5Qs with Patricia Russo

1.) When did you first consider yourself a writer?

A.)  When I was fifteen.  That's when I decided I was going to be serious about it, and that serious about it meant finishing stories I started and then submitting them, and resubmitting them when they got rejected, which at first was, naturally, always.  I first wanted to write when I was in the third grade.  I was already reading way above grade level, and was fascinated by words.  I started learning how to put words together then, in the third grade.  Got some attention for my writing in elementary school, but it was when I was fifteen that I got, as I said, serious.

2.) What is the hardest part of writing?

A.)  Liking the story after it's done.  Not being totally in despair at how bad it is once it's there in print or online.  Very rarely do I like anything I have written.  I always see what I wanted to be there, but isn't.

3.) How did you feel upon publication of your first completed project?

A.) Excited, but I had no one to be excited with me or for me.  My parents had no clue of what I was trying to do, or how important it was to me.  I found the acceptance letter when I came home from high school.  My mother and aunt were there -- they looked at me, nodded, made some casual comment, and went back to their conversation.  I went back to my high school, running part of the way, in order to catch my English teacher, Mrs. Weiland, to show her, because I thought she would understand.  But by the time I got there, she was gone for the day.  The next day I showed her the acceptance letter, and she was really happy for me.  But by then my own excitement had faded...:-)  Mrs. Weiland died young, only a year or so after I graduated.  I wish I could have shown her Shiny Thing.

4.) In addition to writing, what else are you passionate about?

A.)  I am not quite sure how I'm going to interpret 'passionate' in this answer.  I am angry about a lot of things.  I can get very up in people's faces when health and safety issues are involved.  I believe that the greatest good is to reduce pain.  So perhaps I am passionate about that -- in a violent, aggressive way...:-)  If passionate means, 'what do you really like' -- well, Doctor Who, and the band New Model Army.

5.) If you could ask any author, living or dead, one question, what would it be?

A.)  I don't know if I would ask anybody anything.  ("Dear Mr. Dickens, so what the hell was the ending of The Mystery of Edwin Drood supposed to be?" :-)  I might want to tell a couple of people something.  Like Emily Dickinson -- that her work would be not only remembered and honored, but that people would be amazed by her genius.  (Not that she would believe it.)  Or Keats -- No, man, your name was not writ in water.

If I can stray from writers to artists (though she counts as both), I would ask Emily Carr, the Canadian artist, something:  How?  How did you do it?  How did you suddenly make that cognitive leap late in your life and do work that was so much more than the work you did when you were younger?  She is one of the few examples I can think of of creative people where that happened.  -- Of course, she would say, "I don't know.  It just happened."  Being of a certain age myself, I keep hoping for that cognitive leap...

Bio: Patricia Russo had her first professional short story, “True Love”, published in 1987 in the anthology Women of Darkness: Original Horror and Dark Fantasy by Contemporary Women Writers, edited by Kathryn Ptacek. Since then her work has appeared in Lone Star Stories, Electric Velocipede, Abyss and Apex, Talebones, Tales of the Unanticipated, Not One of Us, in the anthologies Corpse Blossoms and Zencore, and in many other fine publications. She is that rarest of authors: she has no website, no blog, nothing on the internet to indicate that she even exists — except for a trail of fiction that reveals the prolific and generous writer behind the name.(From Bio posted at Papaveria Press)

Shiny Thing blurs the lines between fantasy, horror and science fiction. The stories inside are suffused with magic and danger, and will sometimes chill you to the bone. With a delicate touch Patricia Russo reveals humanity in all of its foibles and glorious moments, in settings that range from the perfectly average to the absolutely sublime. You can never be quite sure who is the monster and who is the heroine, and sometimes there is no divide. The characters are people you know, yet they do things you would never expect, and within each story there is one shining thing that somehow changes them all. You know the old saying — all that glitters is not gold. Well sometimes, all that is gold does not glitter. In Shiny Thing, your life depends on being able to tell the difference.

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