Saturday, August 15, 2009

12 or 20 questions: with Eva Moran

Eva Moran is the author of Porny Stories. She has her MA in English Literature from Concordia University. Eva is also the author of two plays (My Hand Her Story and Buried) and her short fiction and non-fiction has been published in Matrix Magazine, The World of Chinese and Moosehead Anthology #9. Eva works and lives in Toronto.

1 - How did your first book change your life? How does your most recent work compare to your previous? How does it feel different?

Porny Stories made me as popular as high-school girls who give great blowjobs!

It hasn’t changed my life. I’ve met some writers I like at readings. That’s always cool.

Uhhh… I wrote plays so PS (a collection of short fiction) is quite different than my former writing. I think that there are similarities in the dialogue and I think that in PS I have become better at writing dialogue.

2 - How did you come to fiction first, as opposed to, say, poetry or non-fiction?

I didn’t. I wrote plays (and well before that some angsty teenage poetry) until I went to Concordia and met a lot of fiction writers. I thought that what they were doing was really cool and they influenced my writing.

3 - How long does it take to start any particular writing project? Does your writing intitially come quickly, or is it a slow process? Do first drafts appear looking close to their final shape, or does your work come out of copious notes?

It’s always different—all of the above, and more.

4 - Where does a piece of fiction usually begin for you? Are you an author of short pieces that end up combining into a larger project, or are you working on a "book" from the very beginning?

I work for a larger project from the very beginning. I mean, sometimes I write a few pieces and then I am like OH! If I stick these together that would make an awesome _____ . But I am generally very academic about the whole thing—I need a sort of thesis for a project.

5 - Are public readings part of or counter to your creative process? Are you the sort of writer who enjoys doing readings?

Readings are part of being a writer.

6 - Do you have any theoretical concerns behind your writing? What kinds of questions are you trying to answer with your work? What do you even think the current questions are?

It depends on the work. Often I find myself contemplating gender and sexuality.

7 – What do you see the current role of the writer being in larger culture? Does s/he even have one? What do you think the role of the writer should be?

8 - Do you find the process of working with an outside editor difficult or essential (or both)?

Essential. I usually consult with several people. Knowing what your audience will or will not like is hard to gauge without, well, an audience.

9 - What is the best piece of advice you've heard (not necessarily given to you directly)?

Sometimes we are so preoccupied with creating something great that we end up creating nothing at all. At least I have that problem. So I always keep in one piece of advice in mind: Never let the great get in the way of the good. It keeps me working.

10 - How easy has it been for you to move between genres (fiction to critical prose)? What do you see as the appeal?

Easy. I think the only thing I would never be any good at writing is poetry; it just takes... a different kind of brain. But other than that I feel like writing is writing is writing.

11 - What kind of writing routine do you tend to keep, or do you even have one? How does a typical day (for you) begin?

Well I am a bit weird; I need to collect things before I can write. I mean, I need to collect stories or recollect stories for a long, long period of time before I have a solid idea for a project. I kind of go around collecting and let those things sit in my mind for a long time and let my mind tie things together such as a gynecological visit to a praying mantis or a venus flytrap and then I think of lines and... but the thing is, I don't like to write while I am doing this. I mean sure, I'll write but I won't sit down to fully write. When I am sure I have what I want to say, then I make a schedule to write and adhere to it--come hell or high-water.

If I try to do it any other way, if I try to force a project, I just write shit.

12 - When your writing gets stalled, where do you turn or return for (for lack of a better word) inspiration?

To my friends. To other writing. To paintings and movies, etc.

13 - Betty or Veronica or Archie or Reggie? Drive or fly (or sail)? Laptop or desktop?

Only certain answer: laptop.

14 - David W. McFadden once said that books come from books, but are there any other forms that influence your work, whether nature, music, science or visual art?

15 - What other writers or writings are important for your work, or simply your life outside of your work?

16 - What would you like to do that you haven't yet done?

Take a road trip that starts in Western Canada and winds its way to Argentina and then on to Chile and then ends in Eastern Canada.

I would also like to visit Cuba, Russia, Madagascar, New Zealand...

17 - If you could pick any other occupation to attempt, what would it be? Or, alternately, what do you think you would have ended up doing had you not been a writer?

I would love to be a photographer, film-maker, or a theatrical director.

18 - What made you write, as opposed to doing something else?

I wanted to be a wild-life photographer when I was four but my father told me that it was dangerous and that I might die. Then I wanted to be an actor. But that's just not for me. I had always written. I just decided that I wanted to write.

19 - What was the last great book you read? What was the last great film?

The last GREAT (as opposed to great, because there are many of those) book I read was The Middle Passage by Charles R. Johnson.

The last film that blew my mind was There Will Be Blood. I know. I know. This movie gets a lot of flak but I love it. It reminds me of Citizen Kane. I love the way it looks. I love the acting. I love the slow ascending way the characters are built and the story is told. I love that there are so few words. I love how old-fashioned it is.

20 - What are you currently working on?

I'm trying to come up with another book idea and I am working on Friend-dump: The Musical.

Right now I am writing a story with the working title The Things You Gave Me.

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