Today, Zu Vincent, author of The Lucky Place, talks with us about her passion for writing.
2k8: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Zu Vincent: I composed my first poem when I was three, and the sheer joy of mixing words with emotions made me decide then and there I was going to write. Even though I didn’t yet know how to put words on paper.
Fueling that, I think, was a passion for language. I fell hard for books when I was really little. I remember my first book—a collection of poems and fairy tales bought from a door to door salesman—I can still smell the ink on those glossy pages and see the fascinating art and mysterious stories.
I grew up writing and when I wasn’t writing I was listening to words in my head. A story ran through me all the time. I “wrote” about everything, rearranging words, events and images until I was pleased with them, as if the whole world needed setting down in a book.
2k8: How did this desire to write become reality?
Zu Vincent: I don’t know if writing is as much a career as a vocation, which means you do it for love even in the leanest times. I started out by teaching myself. Before I could afford my first computer I practiced writing stories on my dad’s old Underwood typewriter, propped on the kitchen table. But I did take a night class early on. It was taught by a caustic, old-school journalist who demanded we publish or perish before the class was over. So I wrote a short story that actually sold. I don’t know who was more surprised, me or the teacher. But I was hooked.
2k8: How has freelancing helped you as a novelist?
Zu Vincent: By interviewing so many people I’ve met a great cast of characters. And in doing research I’ve learned a little bit about a lot of incredible places. I’ve studied art, science, history, building, you name it. I’ve done a lot of traveling. But most of all I’ve studied people, which is a writer’s dream. And in interviews people are so willing to give of their emotional selves if you’re willing to listen. It’s that connection that makes a story come alive. So the fiction writer in me delights in interviewing because it always leaves me knowing a bit more about life.
Coming tomorrow ... details on The Lucky Place and what it's like to write in vignettes!