Interview with Lisa Gundry

This is one of an ongoing series of interviews with contributors to The 3288 Review.

Lisa Gundry is a nurse, an avid motorcyclist and artist. She is passionate about crafting new things from old – whether it’s making poems from memories, a light fixture from a rusty bucket or earrings from scraps of leather. She placed 3rd in the adult division of the 47th Annual Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition. She has written for Rider, a national motorcycle magazine. Her book of poetry, A Crowd of Sorrows was published by Caffeinated Press in November of 2015. One of the poems therein was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She’s in love with Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has lived there for 15 years with two kitties and a Triumph Bonneville. Two of her poems, “Learning to Swim with Daddy” and “Visitation”, were published in our inaugural issue in August 2015.

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3288 Review: When and how did you first start writing poetry? Was there a single moment or event which sparked the creative urge?

Lisa Gundry: I began writing poetry as a result of my work with another poet in my writing group. Her depictions were so clear and focused that for the first time I realized how much could be communicated with a poem. I’d been working on a memoir in essay form for years but couldn’t seem to find a way to tell the story that spoke to all the ways in which I experienced it. Poetry allowed me to capture intense feelings and moods in the way I remember them—like snapshots in time. So in the fall of 2011 I began writing poems about my childhood. Within weeks, this method of documenting my felt experience continued to call out to me and I began writing about other painful life events that needed a voice—my divorce and the death of my father. While poetry isn’t as natural to me as narrative writing or even expository writing, which I do in my work as a nurse, it has become a purer form of writing. I find I can express so much through the use of form, metaphor and meter. Poetry has allowed me to encapsulate an experience and in so doing, has freed me- both in the writing and the sharing of the experience. Continue reading →

Interview with Roel Garcia

This is one of an ongoing series of interviews with contributors to The 3288 Review.

Roel Garcia is a transplanted Texan, now living in Holland, Michigan with his wife and children. Formerly a journalist for the Holland Sentinel, he now teaches composition at Grand Rapids Community College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Some of his work can be read online at roelsramblings.blogspot.com. His personal essay “My Father, the Stranger in the Room” appeared in our inaugural issue.

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3288 Review: How and when did you first start writing fiction? Was there a Eureka! moment, or was it more of a gradual process?

Roel Garcia: My affection for writing fiction began at an early in life, probably by age thirteen. When. I discovered Stephen King’s novels while in junior high and my imagination took off. Since I was interested in horror movies, horror novels complemented that love for being creeped out.

What discovering King did, though, was open a door to writing. Yes, I imaged horror sequences from his novels, but I also started creating some in my head. My own little horror stories started being played out.

It took about a year or so before I actually started to write down some of these tales on paper. These early stories were hand-written either in pencil or pen, usually one a few pages in length. These early stories came out more like a scene rather than an actual complete short stories. It was more exploration than anything on my part.

These early tales lacked character and plot but I kept at it. In the meantime, I kept reading King’s work over the following few years. It is no coincidence that many of these early tales resemble King’s writing. I had not yet developed my own style and imitated what I read. I was getting a grip on writing when at age fifteen something happened that altered my life—due to a virus, I lost a majority of my eye sight. Continue reading →

Interview with Gilbert Prowler

This is one of an ongoing series of interviews with contributors to The 3288 Review.

Gilbert Prowler is a freelance writer and independent filmmaker who has spent most of his life working, looking for work or running down checks. He was born in Brooklyn, New York at a time when you could use a public restroom without having to pass through security, the pornography was usually hidden in the attic by your old man and Pluto was a planet. His travels have taken him to the Alaskan oil fields, upriver past the French Foreign Legion in Africa as well as Hollywood, California, all of which required working in unforgiving environments with an odd lot of sorts. Gil’s credits include NBC’s “The Tonight Show”, BET’s “Comic View” as well as Oscar and Emmy nominated productions. You can find some of his work on his blog, baconplant.com.   He currently lives in California with his wife, three children and a brown lawn. We published his short story “The Walk On Bye” in our inaugural issue in August 2015.

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3288 Review: How did you first decide to be a writer? Was there a particular moment or event which started you down this path?

Gil Prowler: Although there are some “firsts” you don’t forget (and I think you know what I’m talking about) there are others you don’t remember, and deciding to be a writer is one of them. But I can recall when I realized that words could bring about wildly opposite reactions within the same room of people.  When I was about eleven or twelve my parents went on a trip to Europe and I was being warehoused at summer camp. One evening my bunkmates and I presented a skit that I had written in front of all of the campers and counselors at the talent show. Halfway through our seemingly popular act the head of the camp came onto the stage and herded us all off.  He then admonished us about the nature of our content, a string of double entendres, few of which at that age I understood anyway, repeated in front of the mostly appreciative crowd.  Tellingly, my reaction wasn’t one of regret but of accomplishment. Although that happened years ago I think that was when I understood how words, written or spoken, mattered.

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Interview with Morgen Knight

This is one of an ongoing series of interviews with contributors to The 3288 Review.

Morgen Knight is an award-winning horror/thriller writer whose short stories have appeared in numerous publications. She is a mother of two, lover of the macabre, and enjoys vampire hunting. You can find her in Kansas City writing short stories and her novels. Her short story “Lessons of My Brother” appeared in our inaugural issue. You can read more of her work at her website (morgenknight.wordpress.com) or on Facebook.

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3288 Review: How did you get your start writing? Was there a particular event or moment which inspired you?

Morgen Knight: Since childhood I’ve always been reserved and demure—Holding a lot of things in. Writing is an escape for that. It lets me live any way I want, say the things I couldn’t, and in some ways control the outcome. My whole life has had events that fuel my writing. They say “write what you know” and that’s exactly what I do; I just fictionalize it. I grew up writing my feelings instead of expressing them, and now I convey them through fiction.

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Interview with Craig Baker

This is one of an ongoing series of interviews with contributors to The 3288 Review.

In the Tucson, Arizona desert there is a man with dirt in between his toes. He is rarely clean shaven, prefers a backpack to a briefcase, and laughs in the face of danger, so long as it’s at a safe distance, of course. That man is Craig S. Baker; professional freelance writer, editor, and journalist. His first fiction publication, “Wanderlust”, appeared in our inaugural issue. More at www.craigsbaker.com.

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3288 Review: How and when did you get started writing? Was there a moment when you said Yes. This is what I want to do, or was it more of a realization over a period of time?

Craig Baker: I won a Thanksgiving poetry contest in the second grade, of which I can only recall the last two lines: “Crunch, crunch, munch, munch / Mmm mmmm, good.” I don’t remember writing it or writing anything before that, but I remember that I won a very dorky poster of a bear with a slogan hinging on a barely-clever academic slant, which I was simultaneously very proud of and terribly embarrassed by—it was either that or a poster that said “Silence is Golden” with a big pair of red lips in the center. I chose the bear. So, as far as I know, I’ve always been writing, at least for as long as I could read, though I never thought that I could actually make a living at it until I started freelancing a couple of years ago (thanks are due here to my wonderful, beautiful wife, Ashley, for the constant support and encouragement—couldn’t have done any of it without her). I got my B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona because it’s the only thing I really enjoyed studying and, thankfully, my parents were wrong because, as it turns out, some people do get paid to write stuff—they just don’t get paid very much. Ha! Still, these last two years of under-earning have taught me that poor and happy is much better (for me, anyway) than wealthy and miserable so, in short, I’m glad I elected not to go to law school, after all.

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Interview with Dawn Schout

This is one of an ongoing series of interviews with contributors to The 3288 Review.

Dawn Schout’s debut poetry book, Wanderlust, was published in January 2015 by WordTech Editions. More than 70 of her poems have been published in national and international journals. She is the winner of two poetry contests as well as the Academy of American PoetsFree Verse Photo Project and is a Best of the Net nominee. She has a B.A. in creative writing and lives in west Michigan. Two of her poems were published in our inaugural issue in August 2015.

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3288 Review: How did you get started writing poetry? Was there an initial inspiration. or did it grow out of other writing?

Dawn Schout: I wrote poetry occasionally as a child and would write rhyming poems along with short stories and enter them in the open class children’s division at the county fair. I wanted to be an author at a young age, and for many years I considered myself a short story writer (I wrote a lot of short stories while growing up) rather than a poet and aspired to be a novelist. In high school, I took a creative writing class and wrote some poems for that class, and I took poetry and fiction classes in college for my creative writing degree. After college I had my first serious relationship, and when that relationship ended I started writing a lot of poetry on a much more frequent basis. It was very therapeutic for me. Now I rarely write stories, and have more than a thousand poems I’ve penned—many dealing with broken relationships.

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Interview with Robert Knox

This is one of an ongoing series of interviews with contributors to The 3288 Review.

Robert Knox is a husband, father, a correspondent for the Boston Globe, a staff writer for the online journal Verse-Virtual, and a blogger on gardening, nature and other subjects. His short stories, poems and creative nonfiction have appeared in numerous literary publications. He was named a Finalist in the Massachusetts Artist Grant Program for a story about his father (“Lost”). His story “Marriage” placed in a fiction competition held by Words With Jam and was published recently in the anthology An Earthless Melting Pot. Another story has been accepted for publication in the upcoming issue of The Tishman Review. Several excerpts from Suosso’s Lane, his recently-published novel about the Sacco-Vanzetti case, have been published in journals. A collection of his poems (Gardeners Do It With Their Hands Dirty) is scheduled for publication in 2016 by Coda Crab Books. His short story “Commitment” was published in our first issue in August 2015.

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3288 Review: When and where did you first start writing? Can you point to a single moment or event which started you down this path?

Robert Knox: Probably the near the end of my first marriage, many years ago. I was young, she was younger, we didn’t know who we were yet. I needed an outlet for well-bottled feelings (sounds like an old vintage). Youthful, painful, feelings of both betrayal and self-reproach. An early course in disillusionment. The need to express those kind of feelings, the deepest, most private sort – they don’t have to be painful, but in my case they were – in some sort of artistic way, to express yourself in some work – I think that’s fairly universal. I began writing poetry then, or writing some words with the self-conscious intention to write something meaningful. Something that I would be willing (at some point or another) to show other people. I wrote poetry for years, published some; then when life happened – happily, for me – I switched mainly to prose. I’ve gone back to poetry recently, taking as my subject my efforts to plant a new perennials garden; a kind of metaphysics of nature, or man-and-nature poetry. Now I’m publishing poems again. But in between I wrote a lot prose both on the job, because I was working for newspapers, and off. I’m writing more fiction now than ever.

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Interview with Sommer Schafer

This is one of an ongoing series of interviews with contributors to The 3288 Review.

Sommer Schafer received her MFA from San Francisco State University in 2013. Her fiction is currently available or forthcoming in Brewed Awakenings II, Glimmer Train, Santa Monica Review, China Grove, Room, A Bad Penny Review, Barge Journal, Eleven Eleven, kill author, and Fiction 365. She lives with her husband and two children in San Rafael, California, and is a member of the online writing collective The Fiction Forge. Her story “A Final Affair” was published in Issue 1.1. Visit her online at http://sommerschafer.com.

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3288 Review: How did you get started writing? Was there a recognizable inspiring moment or event which started you down this path?

Sommer Schafer: I credit the beginning of my love of writing with two things: my parents’ love of books, and receiving my first journal for my 9th birthday.

The first, because my parents were constantly reading to us; even, I suspect, before we could sit unassisted or lift our heads. Some of my earliest, happiest memories are of plopping down of the ground with a good book or two in hand, and getting lost. What a profound gift my parents bestowed upon us when they gave us the gift of imagination! They also seemed to always love telling a good story. Not necessarily a rip-roarer or something with a beginning, middle or end. They were vignettes about odd family relatives or meandering stories of memories of their youth. My dad’s tended to be funny; often philosophical and honest. My mom tended more toward the dramatic and incredible: that pond on our walk was the magical pond of the moon fairies; when the owls came out at night they hooted magical spells to the bats. We didn’t have a lot of fancy stuff growing up, but I always had available shelves and shelves of books (most of them used), and plenty of conversation. Even before I could string complex clauses together, I was curiously pulling out those tomes by John Irving and Leon Uris; feeling their beautiful dusty weight against my palms and fingertips.

The second, because I really started writing regularly when I got a journal, and I fell in love. Countless journals later, I’m still going strong. Keeping a journal allowed me to “voice” my observations; to work through my own thoughts and confusions; to express, in as much detail as I wanted, my awe of life. From then on out, writing became a way of life, as integral as breathing. It became the one place where I could think and exist uncensored. My greatest wish today, even beyond wanting to be published and read, is that I never lose that unabashed love of the written word, of, as Virginia Woolf wrote, life itself.   Continue reading →

Interview with Emma Moser

This is one of an ongoing series of interviews with contributors to The 3288 Review.

Emma Moser graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English at Westfield State University, and is currently an MFA candidate for fiction writing at Southern Connecticut State University. Her multi-genre work has appeared or is forthcoming at over a dozen venues, including Prairie Margins; The 3288 Review; Yellow Chair Review; Right Hand Pointing; Life in 10 Minutes; Thin Air Magazine; Cheat River Review; The Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle; Zoomoozophone Review; Thoreau’s Rooster; Sweatpants & Coffee; and Fuck Fiction. She is the creator of the blog Antiquarian Desiderium, and also a contributor at Writers Get Together. Emma’s short story “This is How We Mourn” appeared in our inaugural issue in August 2015.

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3288 Review: How and when did you get started writing? Was there a recognizable moment or event which ignited the creative spark?

Emma Moser: The answer to that question is a little complex, because for many years, writing was the childhood dream I’d buried in the backyard and forgotten. It went from writing absurdities about vampires as a ten-year-old to not touching creative writing for almost a decade. I was always an avid classics reader, so even as a kid my standards for writing were very high; I think I discouraged myself too much. It wasn’t until I was 18 that, suddenly, I started to write again. I’d experienced two family deaths in that same year, which left me painfully disoriented. The day my grandfather died, I remember running upstairs and writing every little memory of him I could think of in a notebook. It took days to complete. As time passed, writing (for whatever reason) remained my outlet for processing that depression, for giving voice to the black, tangled mess inside of me. I guess what I was writing was better than my ten-year-old vampire stories, because my college professors began to tell me, “You really need to keep this up.” So here I am, 22, pursuing writing as a dream again. Continue reading →

Interview with Tammy Ruggles

This is the first in an ongoing series of interviews with contributors to The 3288 Review.

Tammy Ruggles is a legally blind photographer from Kentucky whose work has appeared in a number of literary journals, art magazines, and photography publications. She was recently featured in an article on Vox.com. Much of her work can be viewed on DeviantArt. Her photography collection “First View of the Ocean” was published in our inaugural issue in August 2015.

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3288 Review: How did you get started in photography? What was your initial inspiration?

Tammy Ruggles: I was always interested in photography as far back as I can remember. My initial inspiration had to be Ansel Adams and the high contrast black and white landscapes he created. This was when I was young, and he was a household name. This attraction could have been because of the visual impairment I was born with, RP (retinitis pigmentosa), which causes most of us who have it to see better in high contrast.

But it was also because I was surrounded by beautiful scenery in Kentucky, and felt a connection to nature. Given my progressive blinding disease, however, which includes night blindness, I couldn’t pursue or practice photography the way I wanted to, which was in a darkroom, developing and creating photos myself.

This left me taking family snapshots with instant or disposable cameras around the house, and left me putting away my dream of being a fine art photographer, as if into a drawer.

A sketcher and writer from the age of twelve, these are the arts, equal passions, I pursued instead.

Flash forward to 2013, when my dream was revived with my first point-and-shoot digital camera. Applying my art education, and experience as a sketcher, this is when fine art photography began for me.

I’m inspired by nature, family, faith, art–my surroundings in general. Continue reading →