Woman Writer Wednesday: Lucy Woodhull

Welcome to this week’s Woman Writer Wednesday, my new feature where I profile, review or interview women whose words I’d like to bring to your attention.  For today’s post, I interviewed romance/humor/space-opera writer Lucy Woodhull, whose Ragnar and Juliet II: Concubine Boogaloo and original recipe Ragnar and Juliet are available for sale at Amazon, AllRomance.com and Liquid Silver Books.

1. What/who inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, and was good at it in school and stuff.  (“And stuff” — that’s the kind of subtle brilliance I’m unfamous for.)  A few years ago, I began commenting on a Certain Ladyblog and got a bit of a following for being funny.  It made me think well, hrm, self, maybe you could be writing of the funny for to make monies!  Monies = good, my brain concluded.  I love romance as a genre, so I decided to write a funny romance novel.  Thus Ragnar and Juliet was born.  The first pub I sent it to told me it was too funny — I wasn’t allowed to just have a funny romance novel for no good reason!  It must have terribly SERIOUS parts to balance out the funny parts.  I said, “LOL nope,” and kept the book as-is.  I enjoy being edited and getting critiques (how else do you grow?), but I have learned, over time, to respect my voice.  I get further when I trust in myself, and I have more fun.  If I’m not having fun, what’s the point?  I’m not in it to write someone else’s version of a book.  I then submitted Ragnar and Juliet to the magnificent Tina Burns (at that time with Liquid Silver Books) and sold it in twenty-four hours.  Hooray!  I’ve subsequently written a sequel to R&J and a straight-up humor book, and gotten myself an agent for it, so things are proceeding apace.  By “things,” I mean “my plan for universe domination, and also unlimited Cheez-Its.”
2. What do you like most about the genre[s] you write in?
In romance, I love the happily ever after.  This is a part of the genre that people shit on a lot, claiming that there’s no suspense when you know the hero ain’t gonna die when he runs through a hailstorm of bullets to rescue his dog.  But lots of genres are predictable that way.  In a long-running series about a male detective, the dude probably isn’t gonna bite it with three books in and three more sold.  Happy endings are the best!  (Pun intended.)  Life’s a piece of shit when you look at it, so what’s so wrong with reading a book about love and sexy times that you know will end with hearts and flowers?  During the tough times of life, especially, I dig some escapism with my free time, and that doesn’t make me a moron.  Plus:  SEX!In humor, I love the silliness of it, the incongruity, the anything-goes nature of what is possible.  (But I say “anything goes” with an eye to avoiding jokes that are racist, sexist, ableist, homophobic, and all the other “ists.”  When humorists say they can’t make a joke without being an asshole, I say they must not be very good at it.)  I also adore and respect the power of parody and humor to right the world’s ills.  One needs only to look at something like Blazing Saddles to know how powerful humor’s statement can be.
3. What’s the best piece of writing-related advice you’ve received?
My best friend and sometimes-writing partner told me, in the midst of that first rejection and my struggles with the “rules” of writing, to stay true to myself and honor my voice.  And she was so, so right.  When I stopped trying to simultaneously play by the rules and be myself, everything was so much better.  Write what and how YOU love.  It’s the only thing that can possibly keep you going in this soul-sucking journey we call art.I’ll use this gif here, for these are my people.
4. Is there any type of writing you would like to try that you haven’t already?
I would love to write a half-hour comedy or film.  I figure I’ll write books for now until Mel Brooks comes a-knocking to adapt one of them into a film.  What’s the point of dreaming unless it’s big?  Mel:  call me!
5. You’re a fan of satire… tell us why you enjoy it and what you feel its significance is.
Satire is a way to poke fun at the world’s ills, and thereby help to improve them.  It combines humor and activism, two of my favorite things, and when it’s done well, is so damn clever it hurts.  Just look at the way The Onion sometimes blurs the line between reality and satire in such a scary way, you almost can’t tell what’s real.  Especially during an election cycle.  Some folks respond well if you stand up and say, “Hey, racism is bad!” but others will watch Blazing Saddles and get a perspective on race they never had before… all undercover-like while they laugh.  And maybe, ever so slightly, their mind will be changed for the better.
Many thanks to the ever-fabulous Lucy.  You can find her on Twitter here or at her website.

Woman Writer Wednesday: Rachel Lynn Brody

Welcome to a new feature here at ye olde blogge.  In the spirit of Throwing Down the Rope, or at least reaching out a hand from the next rope over, I bring you Woman Writer Wednesday, where I profile, review or interview women whose words I’d like to bring to your attention.  For today’s post, I interviewed playwright, speculative-fiction author and anthology editor Rachel Lynn Brody.

1. What/who inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always loved reading, and writing came as a natural outgrowth of my love for storytelling. My mom was responsible for getting me to apply for my first paid writing gig, which was as a correspondent for the teen section of The Buffalo News, my freshman year of high school.
2. What do you like most about the genre[s] you write in?
In any genre, the thing that attracts me is the opportunity to explore human reactions. All my work contains elements of the fantastic, and how that expresses itself changes from genre to genre. In science and speculative fiction, the exploration of our civilization through the interactions of technology and humanity is a theme I tend to visit a lot. In theater, the idea that you’re presenting an experience of subjective consciousness as objective experience lets you leave naturalism behind for deeper human truths. Does that answer the question? (Yes.)
3. What’s the best piece of writing-related advice you’ve received?
A friend and I were talking over Bruschetta on the Lower East Side the other day, and she reminded me of a piece of advice I hadn’t heard in a while: “Know the rules before you break them.” Otherwise, maybe something my MFA supervisor said: “Kill your darlings.”
4. Is there any type of writing you would like to try that you haven’t already?
I’ve just been emailing a guy about a musical, so that’s something that would be really exciting, I think. We’ll see what happens. I’d love to write a video game. That would be something completely new, but in keeping with a lot of my fascination with theater as an immersive experience (for example, Sleep No More’s performance at the McKittrick felt a lot like a live-action video game).
5. For those of us who have never written for the stage — tell us why we should give it a try.
There’s not a lot to recommend stage writing to those who don’t love theater. It’s nearly impossible to make a living, even if you are produced professionally. It’s long and arduous and requires you to spend hours upon hours seeing new and interesting (and sometimes terrible) productions of other plays. On the other hand, if you can step away from your work and enjoy the collaborative process of creating theater, if you can stand up and defend your work while still taking on constructive criticism, getting a play on its feet and seeing actors perform your play so it lives outside your head the same way it lived in it is one of the most rewarding feelings I know as a writer.
Many thanks to Rachel for being the first of what I hope will be many interviewees.  Please stop by her website for more on Rachel and her works.  You can also follow her on Twitter here.