Another awesome personality behind ‘Unburied Treasures‘ is Erika Wilson – author of ‘The Great Wheel’ and editor of the anthology. Really, she was the light that glued us together, the energy that kept this project alive. Thank you, Erika, without you, we wouldn’t even have an anthology.
Awww [blush] it’s lovely for you to say, but it felt like the easiest, smoothest project I’ve ever been on. Everyone was lovely and professional, and you did all the real work. I had a great time, and it turned out wonderfully.
As opposed to fake work? Ha! Everyone did an awesome job, but we’re here today to learn more about you. So tell us: who is Erika Wilson?
In the evenings, I slip on my cape and cowl and abseil down buildings, righting wrongs and fighting injustice. On the weekends, I use my Transmogrifier ™ to investigate mysteries of the cosmos. It also functions as a time machine, but I don’t use it that way much – it’s too tempting to keep tinkering. On Thursdays, I like to get frozen yogurt and slowly eat it while pondering the distances that divide us from one another.
You’re a very busy lady! Remind me to borrow your Transmogrifier one day.
Now, I just adore the fairytale feel in your story The Great Wheel – majestic leopards playing scrabble with idioms and motherly yetis, the sense of desolation and madness of a passion in search for the truth… So much charm bursting in one tale. Tell us what inspired you to write this tale.
The Great Wheel is one of my favorite stories. It actually started as a 5-things challenge on our online writing site. One of the five required elements was ‘exotic animal’ and I chose a snow leopard. Having it draw in the snow with its tail was one of those ideas that keeps me writing because it’s so much fun to make this stuff up.
You have written many short stories and poems. Where can we read some of your work?
Your stories always leave me with a sense of wonder, questions about deeper meaning of and in life, or sometimes just give me the best chuckle ever (the exploding frogs, remember? :D) Can you share with us your writing process? How do you start a story? What motivates you to write one?
I had so much fun with my exploding frog stories, I’d love to write more someday. How do stories happen? Oh my, so many different ways. The exploding frogs actually originated as a silly line from our friend, Indigo. I thought it was terribly funny, and ran with it, and just kept running. So let that be a warning – watch what you say in front of me, because it’s all fair game.
We went to Capclave together with our dearest friend Lauren Forconi. I remember the three of us huddling in your study, taking turns narrating excerpts of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax and our stories. And meeting Sir Terry Pratchett in the flesh! How awesome was it?
Yes we did! That was so amazing to have you both there with me, trying out the various writing workshops. I still remember the story Lauren’s wrote about the god bound to the earth by a tangle of brambles. Everyone reacted to it – including one of the editors on the panel.
Oh yes! Was it part of her famous zombie love story? That’s a really cool tale, and she did a great job with the narration, didn’t she?
Yes! We also got to practice reading our stories with Catherynne Valente and all of us were mesmerized by your lovely Ozzie accent 🙂
Haha, yes, that was funny. This while I thought to myself: “Whoa, I’m in a movie!” because everyone talked in American accent! So have you done more conferences since?
I’ve not done many. I’m too shy to talk to anyone, so I tend to ghost around on the fringes when I go by myself, which is a rather lonely business. I did meet someone I knew at the last Capclave, which was a pleasant surprise. He and his wife have several books out – separately and together, and work immensely hard as a writing team. Very inspiring.
You’re an inspiration yourself, girl. I remember you wrote, produced and starred in a short film for Tropfest back in 2011, which is really cool! Tell us about that project.
Oh gosh, the Key movie! What a wonderful experience that was – from our planning sessions in Hawaii to your amazing soundtrack. It didn’t win anything, of course, but it was so incredible to have all my friends pitch in to help out in so many ways. You, who gave me the idea and encouragement, along with the music. Paul, who lent me the equipment. Elizabeth, who filmed me early on an excruciatingly cold Sunday morning. Derek and Erin, who did everything else with smiles and infinite patience.
I learned a little about making movies, but an enormous amount about how generous people can be, and how willing they are to help make someone else’s creative vision a reality. Such a simple movie, but it’s one of the most satisfying projects I’ve ever done. This anthology is another. It’s been lovely to be a part of it, and to work with so many people I truly like and admire.
Aw, but I wanted to do much more with you on 263. Sad that I’m so far away!
The movie wasn’t our first collaboration, though, if you recall. Years ago, I played around with some illustrations for one of my fairy-tale stories, and out of the blue, you offered to put it together into a web-based format – and you added music to it, too! It’s posted on your site. That was when I was first amazed by the generosity of other artists. We all want the world to be filled with words, sights and sounds that inspire and delight us. What better way than to help others get their wonderful ideas out there, where the rest of us can enjoy them?
Oh yes, I remember your awesome Isle of Glass. The main character’s name is Lydia too! I love that story and your illustrations are gorgeous! What an awesome collaboration it was.
Now, there’s an awesome event near where you live in which people dress up in costumes and walk through mud. They outdo each other’s craziness each year, you said. I think you even participated in one. Tell us more about it.
Oh, that’s the Run Amuck! I described it to you when we took our walk around the lake, but I have never participated – sorry to disappoint! It’s a local mud-run held there every Spring, and there are many creative team costumes that are totally destroyed over the course of the race. I have relatives that did one of the truly long and brutal mud-runs, but I’m too chicken to put myself through that! I’ll just sit on the sidelines with a fruity drink and cheer the crazy people on.
Hmm… fruity drinks are always the best. I think I’ll sit next to you and do exactly the same thing. So this brings me to the next question: why are slushies the best thing in the world?
Mmmmm…Slushies…[drifts off into a happy reverie]. As much as I love them, I only ever seem to get slushies when I’m in some tropical paradise, hanging out alongside people I’m having a great time with. So perhaps the truly magic properties of slushies are the happy associations that come with them?
Aww, I agree with that. It really was the connection and energy we shared that time in Hawaii that made anything the best thing ever. And your cat. I adore her, even though she was always unsure about me. It makes sense, cause I’m pretty weird to look at, ha!
Cats! I love animals, though my cat and I are not always on the best of terms. She can be quite vengeful when she feels her rights have been infringed upon. This includes her right to jump on the kitchen counter, her right to food on demand, and her right to swipe her claws at me without warning. She is fuzzy, though, and often amusing.
What are you writing now? What are your current projects?
Right now I’m working on a spin-off from one of Indigo Dylis’ Broken Road stories. A few years ago we were tossing story ideas back a forth and one image in particular really stuck with me. That’s the sort of thing that really gets a story going for me – the ability to *see* bits of it, like watching a slideshow in my head. And Indigo’s settings and characters are so strong and vibrant, it’s easy to be inspired by them. He’s been very helpful and encouraging – making suggestions and answering questions. I’ve past 10,000 words, so it’s going well :).
Being allowed the opportunity to work with creative, talented artists is one of the best things in the world, and you and Indigo, and our other friends have made it possible for me to do that. I really don’t have words for how much that means to me.
That’s lovely, sweet, for me too. So happy to have done it with you. And thanks again for being here and chatting with me today.
Thank you for inviting me and asking such lovely and thoughtful questions. Is there anything else you’d like me to expand on or clarify?
As a matter of fact, yes there is. Cookies… please?
*munch* *munch* Erika’s butterscotch cookies are the best! Anywa, for more about this wonderful woman, visit her blog. Now will you excuse me, I have a whole batch of cookies to devour…