Monsters, Memories, and Mythmaking

When I  attended Readercon last month, I caught up with Gil Roth, who runs Virtual Memories, one of my favorite podcasts about books and writers. Gil had attempted to interview me for the show last Fall when I was in the NYC/Philadelphia-area, but after losing my voice and hopping from plane to bus to train to subway, we rescheduled. We had our opportunity for a retake at Readercon (as part of his 2-part Readercon 2013 mega-podcast).

Part 1 features  John Crowley and Scott Edelman, and includes a wonderful discussion about fairies, zombie-fiction, storytelling tips, and writing challenges.

“One of the most amazing things about writing to me is that, even though you’ve read, and heard, and seen thousands of stories, when you sit down to write one, you have no idea how to begin!” –John Crowley

Part 2 features Theodora Goss, Nancy Hightower, and me. This from the Virtual Memories site:

First, Theodora Goss talks about her new accordion-shaped novella, The Thorn and the Blossom, what writing contracts taught her about writing stories, why most classic literary monsters were female, and the joys of coffee in Budapest. Then (52:00), Valya Dudycz Lupescu explores the joys of Growing Up Ukrainian in Chicago, the role of folklore and myths in her fiction, and how every immigrant wave has to choose what it holds onto when it lands in America. Finally (1:15:00), Nancy Hightower tells us why she gave up Colorado for NYC, how she made the transition from teaching the grotesque to writing epic eco-fantasy, and how we learn the cost of wilderness.

The second part of the Readercon 2013 Special features conversations with (from left): Nancy Hightower, author of Elementari Rising; Theodora Goss, author of The Thorn and the Blossom: A Two-Sided Love Story; and Valya Dudycz Lupescu, author of The Silence of Trees.

It was wonderful to be in the company of these two intelligent, creative, and talented writers all weekend at Readercon, and I enjoyed listening to their interviews as much as I enjoyed chatting with Gil.

In her interview, Theodora speaks about the joy of conferences and conventions like Readercon. I’m new to the scene, but I wholly agree. Cons allow us to engage other writers in a social setting, to discuss everything from coffee to craft.

Cons are an oasis of sorts, they create the opportunity for community to happen in a physical place, because for most writers, the work is solitary. Even the internet, while a lifeline for many and an invaluable tool for connection, is not the same as sharing a meal, or sitting in a hotel room drinking wine with friends as the sun comes up. Those become the memories many of us hold onto when we’re back alone in front of our laptops and notebooks, facing blank pages and beginning again.

Listen to the podcast and check out the other episodes of Virtual Memories at:


Published by Valya

Valya Dudycz Lupescu has been making magic with food and words for more than 20 years, incorporating folklore from her Ukrainian heritage with practices that honor the Earth. She’s a writer, content developer, instructor, and mother of three teenagers. Valya is the author of MOTHER CHRISTMAS, THE SILENCE OF TREES, and the founding editor of CONCLAVE: A Journal of Character. Along with Stephen H. Segal, she is the co-author of FORKING GOOD: An Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of The Good Place and GEEK PARENTING: What Joffrey, Jor-El, Maleficent, and the McFlys Teach Us about Raising a Family (Quirk Books), and co-founder of the Wyrd Words storytelling laboratory. Valya earned her MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her poetry and prose have been published in anthologies and magazines that include, The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, Kenyon Review, Culture, Gargoyle Magazine, Gone Lawn, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium. You can find her on Twitter @valya and on @valya

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