Hey everyone! I have a superb interview today. I know it’s taken a bit of time, but it’s up! I got a chance to interview Anne Leigh Parrish. She has won many awards for her books – her first publication appeared in the August 1995 Virginia Quarterly Review. “All The Roads that Lead From Home” won first place in American Short Fiction. Her main focus, when it comes to writing, is the language and the characters. I think this is one thing that stood out because not all stories need to be led by a plot!
Anne was kind enough to give up some of her time to answer the questions. I learnt loads from this interview alone, and I hope you do too!
Enjoy and do leave comments! (I use exclamation marks too much – apologies).
Why did you become a writer? Was there an event/inspirational figure or ambition that pushed you in that direction?
I was drawn to writing initially through a love of language, and a sense that language possesses a musical quality. Later I became strongly allied to and fascinated by a story’s arc, and causing a change in understanding, either for the reader herself or in the mind of a central character about her situation and circumstances.
Why did you choose this genre – what was most appealing about it and most difficult?
I can’t really take any genre that is not literary fiction seriously. That’s not as arrogant as it sounds, let me be clear about that, if I may. I think historical fiction has merit; so do mysteries; crime novels, even the occasional romance novel, those these tend to be my least favorite. But my passion for literary fiction stems from its reliance on language and character, rather than on plot.
The challenges are ones of subtlety – how to lead the reader to a point of understanding without being overly blunt or obvious.
What is your goal when you begin writing a story? The sort of emotions you want to the reader to feel when reading your book?
I think of a novel as a long drawn out conversation, a chance to spend time in another sensibility, a way to acquaint the reader with issues and experiences they may not have been in contact with in their personal lives. I want readers to see the value in the integrity of the people I write about, to underscore that every human being is a work of art and worthy of respect and consideration.
When do you find the best time/place to write?
When I’m not traveling, I always write in my home office. Morning is often the best time. When I’m on the road, I find a comfortable spot on my laptop.
If you were to choose a favourite book you have written, which would it be?
Of course, I love them all, but I have to say my second book, a collection of linked stories about the Dugan family in upstate New York, Our Love Could Light The World, is my favorite. In fact, my forthcoming novel, The Amendment, which appears this June, features the mother from that collection, Lavinia.
What is your favourite book you have read and do you have a favourite author?
I have no one favorite book or author, but I’ve got a pretty select list of those at the top: Rachel Cusk; Louise Erdrich; Elizabeth Tallent; and Alice Munro.
Your advice to prospective/new writers trying to break into this field?
Be persistent; hone your craft; get good feedback – commentary that teaches you something about how you are approaching a story and how you might do it differently; don’t let years of rejection deter you, no matter what.
Oh, and of course, my smaller questions…
Favourite colour: Purple
Favourite flower: Iris
Favourite food: Chocolate
Favourite day: Friday
If you were to create your own Fantasy World, how would you describe it? One where all I had to do was write, paint, play my piano, read, wander around galleries, and hit the gym
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Connecting with the souls of my characters
Do you have a personal motto? Never give up, never give in
Anne’s new novel, The Amendment, will be out this June 2018, so keep a lookout for that!
To find out more about Anne Leigh Parrish, you can visit her website at www.anneleighparrish.com and do follow her on Twitter – @AnneParrish
I hope you all enjoyed the interview! Don’t forget to Like, Share and Subscribe 🙂 Check out past interviews, and prepare for more to come.