Let’s get the logistics out of the way – what is your name, where are you from and what is the title of your short story in the upcoming Running Wild Press Anthology?
I’m Laura Nelson Selinsky. I live outside of Philadelphia, but I grew up in New Jersey, and so I can be a little –uhm– hard to push around, as Jersey girls are wont to be. The title of my short story is Seawall.
What started you on the path to writing?
I came to writing through a childhood as an avid reader. I especially enjoyed creative writing- poetry, short stories, and eventually novels. As an elementary schooler, I even composed an “opera” and dragooned my sisters into performing my libretto.
How did you come up with the title of your short story? Where did the idea come from?
The story is named “Seawall” after the seawalls I saw raised by shore dwellers and razed by the Atlantic Ocean, year in and year out. On the Jersey shore, the cycle of destroying dunes and raising walls is currently oriented to re-establishing nature dunes. But I’m a firm believer in the cyclical nonsense of human behavior- we’ll flatten those dunes and build those seawalls again.
If you could give a quick log line for your story in Running Wild Press Anthology – what would it be?
A mother and daughter, divided by relational walls, are reunited after the father’s death leads to mutual revelations of youthful indiscretion.
What has been one of the most rewarding experiences of your writing career?
My most rewarding writing experience was writing a lead article for Advise, the magazine of National Honor Society and Student Council advisors. In all 50,000 copies, I got to say that academically talented autistic students, like those whom I teach, deserve the same recognition and opportunity as neuro-typical kids.
One of the biggest challenges?
Time. Like every writer, I struggle to find time to write. But for me that curse only lasts for ten months of the year. The blessing of a school teacher’s schedule is the two month summer break when I’m not prepping six classes, coaching performance poets, and so on.
Do you have a preferred medium or genre that you like to write in?
Short Story, blogs, flash fiction, novel writing, freelance writing? Is your writing comedic, dramatic, thriller etc. My writing is all over the place… nonfiction, short drama, flash fiction, short stories, and novels. I love writing science fiction and fantasy. If there is a commonality in my work, it’s a thread of theological and mythical influence; that’s appropriate to an ex-clergywoman who now teaches mythology. I love to stretch myself by trying out a new genre or style. For example, the first fiction that I sold was Lovecraftian horror that I wrote to see whether I could fulfill some quirky submission guidelines.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished Vic James’ Gilded Cage, a unique contemporary fantasy, and I’m reading Jonathan Franzen’s Purity. I’m also reading half a dozen books on King Arthur for a project on the Grail knight Galahad.
What is your writing process – are you a pantser or a plotter?
Pantser. I start from a single compelling image, such as the seawall in my short story for Running Wild Press. Then I wander around the image, poking it from different angles and handing it to different characters, until I figure out where the image originated or where it’s going. I’m 180,000 words into a series of fantasy novels based on an image from Celtic knotwork.
What has been most successful for you in marketing your work? Are you doing anything different for 2018 that you haven’t done before?
Marketing is new to me, so all of the work I’m doing for the Running Wild anthology is a learning experience. I’m hoping to develop opportunities for readings; as a marketing tool, readings would allow me to use my acting and preaching training. I love oral reading and routinely use it to teach authors from Chaucer to Cisneros.
What are you working on next?
I am working on those mountains of words from my fantasy series. I make plenty of detours into short fiction to keep myself from despairing of ever finishing the big pieces.
What is the best way for people to connect with you?
I actually love chatting by email, so the best way to reach me is email@example.com . I’m also active on Twitter. My website is in development.
Bio – Laura Nelson Selinsky as raised near the tougher end of the Jersey Shore. During the 1970s and 80s, she held two jobs that she loved: interpretive naturalist for a state park and clergyperson. Laura was the first woman many people saw do those jobs. In middle age, she began pursuing a less unusual career- high school teacher. For seven years, Laura taught alternative school, largely working with adjudicated youths, helping them publish poetry and win public speaking competitions. For the last fifteen years, she’s taught teens with significant learning differences in a small private school. during the 16-17 school year, she coached an autistic, homeless student to victory at the state level in a Library of Congress writing competition, and she took her school’s National Honor Society chapter to a national conference.
In her private life, Laura shares passions for nature, gardening, and especially travel with Barry, her husband of thirty-seven years. This summer’s destinations are London and Iceland. Her adult children, Rachel and Peter, are pursuing academic careers in chemistry and music theory, respectively. Laura doesn’t understand their disciplines, but she still proofreads their papers. Ten years ago, when Laura began writing fiction as a serious pursuit, she didn’t dream that she’d someday actually need an author’s bio.