Saturday, April 19, 2014

Entry # 209 - An Experimental Nonfiction Piece on WATER

Photo Credit - Jan Bowman - 2013
The Truth About Water

Drink up. Water is wealth. Water heals. Mends the cells. Flushes toxins.

Drink water from plastic bottles thick with toxins. Bound for recycling or landfills.

Water flows freely in our world into sinks, bathtubs and showers. We stand over cleansing basins of water, flushed with complex chemicals. We drink deeply and dump the rest casually into a sink. We wash vital organs clear of toxins with water taken from bottles and tidy faucets. Faucets quench thirst, but bottles travel better. Even so, in many parts of this world, water does not come from bottles or faucets.


Drink water. We have so much. Water holds it all together. The great earth’s landmasses press, just as we do, against oceans, rivers, tides. Think of parts of China or the Sudan. Earth’s poorest people value water more than riches. Water is wealth.

And whether woman or child, she who bends her back and kneels to touch the shallow stream or river with dry, cracked lips will live - unless disease, hunger, or toxins do their work.

Drink water. But how much?  It depends. Where do you live? How old are you? How healthy or wealthy? How much is enough? Perhaps eight or nine cups are enough, unless you’re thirsty, or tired, or your urine’s darker than light yellow. Or unless it’s early in the morning, or you’ve just swallowed a handful of vitamins, or you’re terribly ill. Then you might need more or less.


We can't imagine needing it, wanting it, or dying from lack of it. Unthinkable. Drink more water. Lose weight. Flush out those toxins. Toxins destined for the rivers of reclaimed water flowing into glasses and tubs. Don’t worry that you’ve taken too much, more than your rightful share. Go for it. Water your lawn. Wash your car. Flush and flush, because you can.

What could possible stop you from doing whatever you wish with water?

Drink up. Water is wealth. Water heals. Mends the cells and flushes toxins.

Or you could drink wine. You’ll live longer, they say. But it takes water to make wine.

I previously posted a version of this work. Not sure whether one should call it poetry or prose. It seems to be some sort of hybrid at this point. Since I usually write fiction, this presents different problems when I think about revisions.  Thought I would share a work embryo for Easter. 


Jan Bowman                                                                              Flash Creative Non-Fiction

5659 Vantage Point Road                                                          approx. 350 words - revised

Columbia, MD 21044                                                                April 18, 2014

Blog site: http://janbowmanwriter.blogspot.com
This has been a particularly difficult week - environmentally - so I have thought quite a bit about water and its importance.  If you follow me on facebook you know of what I speak.
janbowman.77@facebook.com
=======================================

About Jan Bowman
Winner of the 2011 Roanoke Review Fiction Award, Jan's stories have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, Best American Short Stories, and a Pen/O’Henry award.  Glimmer Train named a recent story as Honorable Mention in the November 2012 Short Story Awards for New Writers.
Jan aboard ship - 2013
A recent story was a finalist for the 2013 Broad River Review RASH Award for Fiction, another story was a 2013 finalist in the Phoebe Fiction Contest; another was a 2012 finalist in the “So To Speak” Fiction Contest.  Jan’s fiction has appeared in numerous publications including, Roanoke Review, Big Muddy, The Broadkill Review, Third Wednesday, Minimus, Buffalo Spree (97), Folio, The Potomac Review, Musings, Potato Eyes and others.   She is working on two collections of short stories while shopping for a publisher for a completed story collection, Mermaids & Other Stories.  She has nonfiction publications in Trajectory and Pen-in-Hand. She writes a weekly blog of “Reflections” on the writing life and posts regular interviews with writers and publishers.
 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Entry # 208 - Turning Character Inside/Out


Hawaii - April 2013 - Jan Bowman
This week I am exploring the evolution of a character in a story I am writing, looking for that organic moment in events when everything changes. So I returned to my craft reading to reread for inspiration an excellent essay by Megan Staffel, "In the Garden: Revealing a Character in a Moment of Change" found in A Kite in the Wind: Fiction Writers on Their Craft. As I distill the most useful ideas that apply to my current story, I am struck by Staffel's observations that modern fiction moves beyond Aristotle's Poetics that focused upon tragedy. She says that "fiction in the twenty-first century has a different purpose and our generalizations look more like this: Art Imitates Life and Character determines plot, whether it's simple or complex."

Hawaii - April 2013 - Roof Gardens - Jan Bowman
Staffel paraphrases sections from scholar Gerald Else's work on Aristotle's Poetics: The Argument (1963), in which Else, (358) says, "A recognition is a change from ignorance to knowledge. It's recognizing, a remembering of something you already knew. . . And that moment causes an unexpected shift, a reversal of expectations." The resulting shift or reversal leads to a new understanding. 
 
Staffel says that ". . . if we show the movement from inside to outside, subjective to objective, we can portray this moment (of change/knowledge) in a fluid, believable, and entirely contextual manner that introduces insight without contrivance."  

The writer then is trying to show an invisible event, a moment of insight or recognition that takes place in the mind of the character and/or the reader. This is not easy to do well and that seems to separate the good stories from the great stories I read.

Hawaii April 2013 - Jan Bowman
As a reader I look for these moments in the fiction I read. As a writer - if I am lucky - I discover these moments sometimes after-the-fact. After I have written and rewritten for weeks - until I find I have written my way into the kind of person who fails to realize or comes to realize something new, something startling, something true. Then I am left with the task of doing this in a fluid, believable, organic way and this is a skill I continue to learn.
==========================
About Jan Bowman
Winner of the 2011 Roanoke Review Fiction Award, Jan's stories have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, Best American Short Stories, and a Pen/O’Henry award.  Glimmer Train named a recent story as Honorable Mention in the November 2012 Short Story Awards for New Writers.

A recent story was a finalist for the 2013 Broad River Review RASH Award for Fiction, another story was a 2013 finalist in the Phoebe Fiction Contest; another was a 2012 finalist in the “So To Speak” Fiction Contest.  Jan’s fiction has appeared in numerous publications including, Roanoke Review, Big Muddy, The Broadkill Review, Third Wednesday, Minimus, Buffalo Spree (97), Folio, The Potomac Review, Musings, Potato Eyes and others.   She is working on two collections of short stories while shopping for a publisher for a completed story collection, Mermaids & Other Stories.  She has nonfiction publications in Trajectory and Pen-in-Hand. She writes a weekly blog of “Reflections” on the writing life and posts regular interviews with writers and publishers.   Learn more at: www.janbowmanwriter.com or  visit blog:  http://janbowmanwriter.blogspot.com
Facebook:  janbowman.77@facebook.com


Friday, April 4, 2014

Entry # 207 - "Finding A Small Press Publisher: Not A Small Task"

Finding a suitable publisher for a collection of short stories proves to be among the more challenging tasks for a relative unknown writer who specializes in writing short fiction.  Most of us who write prefer to spend our time writing, rather than marketing. But I have decided to try a new approach, using current technological trends available, in my quest to finding a publisher for my collection of ten stories. 
As part of a large community of writers, perhaps we might have more success if we  explore new approaches to help each other connect to readers and publishers who might appreciate our particular efforts. I would like to try an experiment. Here is a synopses of my story collection:  Mermaids & Other Stories. 
If you know someone who might be interested in publishing this collection, please send them the link to this or have them contact me directly at the links below. Also - if you have any suggestions that might be helpful to me or others, please share them with me. In a couple of months, I will plan to report on the progress of this project.

Synopses of --- Mermaids & Other Stories
 A Collection of Ten Short Stories Offered For Publication Consideration

In her poem “Kindness,” Naomi Shihab Nye writes that, when you know sorrow as “the other deepest thing . . . then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore.”

The dynamic mix of characters that comprise the stories of Mermaids & Other Stories know about sorrow. They know it in the burden of looking after a war-injured husband and the obnoxious boy he never helps to raise, when all you really want to do is fly away. They know it in the struggle to hide away from the violence of the world, when the violence will always find you. They know it in the anger of a seventy-six-year-old woman whose son-in-law can’t even wait until she’s dead to try to take her farm away.

But they know kindness too. They know it in the unspoken understanding between a young man and his elderly aunt. They know it in a small gesture between friends, and through unexpected connections found on the other end of the phone or at the end of a deluge. Moreover, they need it, as we all seek kindness to comfort us if we are to press on against the sorrows of ordinary lives.

The ten stories of Mermaids & Other Stories, Jan Bowman’s first collection, include award finalists and honorable mentions, and “Mermaids,” the winner of the 2011 Roanoke Review Prize for Fiction. Seven of its stories have been previously published. Two of the three unpublished stories have been finalists in recent contests. Most importantly, Bowman’s stories reveal the power of small gestures in those necessary moments of human contact. Explored from childhood through old age, and without sentimentality, Mermaids & Other Stories is a window into the kindness all people seek and need in the face of loss.
  • This collection of short stories by Jan Bowman is seeking a suitable small press publisher.
  • If you are interested or know someone who might be, please contact Jan Bowman.
  • Email:  janbowmanwriter@gmail.com      Blog:  janbowmanwriter.blogspot.com
========================
About Jan Bowman
Winner of the 2011 Roanoke Review Fiction Award, Jan's stories have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, Best American Short Stories, and a Pen/O’Henry award.  Glimmer Train named a recent story as Honorable Mention in the November 2012 Short Story Awards for New Writers.
A recent story was a finalist for the 2013 Broad River Review RASH Award for Fiction, another story was a 2013 finalist in the Phoebe Fiction Contest; another was a 2012 finalist in the “So To Speak” Fiction Contest.  Jan’s fiction has appeared in numerous publications including, Roanoke Review, Big Muddy, The Broadkill Review, Third Wednesday, Minimus, Buffalo Spree (97), Folio, The Potomac Review, Musings, Potato Eyes and others.   She is working on two new collections of short stories while shopping for a publisher for her completed story collection, Mermaids & Other Stories. 

 She has nonfiction publications in Trajectory and Pen-in-Hand. She writes a weekly blog of “Reflections” on the writing life and posts regular interviews with writers and publishers.   Learn more at: www.janbowmanwriter.com or  visit blog:  http://janbowmanwriter.blogspot.com



Friday, March 28, 2014

Entry # 206 - Interview with Maryland Romance Novelist, Lauren Monroe


About Lauren Monroe
Lauren Monroe is the pen name for Lorriann Oberlin, a Maryland writer and novelist. She is a former native of Western PA.  Her new novel, LETTING GO:  Book One of The Maryland Shores, is a contemporary women's fiction story set in the DC and Maryland area with strong connections to the Chesapeake Bay region.

Jan:   Readers always want to know something about the main characters and the plot when they pick up a new novel. What will make them want to read yours? 

Lauren:   My novel, Letting Go is set in the DC/Maryland area, and in particular, sites along the Chesapeake Bay region. It deals with nautical themes, some current events/past current events in the aftermath of 9/11 anniversary reactions, which heighten anxiety anyway.
When Maren Mitchell, the heroine, lost her husband in a violent car crash, she lost her anchor  in life and battles anxiety about all things medical, combined with living in a particularly tense time in our nation’s and the region’s history.
 
When her son becomes ill, she meets a compassionate, handsome surgeon, Steve Kramer, at the same hospital where she’s just been offered a job, by a friend of hers. She has to decide how/when to move forward with her mix of emotions. Steve is different from any man she’s known with a mix of the lovable and annoying as is the case in most relationships.
 
They interact with one another, each other’s families and use their strengths to overcome weaknesses, as they navigate their individual differences…and yes, navigate the Chesapeake, spending days…and a few nights aboard Steve’s boat. There’s some heat there – steamy some readers have called some scenes, but the budding relationship touches people emotionally for its realism I’m also told.

Jan:   And who do you see as likely readers for your novel, Letting Go: The Maryland Shore?
 
Lauren:   My readers are usually women starting at early to mid-thirties and on into 70+, but having said that the novel has been enjoyed by a few male readers out there.  Sometimes couples read the same novels, and honestly….it can be good for men to read a few such novels with a little romance in them.
 
Readers will likely enjoy the nautical theme throughout, the strength of the characters, and often some humor regarding motherhood, men and even a familiar football rivalry on the east coast. I’m a native of Pittsburgh, PA so it shows a little.  (Laughing)  As they say, you can move away but you can’t take the ‘burgh out of the person.  That said, rest assured I’ve created Ravens and Redskins fans.  I know where I live! (Laughing again)
 
Jan:   Previously you've written nine nonfiction books, tell us a bit about those books, and why you decided to tackle a fiction book?

Lauren:   These were all self-help, non-fiction books. I decided that given the serious nature of some topics and other work that I do,  I wanted a creative, right-brained departure from that. I had also started the idea for this novel 20 years ago, and something drew me back to these characters, so I dug it out, changed much, kept some and readers seem to enjoy the result.  I’m humbled by that.

Jan:   How has your journalist experience informed your fiction writing efforts?

Lauren:   Yes, that experience has helped as I written articles about relationships, parenting, travel, and then later obtained a master’s degree in mental health.  All of that plus living my life and understanding, both professionally and personally, about relationships and families has equipped me to tackle this.  I’m hopeful that it shows in the end result, and though my fiction is a fun read, I hope that readers take some messages about positivity and coping away from the experience.

Jan:   You've chosen to use a pen name for this novel - why and what are the pros and cons for using a pen name for you?

Lauren:   The pen name was to keep the fiction separate from non-fiction and the name symbolic.  I loved the first name, the original character had that name in the 1990s version, but when I moved the setting to Maryland, I opted to use as pen name.  Monroe short for town Monroeville, outside of Pittsburgh where I lived, wrote and worked for many years, even teaching others how to get their start in freelance writing. It’s not a big secret though that this is a pen name…I’m pretty open about that.

Jan:   What have you learned from your experiences self-publishing this novel that might be useful to other writers?

Lauren:   Actually I have learned a lot and I will probably say more about this in print some day. It’s a lot of work but the reward is there also.  All of my non-fiction was published the traditional way with well-known publishers. So many have touted the merits of independent publishing (the term I prefer) that I wanted to try it.
 
Jan:   What is the best advice you've ever received about writing?

Lauren:   There’s so much to say to aspiring writers.  It's important to keep at it.  Follow your passion. Carve out a time to write, park yourself in a chair and just get to it. And, my all-time favorite, and one I can say really shaped this novel – the best writing comes out of revision. Nothing’s perfect the first time you create it. You hone it, walk away from it, share it with others, consider feedback, and get back to it, often eliminating unnecessary verbiage or words.

When someone tells you – as more than one reader has with this novel – that she couldn’t put it down and didn’t want to do anything else but read it – THAT makes a writer’s day and makes it all worthwhile.

Jan:   Tell readers about your novel and travel blog. 

Lauren:   In my freelance career, I wrote about honeymoon travel and had an opportunity to contribute to national magazines. I’ve always liked exploring and learning as well. Living now on the Eastern Shore, I’m happy to share the insider track with people through this Facebook page and blog – giving people added reason to “like” it and follow it, certainly for the tips if they travel over this way, or even into the DC/Annapolis area.

Jan:   How can readers connect with your blog, and buy a copy of your novel?

Lauren:   The best way to keep tabs — both for this novel and for travel to the Chesapeake area — would be to check out the posts on the novel’s Facebook page and travel blog there so go to: www.facebook.com/lauren.monroe.novels
http://www.pinterest.com/novelistlaurenm/

Also:   I invite readers to be in touch emailing:   laurenmonroe14@gmail.com 
or messaging through the novel’s fan page. They can also follow the book at Good Reads (where there is a giveway through March 30 to win two paperback copies) and on the Pinterest page for Lauren Monroe, Novelist.

In Addition:   At the back of the book – Ebook or paperback – there’s a readers’ guide for book clubs so I hope that women in such will consider the title as there are points to talk about, and it’s a very spring/summer kind of read especially.

======================================
Jan At Sea April 2013
About Jan Bowman

Winner of the 2011 Roanoke Review Fiction Award, Jan's stories have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, Best American Short Stories, and a Pen/O’Henry award.  Glimmer Train named a recent story as Honorable Mention in the November 2012 Short Story Awards for New Writers.  A recent story was a finalist for the 2013 Broad River Review RASH Award for Fiction, another story was a 2013 finalist in the Phoebe Fiction Contest; another was a 2012 finalist in the “So To Speak” Fiction Contest Jan’s fiction has appeared in numerous publications including, Roanoke Review, Big Muddy, The Broadkill Review, Third Wednesday, Minimus, Buffalo Spree (97), Folio, The Potomac Review, Musings, Potato Eyes and others.   She is working on two collections of short stories while shopping for a publisher for a completed story collection, Mermaids & Other Stories.  She has nonfiction publications in Trajectory and Pen-in-Hand. She writes a weekly blog of “Reflections” on the writing life and posts regular interviews with writers and publishers.   Learn more at: www.janbowmanwriter.com or  visit blog:  http://janbowmanwriter.blogspot.com
Facebook:  janbowman.77@facebook.com 
 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Entry # 205 - "How I Write!"

Sometimes people ask writers questions about how they write? So I thought I would share my current process for those who are curious.  This is how I write. This is how my office looks.
 
Yes. I use different chairs for different tasks.
I don't call this cluttered - yet. 

Often I awaken around 5:00 and since it’s too early to get up, I tend to go back to sleep again from 6-7 am. Rather than waste the hour, I am trying to turn this time into a writing meditation.



I read a story that I’m working on or revising the night before and think about a specific area that needs work. If I awaken in the night or at 5:00 in the morning, I imagine a scene from the story - from what I’ve already written - or a scene that I might add. That process gives me more insight into the characters, theme, conflict, patterns, or place in this particular story.

My reading & thinking chair.
As I think about this story, I imagine how this scene looks – as if I am observing through a camera lens, or I imagine how a character feels while dealing with a conflict within the story.

In the morning when I get up, I write a few brief notes of what I now know or understand about the story. Every afternoon I work on the story for an hour or three pages – whichever comes first. Usually it’s an hour or slightly more. Then I turn my attention to some other writer task like research, blog, revisions, reading, or emails for follow up about interviews or submissions.

My intention is to write a complete draft story with a beginning, middle and end each month. It doesn’t have to be finished or perfect, but it does need the structure of three basic parts. In particular, I think about the beginning, and ending in the subsequent meditations and seek ways to organically end with an image or gesture that somehow touches upon the internal and external conflicts. Later I will set the work aside for a while to give it a chance to "harden" a bit, then I will return to it periodically and revise it regularly for a year or more. It is a slow process - at least it is for me at this point.
Am I a serious writer? Yes. The cat is added proof!

==========================
About Jan Bowman
Winner of the 2011 Roanoke Review Fiction Award, Jan's stories have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, Best American Short Stories, and a Pen/O’Henry award.  Glimmer Train named a recent story as Honorable Mention in the November 2012 Short Story Awards for New Writers.

A recent story was a finalist for the 2013 Broad River Review RASH Award for Fiction, another story was a 2013 finalist in the Phoebe Fiction Contest; another was a 2012 finalist in the “So To Speak” Fiction Contest.  Jan’s fiction has appeared in numerous publications including, Roanoke Review, Big Muddy, The Broadkill Review, Third Wednesday, Minimus, Buffalo Spree (97), Folio, The Potomac Review, Musings, Potato Eyes and others.   She is working on two collections of short stories while shopping for a publisher for a completed story collection, Mermaids & Other Stories.  She has nonfiction publications in Trajectory and Pen-in-Hand. She writes a weekly blog of “Reflections” on the writing life and posts regular interviews with writers and publishers.   Learn more at: www.janbowmanwriter.com or  visit blog:  http://janbowmanwriter.blogspot.com
Facebook:  janbowman.77@facebook.com
So how do you write?  Feel free to comment on your process or offer comments & suggestions.  

Friday, March 14, 2014

Entry 204 - "Celebrate Writing Groups"



Today's Blog Post is dedicated to a wonderful group of people I have grown to know and appreciate over the past three years. 
In 2012, I began teaching a journal writing group at Historic Oakland  in Town Center, Columbia, Maryland for January & February and then again in September & October.  The class was advertised in our local community newsletter as "A Journal-Keeping & Memoir Writing Class:  From Where I've Been & What I've Seen" and more than a dozen mature adults signed up. We've had as many as eighteen people participate on occasion. But a core group of
ten-to-twelve have continued to participate for a weekly two hours of writing, sharing, and supporting each other as they respond to prompts given during class time. 
Today marked the fifth time this group finished a session together. People have come and gone, some to rejoin the group later as their circumstances permitted, but this core group continues to meet, share, and support each other as they write about their lives. 

I am honored to work with them and I am touched by their commitment and courage as they continue to grow in their ability to put their stories on the page. Although often they tell me they come to class without a clue about what they want to write, most days they leave excited by the words they have written.
And today for the first time, everyone read something aloud to the group. It is a joyful thing to share our creative efforts that have evolved from our writing. They have decided to continue to meet as a group throughout the year. Although I will not be there to deliver prompts, they are ready now to test their wings and fly. I am proud of these people who are finding their voice. I will join them when I can, as they meet and write.


About Jan Bowman
Winner of the 2011 Roanoke Review Fiction Award, Jan's stories have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, Best American Short Stories, and a Pen/O’Henry award.  Glimmer Train named a recent story as Honorable Mention in the November 2012 Short Story Awards for New Writers.

A recent story was a finalist for the 2013 Broad River Review RASH Award for Fiction, another story was a 2013 finalist in the Phoebe Fiction Contest; another was a 2012 finalist in the “So To Speak” Fiction Contest.  Jan’s fiction has appeared in numerous publications including, Roanoke Review, Big Muddy, The Broadkill Review, Third Wednesday, Minimus, Buffalo Spree (97), Folio, The Potomac Review, Musings, Potato Eyes and others.   She is working on two collections of short stories while shopping for a publisher for a completed story collection, Mermaids & Other Stories.  She has nonfiction publications in Trajectory and Pen-in-Hand. She writes a weekly blog of “Reflections” on the writing life and posts regular interviews with writers and publishers.   Learn more at: www.janbowmanwriter.com or  visit blog:  http://janbowmanwriter.blogspot.com
 Yes - we met after class at Clydes on the Lakefront for lunch today. We had a lovely time.  I would like to offer a special thank you to the kind staff at Historic Oakland at Town Center who have been and continue to be supportive and who provide opportunities for mature adults in our community.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Entry # 203 - "Kenton Kilgore Interview - Young Adult Novels - The Dragontamer's Daughters"


Kenton Kilgore
Kenton Kilgore's first young adult novel is "Dragontamer's Daughters." He took much of his inspiration for it from his childhood in Arizona and his studies of the Navajo people. He has just released the second novel in this series:  Dragontamer's Daughters, Part 2: Stormcaller.    Available for Kindle and for Nook and iPad


Kenton earned a B.A. in English Literature at the University of Maryland College Park, where he concentrated in creative writing, mythology, medieval English, and the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. He earned an M.A. in English Literature at Washington College in Chestertown, MD. He and his family live in Stevensville, MD with too many dogs and cats.

                                                                                    

Background:  The Dragontamer's Daughters, the first book in your series begins in the unforgiving high desert in the Old West of an alternate Earth. Isabella, who is almost 13 years old, and her eight-year-old sister, Alijandra scratch out a meager life with their parents. Their home is a shack deep in the lands of the Diheneh, the indigenous people, far from the family’s former country of Ysparria. And they find a small dragon. And the second book continues the story.


Jan:   What are you writing now? Will you write a third book for the series?
Kenton:    I don’t anticipate writing a third Dragontamer’s Daughters; the two books tell the whole story of the two girls and Pearl, at least for now.  I’m currently writing Lost Dogs, a young adult science-fiction novel set on present-day Kent Island, about two dogs who witness the end of the human race. 

Jan:   What was the inspiration for your young adult series featuring girls and dragons?

Part 2 - Stormcaller
Kenton:     Dragontamer’s Daughters started off as fairy tale I wrote for my daughters, who were 9 and 4 at the time.  As they grew, I kept expanding and rewriting the story, until it became 600 pages across two books.  
Jan:    What have you learned from the process of writing, publishing, and marketing to young adults?
Kenton:    I’ve found that there is a need and a desire in the young adult market for honest, original works.  There are many, many young adult books published every year, but a lot of them are derivative, chasing after Harry Potter or Twilight or Hunger Games.  Young-adult readers are always looking for something new and different, and my goal is to give it to them.

Jan:    You have chosen to work with CreateSpace to produce your books. How has that worked out for you? What are the

advantages and disadvantages?
Kenton:    I’ve been nothing but pleased about working with CreateSpace.  It was very easy to upload and format my books so that they would look just as good as traditionally-published works.  By using CreateSpace, my books are automatically available on Amazon, and I can purchase discount-rate copies from them to sell at book signings and events.  The only costs I incurred through CreateSpace were printing and shipping of review copies that I ordered during the final editing so that I could see what the physical book would look like.  And even that wasn’t obligatory: CreateSpace provides a digital version of your printed book that you can look at online to see how it will turn out.  
Jan:    How have your interests changed and evolved as a writer since your graduate school days?

Kenton:    Back then, I was all about plot and spectacle.  These days, I’m more interested in characterization.  A lot of sci-fi and fantasy stories don’t have good characters, ones that seem like real people whom you can care about.  So that’s most important to me when I’m writing.

Jan:    Who are among your favorite writers and what are you reading now?

Kenton:    Mostly, I read non-fiction, but my favorite authors are J.R.R. Tolkien (of course), Michael Moorcock, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Jorge Luis Borges, Cormac McCarthy, and Ernest Hemingway.  I’m also a big Shakespeare fan, though of his tragedies and histories over his comedies. Currently, I’m reading Locksmith’s Closet, by Eastern Shore author Paul Briggs.       

Jan:    In December you donated 100% of your profits from your novel to the Navaho Water Project Charity to dig a well to provide clean water on the Navajo reservation.  What was your inspiration for this project? How can interested readers donate to this project?

Kenton:    Dragontamer’s Daughters is steeped in Navajo culture: names, clothing, foods, family relationships, tribal government, religious beliefs, you name it.  Even some passages of dialogue are in Navajo (or, at least my best attempt as a non-speaker).  So when I came across the link to an article on the Navajo Water Project that my cousin Ron Martinez had posted on Facebook, I decided to jump right on it.  Anyone who’s interested in it can visit http://www.navajowaterproject.org/

Jan:    What is the best writing advice you ever received and what advice have you chosen to ignore?

Kenton:    The best advice I ever received was from J.R. Salamanca, a creative writing teacher I had in college.  He taught me to be careful and precise with words, and to rid my writing of unnecessary or weak ones.  The advice I’ve chosen to ignore is to “just write and don’t worry about whether it’s good or bad.”  I used to do that, and it lead to a lot of carelessness and poor writing.  So, it takes me a while to write, but I believe the quality is much better than what I would have produced had I not been meticulous. 
Where to find Kenton Kilgore online

Where to buy in print

============================================== 
About Jan Bowman
Winner of the 2011 Roanoke Review Fiction Award, Jan's stories have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, Best American Short Stories, and a Pen/O’Henry award.  Glimmer Train named a recent story as Honorable Mention in the November 2012 Short Story Awards for New Writers.
Jan at Peggy's Cove - 2013
A recent story was a finalist for the 2013 Broad River Review RASH Award for Fiction, another story was a 2013 finalist in the Phoebe Fiction Contest; another was a 2012 finalist in the “So To Speak” Fiction Contest.  Jan’s fiction has appeared in numerous publications including, Roanoke Review, Big Muddy, The Broadkill Review, Third Wednesday, Minimus, Buffalo Spree (97), Folio, The Potomac Review, Musings, Potato Eyes and others.   She is working on two collections of short stories while shopping for a publisher for a completed story collection, Mermaids & Other Stories.  She has nonfiction publications in Trajectory and Pen-in-Hand. She writes a weekly blog of “Reflections” on the writing life and posts regular interviews with writers and publishers.   Learn more at: www.janbowmanwriter.com or  visit blog:  http://janbowmanwriter.blogspot.com