Please welcome Mrs. Woychik for an interview! Comments *always* appreciated!
NA: Welcome! What drew you to write in the Literary Nonfiction genre?
I think I love writing creative nonfiction because I love reading it. Annie Dillard has been a favorite of mine for years, and I've devoured her books several times over. I simply love that style of thinking, so the writing of it came naturally for me.
NA: Please tell us what Literary Nonfiction is all about?
Someone defined creative/literary nonfiction this way (a wonderful definition, by the way): "Ultimately, the primary goal of the creative nonfiction writer is to communicate information, just like a reporter, but to shape it in a way that reads like fiction." So it's using facts, but then adding a literary or even experimental style to make it something pleasingly different than "just the facts, ma'am." It's a fascinating genre, to be sure.
NA: As you look back on writing On Being A Rat, what challenged you the most, and how did you get through it?
The post persistent obstacle had to be my limited time supply; I had to grab minutes here and there, and with me, a project is never good enough, so I'm sure it took me twice as long as it could have. :)
NA: You talk a lot about nature in your book. What would you say has been your favorite place or national park to visit?
Bar Harbor, Maine, was a favorite, but I've also been hiking, fishing, and rock climbing in several state parks, and that was amazing as well. The arid west I like less so, but give me a mountain, river, ocean, or forest, and I'm happy. And snow is pretty cool too (no pun intended). I and my family lived on the very edge of the Mark Twain National Forest for a couple of years, on 30 gloriously wooded acres. It was tremendous. One of our first dusky evenings there, we encountered the very near call of a mountain lion. Now *that* was thrilling, but I'll save that for another time. :)
NA: Do you happen to own any rats? If not, do you own any other pets?
No rats, but one highly charming barn cat named Lightning, plus sundry farm animals: sheep, chickens, piglets right now, though we've had about everything at one time or another including goats, cattle, llamas, turkeys, ducks, guineas, dogs, more cats - what am I leaving out? No horses, more's the pity.
NA: Can you tell us three things about yourself we readers may not know?
I love Jeeps and Jeeping. I will fight, claw and be misunderstood, hated, in an effort to teach writers to write truly well. My goal is to win at least 3 substantial awards for my first novel, which I'm in the process of writing now.
NA: Do you have future book plans or ideas?
I've just started my first serious novel, an urban fantasy (mentioned in the previous question). I'm also working on a set of linked short stories, another first for me. I'd love to do more creative nonfiction and of course poetry will always be a favorite. I'll be applying for a stint at the fountain of youth so I'll have time to accomplish all my dreams. ;)
NA: Do you have any advice to those aspiring to write Literary Nonfiction?
Like with anything else, read the very best books in that genre you can find. For cnf, Annie Dillard, minimally. And if someone has an inclination, they can pick up my book pretty cheaply on Amazon, or they can jot me a note and I'll send them an autographed copy.
NA: It's been great to have you! Do you have any final words for us readers?
If a writer is really serious about writing, they simply must read beyond their little group of "safe" authors. There are so many accomplished authors out there, with great books that can teach us by merely reading and absorbing their lessons. Read well, write well. I truly believe that's the best advice I can give any author. Thanks so much for the interview, Noah. Your questions were hugely fun!