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On the personal side:
"Unpublished" articles written for personal friends and family

An Interview With Me_______________________________________________
9/29/97 (updated 2004)
Posted somewhere on Amazon.com but I'm not sure where

(Amazon once offered me the chance to "interview myself" as an author published on their site. I answered all their questions, but for the life of me, I have no idea what they did with the interview once I finished it. It may have been someone at Amazon's great idea (interview all authors!) that never happened ...or, as I'm not terribly famous and probably won't ever be, the interview is probably filed away in some obscure little online file with very few links, if any ... well, here it is.)

Amazon.com: How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book?

R.D.: Like a lot of writers, I started writing as a kid, making up stories before I knew how to write, then writing like mad once I learned how. I knew I wanted to be an author when I was a kid, and I have serious doubts as to whether I ever really wanted to be anything else.

Amazon.com: What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?

R.D.: Several authors heavily influenced me. Madeleine L'Engle's luminous images and writing style was a strong influence. I valued C. S. Lewis for his clarity of thought and reasoning, as well as his appeal to a general audience. Charles Williams and other fantasy writers were also important to me. But the one who means the most to me is G.K. Chesterton. With him I share a common philosophical outlook that I don't share with any of the others. There's not the smallest shred of gnosticism or elitism in his approach, and he has an appreciation for humanity in all its colors that I love. Also a sense of wonder regarding fairy tales. I've tried in my books to do what he tried to do in his novels, to tell a real story from a particular viewpoint that makes it like a fairy-tale.

Amazon.com: Could you describe the mundane details of writing: How many hours a day do you devote to writing? Do you write a draft on paper or at a keyboard (typewriter or computer)? Do you have a favorite location or time of day (or night) for writing? What do you do to avoid--or seek!--distractions?

R.D.: I spend about two hours a week writing now that I have two kids. I expect the time will decrease as I have more. (2004 update: actually, it's gotten worse - I write about eight hours a week, and I have five kids.) At this time in my life, I'm planning on raising (a lot of) kids most of the time and writing a little bit of the time, mostly for them. There's up-sides to this: I haven't been able to write children's stories since my brothers and sisters grew up, so I am looking forward to re-connecting to this very important audience. Children inhabit a "small universe" and it's difficult to re-enter that universe once you've lost your innocence and your childhood. So you could look at it two ways: either I'm sacrificing my writing career for my family, or (as I prefer to see it) I'm doing "field research" for a new and exciting time of growth as an author. I plan to increase my writing again as the kids grow, and by the time I'm about forty (God willing) I'll be able to write some pretty powerful books. The great thing about writing is that aging becomes an asset. You have more stories to tell. They say my grandmother, a plain girl, became lovely as she aged. I hope my writing will do the same.

Amazon.com: When and how did you get started on the Net? Do you read any newsgroups such as rec.arts.books and rec.arts.sf.written, mailing lists, or other on-line forums? Do you use the Net for research--or is it just another time sink? Are you able to communicate with other writers or people you work with over the Net?

R.D.: I've tried to cultivate what Wendell Berry might call "a natural suspicion of any new technology." The Net, I would say at my most cynical, is not as terrible as TV, but it's not much better. However, I do have use it for researching some pieces, and services like Amazon.com are a great resource. For me, the most valuable thing about the Net is the increased ease of communicating with people who otherwise I would never speak to. I lead a pretty secluded life in some respects. The Net has kept me connected with other women writers who are my support and with friends whose opinions on my writing I value. It's much easier to get feedback from things that I'm writing on. It's also made sending in articles to papers and magazines so much easier (I still do freelance work). That's how the Net has influenced my writing. I'm grateful to have it around. (Update 2004: I now find it indispensable, particularly for working on group projects with other writers. I also take advantage of it for networking and promotion. It's become a great equalizing force in the publishing world.)

Amazon.com: Feel free to use this space to write about whatever you wish: your family, your hometown, hobbies, favorite places, where you've lived, where you went to school, what jobs you have had, your last (or planned) vacation, your favorite color/food/pet/song/movie, what books you'd take to a desert island, what you intend to do before you die, or what you think of just about anything.

R.D.: To me, writing is storytelling. It's about communicating truth and beauty -- the things that people know and love. I like to tell my stories in a big universe, speaking to as many people as possible. Speaking to the human in all of us. And it was my Catholicism that taught me to do this. It may sound odd, but Catholicism as a philosophy and as doctrine speaks to the widest range of people. In the Catholic Church you have intellects and deep thinkers like Thomas Aquinas. But you also have uneducated people, mentally challenged people and little kids and newborn infants, all in the same Church. And the Church can speak to all of them. You don't have to know how to read a Bible or speak a certain language anything. You just have to be. And if you're Catholic, it's not as though you're right and everyone else in the world is wrong. You've got the fullness of truth, the biggest possible lens -- you can find the truth anywhere, even in other religions. Especially in Judaism, which is our starting point, which is where I'd be if I wasn't Catholic. So I find in Catholicism the impetus to love and appreciate as many people as I possibly can, no matter what their sex, color, beliefs, culture, background, sin or lack thereof, anything. I guess I'd say that next to God and Beauty, the thing that continually astounds me is the amazing phenomenon of other people. Every one is a singular creation that the universe would be poorer for the loss of. And through each person, I learn a little bit more about God. And that feeds my soul

copyright Regina Doman, 1999. This document is available for republishing only after the author's permission has been obtained. Click the top button for an email link to the author.

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