Terrie Leigh Relf: What are your writing rituals?
Teri Santitoro: Usually, I daydream. Seriously. I daydream about a scene, and what happens within that realm, then I write what I’ve seen. Not always, but usually.
TLR: How do you prepare your space for these activities?
TS: I have no preparation for my space. When I’m ready to write, I sit down at my computer (or with a notebook) and write.
TLR: What genres do you write within?
TS: I mostly write SF stories and poetry, but I’ve also written historical fiction and drama.
TLR: What intrigues you about these genres?
TS: I especially love the freedom allowed by science fiction. You can write about anywhere, anytime, anyone, anything. There are no real rules. Anything goes as long as the idea is good, the characters are fully fleshed out, and the plot is believable.
TLR: Do you have a day job? If so, how do you balance your creative and work time?
TS: Yes, unfortunately. In recent years, it’s been really hard to find that balance, and my creativity has suffered. My day job is tedious and draining, and by the time I get home, I am wiped out. I haven’t written much lately.
TLR: What tips do you have for other writers?
TS: DON’T STOP! Once you stop, it’s hard to find time to get started again. Pay attention to your continuity! Nothing’s worse than stories with major plot holes!
TLR: What are your thoughts on the creative process in general and your creative process in particular?
TS: In general, I find the creative process can be SO elusive when overshadowed by day-to-day drudgery, but when the creative juices are flowing–go with it!
TLR: Where do your ideas come from?
TS: Sometimes from dreams or daydreams, and sometimes from that mysterious thing called Divine Inspiration.
TLR: What inspires you?
TS: Character flaws. I love a story about an individual that is imperfect, who makes mistakes.
TLR: Intrigues you?
TS: The mysteries of anything alien or exotic.
TLR: What are you working on now?
TS: A Western/vampire story.
TLR: Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years? Ten?
TS: Depends entirely on retirement from my life-sucking day job. <grin>
TLR: What challenges have you faced as a writer?
TS: Writer’s Block.
TLR: How did you meet these challenges?
TS: At first, I took someone’s advice and chose a word from the dictionary, and wrote a story about it. It actually worked! However, it wasn’t a permanent cure. . .As I respond to these questions, I’m still having a horrible time with that Western/vampire story. Good ideas, but no idea where it’s going.
TLR: Are you currently, or have you ever been, in a writing group?
TS: I did belong to Word Wizards and the Scifaiku List online years ago, but my participation kind of fizzled out with my involvement in other projects.
TLR: What are your thoughts on writing groups?
TS: Writing groups can be a great catalyst to getting motivated and staying motivated, as long as you have a thick skin!
TLR: I’d love to hear about your networking, marketing, and promotional experiences – including tips for other writers.
TS: I’m definitely NOT a salesperson! I did network my book (The Saint and the Demon, with Ron Sparks) by having a book signing, and I also did a “Meet the Authors” thing at our local Winterfest, but the venue–although it was a library–was the wrong one for science fiction–most of the authors were from Highlights for Children and wrote children’s books, so the “fans” who showed up were only interested in Y/A and children’s books. So, as you can see, I’m not a very successful marketing/promotional person! My best advice to aspiring authors is to get a publisher who handles all that!
TLR: Since you’re a fiction writer, who are your favorite characters? How did they come into being, and what do you love – or loathe – about them?
TS: Wow, what an awesome question! My favorite characters are Cutter Steele (from The Saint and the Demon),who came into being as a younger version of a character dreamed up by Ron Sparks, and he was therefore defined by Ron’s older version. I had to grow the character along – from my young edition – to where he could eventually BECOME the man of Ron’s vision. It was a fun challenge.
My other favorite character is Crewman Crick (from a short story called “Rivalry”), and the challenge was writing about someone with NO gender! I think that the basic assumptions we all have about gender can put forth certain problems, not only to the writer, but to the reader as well, so that was also a fun topic, and I think Crick became a likable character.
TLR: What poetic forms do you love?
TS: My favorite forms of poetry are all MINIMAL. I love the short poetic forms because they challenge the writer to capture moments in time in as few words as possible–the exact opposite of my other favorite form of writing–the novel!
TLR: Anything else you’d like to add that I haven’t asked?
TS: Only that the creativity involved in writing is similar to that required to illustrate.
TLR: Thank you, Teri, for creating the time to be interviewed. Perhaps you’ll also agree to an interview about your art and illustration! Be sure to read her bio – and read and submit to Scifaikuest and the other Alban Lake Publications!