Issue 035 Author Interview: Erin Wagner and “To Walk for the First Time”

Get your Issue 035 author interviews right here! Today we chatted with Erin Wagner about her story “To Walk for the First Time.”

LSQ: Your story starts with an attention-grabbing first sentence. Do you have a secret for thinking up good first sentences?

Erin: There is, of course the age-old writing advice: start in medias res. My first sentence is a gesture towards that. Though it is reflective and nostalgic in tone, the sentence cuts to the core of the story: the juxtaposition of age with experiences often associated with youth or beginnings. The contrast is deliberately provocative. So, start in the middle and start with formal or plot tension (easier said than done in most of my drafts!).

LSQ: What was your favorite part about writing this story?

Erin: It is a story that dwells in detail to evoke the slow and constant wait of the protagonist–to wake up, to take the throne, to escape into freedom. I enjoy writing in this reflective, weighty style of prose.

LSQ: It’s rare to see stories about an old woman liberating herself. What inspired you to write this kind of story?

Erin: It was initially inspired by a call for stories very similar to that of your next issue (Crones). So the story was a deliberate attempt to centralize an unlikely (unlikely, because underused) protagonist. It was a rewarding experiment and allowed me to centralize a population usually marginalized.

LSQ: Do you have any plans to continue our narrator’s journey? What do you foresee in her future?

Erin: I wouldn’t be opposed to the idea of returning to her story. I can imagine a quest of sorts, as our narrator experiences life in a way she has never had the chance to do before. She would meet new friends and enemies, eat new food, observe new landscapes. And, of course, face new challenges from her unique perspective. Who knows what lies outside the castle?