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Author Interviews

Interview with Richard Krawiec

17 weeks

The Art & Craft of Writing!
Saturday, March 8, 2014
9:00 am – 6:00 pm

The 2014 Pamlico Writers Conference will have eleven presenters representing almost every genre of writing. I will post interviews with each of them, beginning with the panelists in the opening session “The Craft of Writing a.k.a., The Labor after the Inspiration”. In the next three blogs, we will hear from Liza Wieland, a novelist and professor at Eastern Carolina University; Dave Wofford, a book designer and graphic designer at Horse and Buggy Press; and Richard Krawiec, a writer, editor, and publisher at Jacar Press. For more information on these presenters, visit our website, www.pamlicowritersconference.org or check out their personal websites.

Richard KrawiecRichard Krawiec was on the opening panel discussion last year. He was so well received we invited him back. He will moderate the panel and begin by discussing refinement of writing, including rewrites, editing, and more.

In the following interview, I asked him to talk about his own experiences in a career of writing and publishing.

Interviewer:

When did you decide and what lead you to become a writer?

Richard:

I always loved to read as a child and so it seemed natural to want to write my own stories, too.  I read everything, without any organized approach.

Interviewer:

Did your writing begin as poetry, short story, non-fiction, etc?

Richard:

It began as novels. When I was in middle school I wrote the equivalent of a Hardy  Boys novel.  After that, in high school, I did a few bad poems but some decent stories.  I continued writing after high school and in college.  I wrote stories and novels concurrently.  Also lots and lots of journalism.

Interviewer:

Which genre would you now consider to be your “passion”?

Richard:

All of them.  Depends on the material—poetry , fiction, plays, non-fiction.  Writing is writing to me.

Interviewer:

Since you teach, does your writing interface with your teaching?

Richard:

I teach writing from kindergarten to Death Row.  At UNC Chapel Hill, in community sites, public schools, and with people who are often excluded from such programming.  My life is integrated in that way, so it’s not a matter of interfacing.  It’s part of the fabric.

Interviewer:

Thank you. I love that answer. Is some, most, or all of your writing conceived through personal experience?

Richard:

Everyone’s writing is conceived to some extent through their personal experience, because even what you create imaginatively occurs only within the parameters of what you know from direct or indirect experience, and how you can extrapolate that out.

Interviewer:

Do you consider commercial value when choosing subjects and characters for your stories or poems?

Richard:

Never.  I never cared about making a living.  I had a passion to try to create literature, something that would last.

Interviewer:

Do you have an agent, and if so, how did you find him or her?

Richard:

At the moment I don’t have an agent because I don’t have a book I want to shop.  From everything I hear, the world of agenting has changed dramatically.  Mostly now it’s all marketing. I’ve had agents throughout my writing career. You find one simply by researching and sending out query letters.  We are living during a time when it is difficult to acquire an agent, although easy to acquire a publicist. Which usually simply means you pay someone money for not getting any more attention for your work than you could get yourself.

Interviewer:

In what ways does an agent improve your commercial success?

Richard:

They know the editors personally.  Deals are done over meals and drinks.  Very few books get purchased without an agent.

Interviewer:

What is your favorite of all your works? Why?

Richard:

Sorry. I can’t choose one.

Interviewer:

If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently?

Richard:

I may have made more of an effort to write some feature articles after Time Sharing came out, when mass market mags would have been open to me.

Interviewer:

I know. It’s hard to anticipate the future. Has there been one person or experience that significantly impacted your career in writing more than any other?

Richard:

Raymond Carver because he was approachable, had no airs, despite the fact that I met him at the peak of his career, when he was considered the best short story writer of our times.  I remember him sitting over dinner, honestly humble but confident of his work, too. Curious to know what everyone else had to say.  He was not a man who had to dominate the conversation.  But when he did speak there was much wisdom in what he had to say, without his trying to be ‘wise’.

Interviewer:

Is there a humorous or touching story you would share about your experience as a writer?

Richard:

When I teach in elementary schools part of my shtick is to have the students, at the end of every class, raise their hands in the air and, as they lower them in fake obeisance repeat as if it were a chant ”Thank you Oh Master”.  Then I have them promise to bring me in some food the next day—“Thank you O Master… Tomorrow I will bring you sushi.”  It’s a goofy moment the kids get a kick out of.

One day I was in the middle of Lowe’s and I heard someone yelling “Oh Master, Oh Master.”  I turned to see, halfway down the aisle, one of the ‘slow’ learners in a class I had taught two weeks earlier.  The boy, to the complete horror of his mother and mystification of the dozen or so shoppers, dropped to his knees and proceeded to bow to the floor, repeating over and over, “Thank you O Master, thank you O Master, thank you O Master…”.

Interviewer:

Thank you, O Richard. We were wise to invite you back, and I look forward to your presentation.

Doris Schneider

Website:  www.pamlicowritersconference.org

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/pwconference2014

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About Pamlico Writers Group

This is a publication of the Pamlico Writers Group, created to help promote and advance writers skills along with expanding our groups membership and reach. Our aim on this site is to keep you our readers and participants aware of upcoming events. Topics covered during the year will be news regarding our annual Pamlico Writers Conference and Competition, co-sponsored with Arts of the Pamlico, discussion of and from our conferences, participants and group news. PWG's Steering Committee has finalized details for our 5th Annual Pamlico Writers Conference on March 17 & 18th, 2017 at The Turnage Theatre, 150 W. Main St., Washington, NC. This year's theme is "Words," Image and Story". Our Friday night keynote speaker this year will be Author, Teacher, Speaker, and Director of Lavenson Studios, Zelda Lockhart. For more information on Ms. Lockhart visit her website at: http://www.zeldalockhart.com/. For a complete schedule of Friday night and Saturday events, go to our website at: https://www.pamlicowritersgroup.wildapricot.org/. Be sure to check back often for more details of this and other events we have planned. The companion juried writing competition submissions opened on January 1, 2017. Winners are announced and an awards ceremony will be held during our Friday night Kick-Off Event. If you'd like more information on guidelines for entries, please go to our website: https://www.pamlicowritersgroup.wildapricot.org/ All registrations for both conference and/or entry into the competition will be made through our web site: https://www.pamlicowritersgroup.wildapricot.org/. Again, see site for complete details. Thank you for visiting! We hope to see you again soon. **If you are a writer interested in finding a critique group or other writers, we encourage you to come and join us. If you life at a distance please don't let that diswade you, we have several members who participate predominately on-line. Our meetings are the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month at 7:00 pm here in Washington, NC at the Turnage Theatre. We would love to hear from you regarding comments or ideas you have for the group. This blog is authored by members of our writer's group. Thank you for stopping by. See you soon, Kaylene Wilson Program Coordinator

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