At Dancing Bear Books we like to chat with the writers around us and see what they're up to. We recently caught up with writer, December Lace and had the chance to ask some quick fire questions.
DBB: Do you find the process of writing agony or ecstasy?
JS: Both! There are days that I can't wait to write down a poem or a concept for a story. Writing is such a joy and a release that it consumes all my thoughts some days and I have to wipe out my entire schedule to accommodate a new idea. I love to create! And when a story or a poem is finished, the sense of relief and accomplishment is overwhelming. But at the same time if a deadline looms near and I'm doubting myself or getting a bad case of impostor syndrome, writing is torture- I sit in my chair and I think nothing I write is good enough and I'll let my people down. Then I feel devastated and I'm always putting an immense pressure on myself to always do more- meet more deadlines, make more stories, submit more poems.
DBB: How would you describe your writing routine?
DL: Mainly mornings. I prefer the quiet and I find that I'm able to get the majority of writing done during this time. It's certainly not limited to this, though. I spend a lot of my weekends writing. I work an office job, so my breaks and lunches are also dedicated to my pieces.
DBB: What’s your insight on traditional and non-traditional publishing routes?
DL: There are benefits and trade-offs to both. I'm for publishing that gets words into the hands of fevered readers like myself. I'm happy that people are still reading, period.
DBB: What draws you to write the stories you write?
DL: I've always been drawn to fairy tales and horror movies. Movies and pop culture are a huge part of my life and I'm constantly seeing scenes and quotes in my head. They inspire me on a regular basis and I love branching out and doing my take on them- sometimes combining the two. When I was really small, I saw Shelley Duvall's Fairy Tale Theatre and it changed my life. What happened was she was filming for "Popeye" and got a copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales and read it while she was shooting. This inspired her to make slightly updated versions of the fairy tales that starred her friends in the movie business. The tales were funny, romantic, scary, and overall just excellent. I loved how she did that and apply that idea to what I do- make retellings of stories I love but with my own voice.
DBB: What are you working on at the moment?
DL: You'll find out soon enough. *wink* I will say that it's a retelling of a classic and it will be far longer than a short story. There is magic involved. And candy. Other than that, I have several poetry pieces due out this year and I'm hoping to have a chapbook or a larger collection published soon as well. I also have quite a lot of short story macabre fairy tales that I'm looking to get homes for. Hopefully you'll see them soon.
DBB: What’s the most important quality to have as a writer?
DL: Dedication. If you keep doing what you love, what you love will gravitate back to you. Plus, you'll build a name for yourself and people notice who shows up/who does work. Dedication to your craft goes a long way.
DBB: Top Tip for writer’s block?
DL: I like watching favourite movies I haven't seen in a while and then writing about a moment I really like. How a camera picked up on a wince here, or what a servant was doing there. Other people's creativity can sometime's be the torch that lights your own. I'll write about it and see where I get- I'll give a servant a backstory or I'll come up with a story leading to the movie's events. Also a long walk outside helps, but since I live in Chicago, I don't really get that benefit much.
DBB: For budding writers, what's your top tip for learning more about writing?
DL: Visit your library, I cannot say that enough. Your library is there to help you and it has a plethora of excellent, FREE KNOWLEDGE!! There are amazing books with writing prompts, flyers for writing groups, librarians to help you, and more! Please visit the library- it's the best place on the planet.
DBB: You're favourite go-to writing exercise?
DL: I'll take elements of the fairy tale- princesses, witches, forests, castles, etc. and put all the tropes on a big list and choose about 4-5 of them. Then I'll think of something to connect them and find a story inside. I'll try to add an element of horror as well, depending on what I'm feeling that day. Just as long as the story is fun to read. This is so much fun to do- sometimes I get like three story ideas at once!
DBB: Do you have advice for writers that are struggling with perseverance and rejection?
DL: Yes I do! You are not alone! Literally EVERY WRITER EVER has been rejected at some point. All of them. No one has a perfect acceptance/rejection record. And all of the authors who have been published have persevered through the rejections. They kept trying- they believed in themselves. I promise you that someone out there will love your words. But you have to love them, too.
One more thing; if you're out there doubting yourself, I believe in you.
December Lace wrestled professionally for over eight years. During that time, she was also a pinup model. She has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, Pro Wrestling Illustrated, The Molotov Cocktail, Pussy Magic Lit, Mookychick, The Cabinet of Heed, Dark Marrow and Rhythm & Bones YANYR Anthology, among others as well as the forthcoming Fevers of the Mind and Coffin Bell. She loves Batman, burlesque, cats, horror movies, and especially fairy tales. She lives in Chicago.