Kim Neville lives near the ocean in Vancouver, Canada with her husband and daughter. Her writing obsessions include fairies, spirits, disappearances and rundown theme parks. She is a graduate of Clarion West, class of 2012. Her stories have appeared in On Spec and Leading Edge. Visit her at www.kimneville.com. Kim’s story “The Fairy Godmother” was published in Issue #17.
Tell us how “The Fairy Godmother” came about.
I attended Clarion West last summer. Our week 2 instructor, Stephen Graham Jones, sent around a story called “The Hitman” by T.C. Boyle, and invited us to write stories using the same structural framework. I was intrigued by the challenge of working within these constraints and still creating something that was entirely my own. I think “The Fairy Godmother” represents who I am better than anything else I’ve written.
You attended Clarion last year. Please tell us the magic formula for writing all the award-winning things. Alternately, tell us what you learned about your writing and yourself during the intense six weeks.
Clarion West broke down a lot of assumptions I had about my writing. For years I’d told myself I was a slow writer. I didn’t really believe I’d be able to pull off a story a week, but it happened. As it turns out I work well under pressure. I also learned to trust my process and not to fear the mid-draft panic that I now realize always hits right before a breakthrough. I came out of the workshop a lot more comfortable with my voice and style. And with seventeen amazing new friends. That support network is the most important thing I gained by far. We carry each other in so many ways.
Do you still have that can of beans?
Of course! It will be moving to its ninth home this summer. I expect to be buried with those beans.
What is currently in your cd player/iTunes/Spotify/8 Track?
At this very moment? Sweet Jane by Lou Reed. Also heard as I answered these questions: Martha Wainright, Aretha Franklin, Portishead, and Beck.
What is your favorite Bradbury story/novel?
I’m terrible at declaring absolute favorite anythings. But I remember being fascinated and terrified by Something Wicked This Way Comes when I was about ten years old. That book probably influenced me more than any of his other works.