As I said in my previous post, I got to meet new people thanks to my writing group, The Write Practice. Since they convinced me to get out of my comfort zone, I had the pleasure to interview not only my co-members, but also authors outside of the course. I put aside my fear and reach out to Victoria Griffin, author, professional editor, and owner of Blue Pen Editing.
Q: How did you, Victoria, get into this work?
A: I’ve been writing since as long as I can remember, since first grade when I wrote horror stories and tried to scare my classmate. [In which] I succeeded, and that’s what gets you into it too: when you succeed, when you scare someone, or when you’re successful with it, you think, Oh, I like this feeling. I’m going to keep doing this!
[Now,] I usually write suspense, or literary and suspense [novels], kind of on a sliding scale. In short stories, I go all over the place though, just for fun.
Q: What do you like most about it?
A: That’s a difficult question and an interesting one for most writers because I feel it’s kind of a compulsion to a point. I can’t imagine not writing and what that would be like. I like the feeling of taking something abstract that we all experience but can’t define and making it concrete and relatable. Being able to put into words something that’s a universal experience, when people usually just say “oh, you know what I mean.”
[Making people relate] is the most amazing thing about writing. I always loved in college when we were studying Literary Theory. Reader response theory is so interesting. It’s just so true: every person who reads a book, you’re reading something different. Each person completes it.
Q: What do you like least about it?
This is such an interesting question because it changes. So, if you had asked me this probably six or seven years ago, I would have said editing, which is what I now do for a living.
Extremely interesting. I guess what I like least is probably the way that the business side can impede the creative side. We have constraints that we have to work with for the market. They aren’t always the best thing for the book: you won’t hear me repeating that very often because they are often the best thing for the book, and people like to use that excuse. “Well, you know, I’m just the exception.” 90% of the time that’s not true, but it does happen and it’s frustrating when it happens. Especially when you’re trying to publish something that doesn’t fit into a neat little mold, it can really become a boundary and obstacle. And that’s frustrating.
Q: Where else can I find people who do this work?
A: Like other writers? Other than the obvious Twitter, Internet, that sort of thing, I found a couple of really cool writing groups with Meetup. It’s just really awesome. Not quite as awesome in a coronavirus world, but previously, it was really good for finding local groups.
Thank you, Victoria, for taking the time to meet with me. As always, I appreciate your amazing insight!
Bio: Victoria is an East Tennessee author and editor. Her short fiction has appeared in more than forty publications, and she is represented by Sandy Lu of L. Perkins Agency. As an editor, she specializes in adult fiction and adores literary fiction, speculative fiction, and any work that blends genres. Victoria lives in a cabin with a husky named Rocket and spends her free time backpacking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.