What inspires you?
BW: Tater tots and monkeys.
KK: I was originally inspired by all the “change the world” bullshit that I got fed in the 90’s. I had some crazy idea that if I wrote an amazing book it would do… something. In reality, though, the best thing that a good book could do is be read by people who may or may not even read it the way I wrote it. That’s fine. And while I do think there’s a solid reason to work on better/more representation for minorities in our fiction, I’m not sure that really inspires me directly anymore. I suspect that I write for the same reason a lot of other people do (even if they won’t admit it) – I like hearing myself talk. I know! I’m not supposed to admit that shit, but it’s true. It’s true for a lot of other people, but they like to cushion it by saying things like, “Oh, I just like telling stories.” As an editor, I’m inspired by people writing awesome stories.
SM: Music inspires me. I enjoy the idea of using elements from a work that someone else created in another medium to give energy to my individual ideas. As a writer, I find music compliments prose; it gives the words a new dimension to me as I write them.
SW: Characters have always plopped fully-formed into my head, and I’ve had to figure out their stories myself. I take a lot of inspiration from my childhood – I’ve grown up a multiracial queer girl in a world that isn’t totally ready for that concept. I fell in love with the sea when I was little. The feeling I got when I stood next to it was like my head had been popped open, and then the world fell inside. A lot of my stories are about coming back to the ocean, reconfronting something that inspires some strong emotion.
As an editor, I like stories that gobble me up and don’t let me go. I think I’m inspired by the authors’ creativity and skill more than anything else. I always get so excited when I find a story that I like, and I still carry a few candles for stories that haven’t been published. I’m also inspired by how different authors will use language, either English or another, to tell their story. It’s all very cool to me.
GL: Good writing inspires me. I really buy into the the line “We read for survival skills.” I want to change people’s perceptions with my writing, make them think. I love it when writing does that to me. As an editor, what I want most in the world is to find stories that make me go, “Whoa, I could never have written that.”
Next time: Storytelling