Today I am honoured to introduce you to Dorothy Place an author who won both the Mendocino Coast Writers Short Story Contest and the Estelle Frank Fellowship.
With no further ado though I let her do all the talking 🙂
How would you describe yourself in one paragraph?
I live and work in Davis, California. Since submitting my first short story for publication in 2008, I have had ten stories accepted for publication in literary journals, one of which won first prize in the Mendocino Coast Writers Short Story Contest and the Estelle Frank Fellowship (2010.), another Honorable Mention in the Southern Gothic Revival Short Story contest (2016).
A fun fact about you?
The amazing part of all this is that I didn’t start writing fiction until I was near retirement (statistician and research director at Sacramento State University.) When I started, I vowed that I would be the Grandma Moses of the literary world. Well, after quite a few rejection slips, I thought the only thing I would be replicating in Grandma Moses’ life was her age. But, just when you think it will never happen, it does. My first literary fiction novel will be released November 30, 2016 by SFA Press.
What made you write in the first place?
I started to write with the same thought in mind as many older women. I was going to write for my grandchildren, tell them about the times in which I grew up. It didn’t take me long to realize that, not only were the stories not very interesting, but the grandchildren would have to be wrestled to a standstill, tied to a chair, and force-fed the crap. Anyway, my first, non-memoir short story was written my last day in Arusha, Tanzania (another story, but I do go on) and published almost exactly as I first wrote it. And I was on my way.
Which author has influenced you and why?
An author has many influences on his or her life, and everyone is valuable and every one counts for something. For me, it is the idea, something to grapple with, turn around in your mine, examine, and develop a story and characters that present the idea to your readers. For my first novel, The Heart to Kill, the idea was planted many years before when, as a graduate student, I saw Euripides play, Medea, the play, in which Medea murders her two children. It had such a profound impact on me that, every time a newspaper or newscast reported a case of maternal filicide, I remembered the words of the Greek chorus in Euripides play, “How does she have the heart to kill her flesh and blood?” That thought led to my first novel in which Sarah, a young law student, tries to understand how her friend, JoBeth, had the heart to drown her son and daughter. The current author I hold in high esteem is Margaret Atwood because each of her novel is unique, well written, and fresh.
Do you suffer from artist’s block and if, what do you do against it?
Writing has become such an enjoyable part of myself that I cannot bear to be away from the computer. It takes a great deal of effort to force myself to dress up, go out, and talk to folks. I love what happens inside my head when I write, and I love the individuals who populate my imagination. I never have writer’s block. As John DuFresne (Louisiana Power and Light) said in his master class for the novel, “there is no such thing as writer’s block. A file clerk never comes to work and says I have a filing block. She just comes in and files.” You are writers, he told us. Sit down and write, even if it’s a letter to your relative. That’s what writers do. They write.
Your advice for apprentice creatives?
I don’t have any better advice for young writers than that. All I can say is observe, observe, observe; read, read, read, and write, write, write.
Thank you very much, Dorothy, for being on “Just Fooling Around with Bee” and for taking part in my interview series.
The Heart to Kill by Dorothy Place:
The literary fiction novel, The Heart to Kill, is a story of a horrible crime, an enduring friendship, and personal illumination. Sarah, a student at Northwestern University Law School, returns to her apartment to find two telephone messages. The first is that she has not been chosen for a coveted internship for which her father had arranged an interview; the second is that Sarah’s best friend in high school, JoBeth Ruland, has murdered her two children. To mislead her father about her failure to obtain the internship, Sarah decides to secure a position on JoBeth’s defense team and, against his wishes, returns to her family home in Eight Mile Junction, South Carolina. She sets out to become a vital member of her friend’s defense team and to regain favor with her father, but is not well-prepared for working in a community rife with chauvinism, malice, duplicity, and betrayal. Her efforts are met with the benevolent amusement of the senior law partner, the resentment of the expert trial attorney, the rush to judgement by the folks of Eight Mile Junction, and discovery of the role of several individuals in the degradation of JoBeth. Please visit the author’s website, www.dorothymplace.com, where you can read more about the novel, how it came to written, and take a virtual tour of Eight Mile Junction.
You like to know more about Dorothy and purchase her books? Please have a look here:
Dorothy on Goodreads
The Heart to Kill on Amazon