Cynthia Reeser is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of Prick of the Spindle. She writes poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and literary reviews. Her poetry chapbook, Light and Trials of Light (Finishing Line Press) and an award-winning nonfiction book on publishing for children, were released in January 2010. Her book on publishing for the Kindle is anticipated in late 2010. Cynthia is also a visual artist, whose work can be seen at www.cynthiareeser.com and on various book covers. She is the founder and publisher of Aqueous Books.
What books do you feel closest to?
Very nicely phrased–“closest to”–I do have some books that I’ve read and immediately felt a connection with, and they aren’t necessarily books that I’ve read over and over again, just works that struck a chord and stuck with me. I guess those would be Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel, anything by Peter Ackroyd, At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brien, and The Maytrees by Annie Dillard.
How do you stay creative? What are your tricks to get “unstuck?”
I don’t find myself getting stuck anymore; oddly, I did sometimes feel stuck until embracing a more comprehensive view of creativity. For me, that’s painting, editing, graphic design, writing, and music (playing and composing). When I’m doing all, each one feels less shackled down and freer to be itself, if that makes any sense. If I stall on one thing, I go to the next, but after a while of doing it every day, you find a flow and continuity that comes with focus on the thing itself (the art, the craft, the structure, or design) rather than the doing of it.
What are your favorite websites and resources for writers?
NewPages, Duotrope, Zoetrope, Meg Pokrass, other lit journals, Fictionaut.
Talk about “How to Write and Publish A Successful Children’s Book”! What is own story, your background in this world, how did it come about? Tell us about how the book has done!
How to Write and Publish a Successful Children’s Book: Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply was my first published book and was a finalist in its category (writing and publishing) for the 2010 Indie Book Awards. It was released through Atlantic Publishing, a publisher that I can’t say enough good things about. That book was written under contract, so I was on a grueling schedule which involved me living and breathing the manuscript. I was at it every day, all day, without fail, from first thing in the morning until well after I’d tucked my children into their beds at night. It was very well worth the effort, and something I am proud of.
Tell us about Aqueous Books!
Aqueous Books came to me in a dream (no really, it did) as if it was meant to be. I’m loving every minute of it, and it feels like a natural next step. Right now, I’m spending my time in reading and acquisitions, print specs and editing, designing and contracts, marketing and publicity. I have a feeling that when I stop to take a breath and look up, I will start to see what I’m building. I’m like a kid with a giant Lincoln Log set, completely engrossed in building a fortress. To me, that’s what life should be like.
What else (as if this isn’t enough!) is happening right now in your (publishing/writing) world that you would like to share?
Well I just built this website for an awesome collaborative flash fiction collection (Naughty, Naughty) by one Meg Pokrass and her sidekick Jack Swenson… Other than that, waiting for my next publication to release from Atlantic Publishing, planning the reading for AWP, and editing/web/graphics for the next issue of Prick of the Spindle, which is due out Sept. 23. I’m also thinking lately it’s about time I went back for a master’s degree, so am taking steps toward that goal, slowly but surely. I finished a new painting this weekend and started a new one, and just got my Yamaha keyboard hooked up to my computer, so now, it’s anybody’s guess.
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 an editor at Smokelong Quarterly, and her stories and poems have been published widely. She blogs at http://megpokrass.com.