Today’s interview features Cathrin Hagey, long-time friend and editor of LSQ.
Hi Cathrin! First off, please tell us a bit about yourself. Have any super powers or secret talents?
I can keep a guinea pig alive for more than nine years. It all started with my first ginger haired piggie named Marmaduke, who loved to swim in our pool (with my hands underneath her, of course). My children, two of whom are now grown, claim that I foisted unwanted piggies on them all throughout their childhoods because I secretly wanted them for myself. I now see how right they are. We still have two guinea pigs; they are seven and six years old, and they will be the last. So sad. We also have a dog and a horse. If my husband was animal crazy too, then I would likely have a zoo.
Can you tell us a bit about what inspired your story in the anthology?
The small bungalow in which I live is towered over by giant evergreens. Over the years I’ve come to think of them as guardians. When I go for long walks with my dog, I pay attention to certain trees that seem to be speaking to me. If I’m ever able to understand them, I might glean some wisdom. As my attention to trees has deepened, I’ve had imaginary visitations from part tree/part human beings. “The Green Woman” by Terri Windling is especially evocative; a framed print hangs beside my bed. “The Wood Children” is the offspring of my love of fairy tales and my love of trees.
What have you been up to lately? Do you have any books out right now? Are you working on anything new?
I am currently working on a gothic/fantasy short story that was previously published as flash fiction. I am also working on my first science fiction story. I’ve been reading science fiction since I was a kid, but I’ve never tried to write it. I’m also working on a piece for the Huffington Post, where I’ve previously been published. This might never get to press, but I want to explore the Shakespearian aspects of one of my favorite TV shows.
I’m always fascinated by where and how people work. What is your writing setup like? Any tools you enjoy using?
This is a bittersweet tale: I’ve always written wherever I could find space. As we raised our three children in a small house, my husband and I would work all over the house, leaving piles of papers, and often losing track of our work. Now I use the former bedroom of one of my daughters. She is a very creative person and spent hours of her childhood making wonderful sculptures from cardboard and paper maché. This room, now my study, is filled with her essence and some of the things she left behind when she moved into her own place. I also have treasures there that inspire me, including an antique toy kitchen. Anything that makes the child in me sing. I miss my daughter terribly, but I feel close to her in that room. I write sitting in a Swedish rocker with my laptop in my lap. When my children were young, I wanted a room of my own. Now the house feels so empty. Maybe I should get more guinea pigs.
Most writers are lifelong readers and books tend to be important to them. What books or stories have most influenced your life (genre stories or otherwise)?
For my eighth birthday, a friend gave me a second hand book—a massive collection of Arabian tales with wild, frightening illustrations. This book unlocked something inside of me. I read all the time, but the next book that knocked me off my feet was Anne of Green Gables, a gift from my Great Aunt Dorothy who was my surrogate grandmother. I read it over and over. Next it was a child’s abridged version of Jane Eyre given to me by my English teacher. After that it was Bradbury’s Illustrated Man and Something Wicked This Way Comes, Shelley’s Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights, Austen, and eventually Virginia Woolf, especially To the Lighthouse. I go back to Woolf, and to the poems of Emily Dickinson, whenever I need to feed my soul. Angela Carter and Neil Gaiman are my latest writerly crushes. I’m also a Bronte freak. Ask me anything.
Where can we learn more about you and your writing?
I’ve had a personal blog since 2010 (http://www.cathrinhagey.com). I have links there to things I’ve written that are accessible online, including a site (currclick.com) where I have educational materials and original stories for children. If you contact me through my personal blog, and mention the LSQ Anthology, I’ll send you a pdf file, no charge, of any one of the currclick.com eBooks.
Thanks Cathrin! We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for you on HuffPost and thank you for sharing your books!
If you’re intrigued by the inspiration behind “The Wood Children”, consider getting yourself a copy of “The Best of Luna Station Quarterly: The First Five Years” and read it for yourself, along with the other forty-nine awesome stories and gorgeous cover art by Julie Dillon.