Interviews by Dennis Zhan 

On Friday afternoon at the &Now festival, I was able to interview three very cool people for their thoughts on writing and publishing. Carl Diehl, Teresa Carmody, and Tantra Bensko. I have summed up their answers in this post.

CARL DIEHL

Q: What do you know about writing and video producing now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
A: Mainly the technical aspects of producing video, such as where all the wires connect and making sure that video and audio feedback do not occur. Setting parameters for one’s work, such as limits on the location of a place to shoot video can actually produce interesting results that one may not have gotten otherwise.

Q: How did you get started with what you do?
A: Father was an English professor who was really into wordplay, and mother was a textbook editor. Always been interested with video, so ended up producing videos as opposed to writing. These videos ended up incorporating language and wordplay into them.

Q: How much time do you spend producing your work versus promoting it?
A: A great deal of promotion is spent during festivals, specifically festivals where the work can be well received and appreciated. Festivals also create a natural deadline which allows the work to be pushed forward and completed, so it is a fair balance. Blogging with collaborators for these works also takes up time, but is very rewarding because of the flow of ideas, which can overcome writer’s block.

TERESA CARMODY

Q: What do you know about writing now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
A: That ingrained writing talent is not all there is to being able to write well. The mechanics of writing and how it works can be learned and mastered with a great deal of practice. That is the most important thing.

Q: For new writers, what is the best way to get published?
A: New writers should not necessary feel a rush or anxiety to get published. Instead, they should first hone their craft and make sure they can write whatever it is that they want to write. Then afterwards they can find a way to get published, either by looking at online journals or other places to submit their writing.

Q: Has your work ever been publicly criticized and how did you deal with it?
A: Yes, and you deal with it by growing thick skin and learning to accept differences among people.

Q: What are you working towards right now, what are your aspirations?
A: Finishing a novel, and getting ready to publish it. It is called “If I Could Be Her, This Would Be Be: A Novel”

TANTRA BENSKO

Q: What sort of message or feeling are you trying to convey to your audience with your works?
A: These works are experimental fiction pieces, and they are about getting on touch with oneself, going beyond what is physical and entering into the more spiritual aspects of being.

Q: What do you know about writing now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
A: The understanding of where books were headed in the future, with all the new formats and features now being considered literature.

Q: As a writer, how much time do you spend writing vs. promoting what you’ve already written?
A: More time is spent on promoting, but in an indirect way. Most of it is spent online, and promoting other people’s works, which redirects it back to promoting personal works.

Q: What do you do to support yourself and your writing?
A: Teaching college courses in experimental fiction.

Q: Has your work ever been publicly and how do you deal with it?
A: Yes, and just simply laugh it off.

Q: What are you working towards right now, what are your aspirations?
A: On a couple of manuscripts and spreading lucid fiction. Expansive writing into consciousness, spirituality, and questioning existing perceived truths.

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