3Ws – Camille Di Maio

 

What do you create?

I create stories that are tinged with heartache but end with joy. I grew up devouring the British classics. Jane Eyre is a favorite, and a good example of what I model my writing on. I like a character who is upright, but whose resolve is tested through difficult circumstances. On the crafty end of things, I love embroidering tapestry pillows. I work from a pattern – I’m not enough of a visual artist to create the image, but it does take a lot of focus and dedication to complete a project. Most will be about 33,000 stitches and take me about a year.

 

Why do you create?

I write because I love beautiful words. One of my favorite authors is Kate Morton. Her stories are enthralling, but even more poignant to me are her word choices. They are exactly right. My mother drilled me in vocabulary growing up and I get a charge finding the precise word needed in a given moment. I also thoroughly enjoy the research that goes into historical fiction. I have learned about a Welsh patron saint of lovers, how to change a diaper on a train in the early 20th century, and how to best cultivate broccoli. Just to name a few of the strange places that writing can take an author! For the tapestries, I make them because there is something so satisfying about working with your hands and seeing instant results of your labors. I am struck by how tapestries are analogous to life. We often see the messy side not knowing how beautiful the other side will be if we only press on.

 

What do you consume?

Dr Pepper! As any good Texan girl will know, there is no period after Dr in that brand. I love it chilled, I love it with crushed ice, I love the ones bottled in Dublin, TX, and I love drinking it through a frozen Twizzlers straw. (Try it!) I also go to a farmers’ market nearly every weekend. It is such a treat to try locally made and sourced products and to talk to the farmers/artists/crafters themselves. Finally, I consume travel. I’ve been to most of the states and four continents and have a bucket list that is ever-growing. The world is a beautiful place, and I love meeting its people.

 

Links

 

3Ws – Susan Bernardo & Courtenay Fletcher

 

Susan Bernardo

What do you create?

I write poetry and children’s books intended to heal and inspire. I also sculpt, paint, garden, collage, concoct vegan curry, and try to make an eclectic home sanctuary for my family and petite menagerie of two cats, an excitable terrier and our hens Ruby and Raven (I built their coop, too!). I craft the occasional vision board, magic wand or fairy house, and I even created two awesome sons, from scratch! And clutter — I create a LOT of clutter. I’m versatile.

  

 

Why do you create?

Writing and creating art help me make meaning out of events that don’t make sense (like divorce, miscarriage, losing loved ones and other trauma). This whole being-a-human experience gets intense sometimes, and I am an emotional creature. Instead of letting all those emotions swirl around inside like a tornado, I find ways to release them onto the page or into clay or by planting seedlings in my vegetable beds. Everything seems like metaphor to me – composting, vertigo, pruning rosebushes, butterflies. I believe it’s my responsibility as a writer to figure out how to process my own pain and fear, transmute those feelings into poetry or art, and then offer it back into the world to help others coping with similar issues. I am also constantly inspired by the world around me – museums, travel, art, parenting, nature, love, science – and writing books and poetry gives me a way to share those experiences and my sense of wonder and gratitude.

 

What do you consume?

At the moment, I am devouring fantasy and sci fi novels by Anne McCaffrey and Ursula K Le Guin. I just turned 50, so this might be my version of a midlife crisis – I dream of riding dragons instead of a Harley Davidson. These books are filling the well and taking me back to my adolescence – which is perfect as I dive into writing a YA series for the first time. I’m also an information junkie with a “need to know WHY???.” I might be a teeny-tiny-totally bit addicted to my smartphone, especially the ability it gives me to Google anything, anytime, anywhere. And, of course, I consume chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Dark. With almonds and sea salt. You know, because of the antioxidants. And the dementors.

 

Courtenay Fletcher

What do you create?

I love making children’s books because as a visual storyteller, I can create imaginary worlds that my inner child would like to jump into and explore. I love entire process of actually making a book…the design, finding the right fonts, picking the paper, watching huge machines print it out and assemble it and then holding that finished art piece in my hands. That’s super satisfying. Like most creative people, I wear many hats depending on my mood or needs. Baking, knitting, painting, gardening, photography, doing graphic design projects are all ways I help soothe my restless creativity (and pay the bills).

 

 

Why do you create?

My grandpa was a homesteader so I come from a family of carpenters, farmers, canners, quilters and wonderful storytellers.They were independent people who worked hard and made things with their hands. They never thought of themselves as creative, but they definitely were and they inspired my imaginative spirit. I think I create things as a way of keeping my busy brain happy. Once for my daughter’s Alice in Wonderland birthday, I painted and cut out all the characters on huge plywood boards and put them all over the yard. Then I strung up 75 brightly colored paper lanterns that I’d spent a week making in my den. I probably should have been a set builder at a studio-I love power tools and make-believe! The ability to bring something from your imagination into being is really wonderful, whether it be a log cabin or a doodle. It provides many opportunities to stand back and say, “Wow, look what I made!”

 

What do you consume?

Because I’ve been working on a book about a tiny house for the last year, I’ve really become aware of my consumption of stuff…asking myself how much I really need something before I buy it. At the moment, though, I’m feeling overwhelmed with info and emails and to-do lists. I feel like if you opened up my brain, it would look like an episode of the Hoarders! To find escape, I turn to old movies (preferably BW), jazz, walks in nature or a good book. Lately I’ve been reading lots of fiction set in WWll…The Plum Tree, All the Light We Cannot See, The Summer Before the War, The Winter of the World, but I also love sci-fi and YA novels. Sometimes as a way to mellow out while I’m illustrating under a super tight deadline, I’ll put on Native American flute music and visualize standing at the rim of the Grand Canyon. Of course, trips to art museums, local botanical gardens or just looking up at the night sky help bring back a sense of peace, balance and perspective.

 

3Ws- Glen Phillips

 

What do you create?

I make songs, mostly. When I was a kid I was in love with the theater, but by a series of fateful twists music became my job. I love writing and performing just about equally, and I love collaboration. Being a singer songwriter is a peculiar relationship with creativity because you keep returning to your work and reinterpreting it. It’s not just one and done – you carry your past with you and get to keep re-examining it from your current perspective.

  

 

Why do you create?

I have a noisy head. There have always been a lot of things bouncing around in it, and sometimes that noise is pretty overwhelming. The two best ways to bring the noise down are to get really still and quiet by being in nature or meditating or to shoot the rapids and get lost in making something. If I’m performing or writing or recording I’m usually in the present tense, and that is the most fulfilling way for me to be. Sometimes I’ll start in the quiet mode and things will emerge from the silence. I like that too.

 

What do you consume?

I consume too much, generally. I have too many things. I drive a lot, and consume more gas than I am comfortable with. But on the positive side there are songs, stories, music, podcasts (touring musicians live on podcasts), good food, company, conversation. Experience. I love learning about how people think and act. I love learning about the natural world. My father gave me the gift of fascination, so I get interested in many things. I can’t bring myself to care what team won a particular game but give me an article on the physiology of a fastball pitch and I’ll be very happy. I love talking to people who are passionate and hearing their stories and insights.

 

 

Links

 

 

3Ws – Karen B. Winnick

 

What do you create?

I create stories and pictures for children bound together in picture books I hope they’ll read and love.

 

  

 

Why do you create?

More than anything it keeps the child in me alive. Sometimes, in fact, I can’t find the adult! Looking at the world through a child’s eyes, I feel wonderment at nature, animals and so much else. I love children, books, art, animals and history. And my picture books connect me with all of these.

 

 

 

What do you consume?

Nuts! When I don’t want to stop working, a cup of unsalted mixed nuts fuel me for a good few hours of work without a break. Mugs of coffee in the morning and often an apple, too.
Oh, and with a scissors I cut up magazines, newspapers, anything with photos or stories that fuel an idea, a thought or image. They’re all stuffed in an ever- expanding file I use all the time. I guess that’s a form of consumption.

 

 

Links

Website: KarenBWinnick.com 
Instagram: @KarenBWinnick
Pinterest: @KarenBWinnick
Buy the Book: http://bit.ly/KBWGNBA
 

 
 
 
 

3Ws – Holly Brown

What do you create?

I am the least crafty person I know, and I say this with genuine sadness. I can’t draw or paint, I can barely color, I can’t sew, ditto for knitting and crochet…the list goes on. But I can create a killer bourbon-based cocktail, with only minor modifications to other people’s recipes. Creative copying is an art, right? There’s that great book by Austin Kleon called “Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative.” I highly recommend it (plus, at the moment, it takes the heat off me.)

 

 

Why do you create?

Mae West said, “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor, and rich is better.” To paraphase (inelegantly), I’ve been a writer and I’ve not been a writer, and being a writer has been better. The times I’ve strayed from writing and exclusively focused on other things just haven’t been nearly as satisfying or fulfilling. So I come back, and I create.

 

 

What do you consume?

Every morning, I eat two huge spoonfuls of Trader Joe’s Better’n Peanut Butter (kind of love the throwback name.) What I love most, though, is that it’s the most instantly filling and efficient breakfast, which is key since it feels like I’m always in a mad rush in the morning. Might have something to do with my five-year-old…

 

Links

3Ws – Nicole Blades

What do you create?

I’m a novelist and freelance journalist and a mother. So, I create books and stories and, I guess you could say that that one glorious time, I created a whole human being. And he’s an utter delight.

 

 

Why do you create?

I create because storytelling has always intrigued me. It’s at the core of being a human being. It’s what makes us, us. I write to try to understand this world and our place in it. I write to gain perspective, to learn about things far beyond me, and—I hope—to entertain. I want to give readers a glimpse into someone else’s experience and dig into real-world emotions to maybe help us navigate through the lumps and knots in life a little better.

THE THUNDER BENEATH US gets into some heavy things: shame, guilt, identity, secrets, complicated family dynamics, love, and grief. There’s a lot of emotion in each of these issues on their own. I write to maybe sort through all of it.

 

 

What do you consume?

I consume a lot of words and images. Overall, I like consuming stories. That means plenty of books, magazine and online pieces, long reads, quick clever deep captions, and also really good, smart TV shows. I’ve never been into snubbing my nose at television. I’ve always owned one—except for that brief period when I moved into my first apartment in Brooklyn—and I can always find something inspired, fascinating and plain ol’ fun to watch. For example, I’ve been really enjoying Atlanta on FX and re-reading Their Eyes Were Watching God. This re-read stemmed partly from the fact that I haven’t read the classic since university and also I’ve set down a book-buying embargo. No new books until I’ve made a real dent in what I call Mount Nightstand.

 

Links

 

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3Ws – Cristina Alger

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What do you create?

I’m a novelist and a mother of two small children, so I am always creating. Novels, sandbox castles, pillow forts, puppet shows, ice cream sundaes, finger-painting projects … not necessarily in that order.

 

 

Why do you create?

To understand the world around me. Writing is cheaper than therapy and I think it’s a lot more fun. My first novel, THE DARLINGS, was a thriller set in New York during the 2008 financial crisis. I started working on it right after Lehman Brothers collapsed. It was such a stressful time to work in finance (I was a corporate attorney at a large New York firm at the time). Friends were getting laid off right and left; big banks were imploding; local stores were closing; the city felt fraught with tension. Writing THE DARLINGS was my way of processing all of it. My second novel, THIS WAS NOT THE PLAN, is a comedy about a workaholic single dad who gets laid off from his job at a law firm and is forced to spend the summer at home with his five year old son. I wrote it shortly after having my daughter. I was struggling to find some semblance of balance between my professional life and parenthood, and this book was my way of working through that.

 

 

What do you consume?

Coffee. So much coffee. It’s a rare, sad day when I don’t eat ice cream (Talenti Mediterranean Mint Chip is my current favorite). And I read as much as I can. This has been such a wonderful year for books. Recently, I’ve loved: BEHOLD THE DREAMERS (Imbolo Mbue), CRUEL, BEAUTIFUL WORLD (Caroline Leavitt), A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW (Amor Towles), and UNDER THE HARROW (Flynn Barrow). My nightstand is overflowing!

 

Links

 

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3Ws – Christina Hoag

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What do you create?

I create stories wherein characters have to make hard choices when confronted with extraordinary events, in short – drama. My aim is to create well written stories that have intricate plots but also intricate characters. My problem with most of detective/mystery fiction, which I like in general, is that it tends to be formulaic in plot and character, whereas a lot of literary fiction is too slow-paced to sustain interest. I’m striving to hit the balance between the two. I also gravitate toward foreign settings, probably because I’ve lived in several countries and travelled around the world (travel is another passion of mine), and setting stories amid current events. That’s probably the journalist in me since I’m a news junkie.

 

 

Why do you create?

When I was six years old, I won a prize for “writing interesting stories.” I have no recollection of what I wrote, but obviously it can’t have been too much in first grade! In later report cards, teachers mentioned my vivid imagination, and my ability to read enabled me to skip second grade altogether. But it was a couple decades later, when I unearthed that first little certificate in piles of old stuff, I realized that the urge to write stories was something I’d been born with. It was just there. In high school, I chose journalism as my career because it would pay me to write, and it was a great choice. I loved being a reporter. But these days, having accomplished what I set out to do in journalism (namely being a foreign correspondent), I have rediscovered that writing fiction is my true passion. I actually feel a sense of joy when I write. It engages me like no other activity. When I’ve been immersed in writing and take a break, I almost feel stunned when I get up from my desk, like I’ve been away and I’m re-entering the world. It’s an odd sensation. I truly feel blessed in some way to have this gift.

 

 

What do you consume?

In the literary arena, I’m an eclectic reader but I love upmarket women’s fiction, gritty standalone crime novels and most anything set in foreign locations. Graham Greene is one of my favorite authors. These days I also consume television. I’ve never been a big TV watcher, and I confess that I’ve never watched many hit shows that have become part of the popular American zeitgeist because they simply didn’t interest me. But now there’s a surfeit of really good TV, largely because U.S. producers have finally discovered what the British have been doing for decades – serialized drama, which allows for deeper character and plot exploration. I find these shows far more satisfying, maybe because they’re more like televised novels.

 

Links

 

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3Ws – Anne Korkeakivi

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What do you create?

As a novelist, as well as an occasional nonfictionist of essays and articles, I strive to create conversations–between myself and my readers, my readers and each other, myself and the world. I construct journeys also, both metaphorically and geographically. I’m an expat writer and inveterate traveler, and my work tends to follow suit: my first novel, An Unexpected Guest, was set in Paris, also Dublin and Boston; my new novel, Shining Sea, opens in Southern California and travels to the remote Hebrides islands off the western coast of Scotland and back, with many stops in between.

You could say that, as a writer of literary fiction, I create worlds also. Certainly, that’s how they feel to me. My characters become very real to me; I launch them into existence and then they take over.

 

 

Why do you create?

Honestly? Compulsion. I can’t imagine living in any other way. Even as the tiniest girl I was making up stories—continuing ones too, like little novels in my head. I’d lie in my bed at night while the rest of the house was asleep, letting them flit through my head like shadows across the ceiling.

 

 

What do you consume?

The New York Times daily, Le Nouvel Observateur weekly, also The Guardian, Literary Hub, and Electric Literature. My Twitter feed. Literary fiction, especially from the US, UK, Ireland, France, and anywhere in Africa. Nonfiction about armed or societal conflict. Poetry, currently by some wonderful women poets—for example, Warsan Shire, Erin Hollowell, Claudia Rankine, and Maggie Smith–but also unfailingly Yeats. Ancient Greek myths, which I know backwards and forwards but of which I can never get enough. A lot of visual art, particularly modern and contemporary. Music. Foreign landscapes, people, and cultures. Nature, in large, desperate gulps. And pomegranate. I might just be addicted to pomegranate seeds.

 

Links

 

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3Ws – Louise Miller

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What do you create?

By day, I create desserts, and by night I create novels that I hope are funny and true.
 

Why do you create?

I have always turned to writing to figure the world (and myself) out. As a kid my diary was my lifeline—I didn’t understand how I was feeling unless I wrote it down. As an adult, I find writing fiction to be a wonderful way to explore questions I have without having to upend my life. The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living was inspired in part by my wrestling with the question would I be happy living in the country? I have always had a longing to live someplace rural, to have goats and sheep and a dozen dogs, to have some land and to know it well. At the same time I live a very happy city life, full of theater and art and food and people from all over the world. I am perfectly divided. Writing The City Baker, which is set in northern Vermont, gave me the chance to dream about making that move, and to consider the ups and downs of it. But the simplest answer to the question why do I write is that I like to make people laugh. Which is pretty similar to why do I bake. I like making people happy. Sweets and a good story are some things that make people happy, and I get to provide that happiness. Satisfying work all around.
 

What do you consume?

Stories in every form. Novels, of course. But I am also a movie junkie. I love to be in a darkened theater with a bucket of popcorn. I believe movies should be seen on a big screen whenever possible. I’m lucky to live near a wonderful independent movie theater that shows smaller-budget movies, foreign films and old-time classics. Plus they have real butter. And then there are plays! My partner and I subscribe to two theaters in Boston, and we travel to New York frequently to see plays and to eat. And I can’t forget television—there is so much good storytelling happening on TV right now. Add several podcasts to the mix, and you can see that I’m a little story-obsessed.

 

Links

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