.com.