Jennifer Iacopelli

Jennifer IacopelliInterviewed by Beth Pond

Jennifer Iacopelli was born in New York and has no plans to leave…ever. Growing up, she read everything she could get her hands on, but her favourite authors were Laura Ingalls Wilder, L.M. Montgomery and Frances Hodgson Burnett, all of whom wrote about kick-ass girls before it was cool for girls to be kick-ass. She got a Bachelor’s degree in Adolescence Education and English Literature, quickly followed up by a Master’s in Library Science, which lets her frolic all day with her books and computers, leaving plenty of time in the evenings to write and yell at the Yankees, Giants and her favourite tennis players through the TV.

I am an admirer of Iacopelli’s debut Young Adult novel Game. Set. Match. and was delighted when she agreed to speak with me by email.

When did you first discover your love of writing?

Eighth grade, sitting in an Honors Earth Science classroom bored out of my mind, a friend, who shall remain nameless and I would pass a notebook back and forth writing stories starring our favorite celebrities and characters conveniently with our names as their love interests. I didn’t do nearly as well in Earth Science as I should have, but at least one thing stuck. [Read more…]

Hiromi Goto

HGotoInterviewed by Haley Whishaw

Hiromi Goto is an award-winning Japanese-Canadian author whose novels include Chorus of Mushrooms, which received the 1995 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Best First Book in the Canada/Caribbean region; The Kappa Child, which received the James Tiptree Memorial Award; and Hopeful Monsters, a collection of short stories. She has written two Young Adult novels: Half World, which received the 2010 Sunburst Award and the Carl Brandon Society Parallax Award,and Darkest Light. She has also published the children’s book The Water of Possibility and a long poem, Wait Until Late-Afternoon, which was co-written with David Bateman.

Her work often straddles both reality and fantasy, weaving folklore with contemporary settings and issues. In keeping with this style, she suggested our interview mirror the Voight-Kampff tests that are employed in the film Blade Runner for detecting AI. There were no AI “retired” during the process of this interview.

After reading countless works of others, at what point did you realize that you yourself had a story to tell and that you were the only one who could tell it?

I was eight or nine or ten. I read the kind of book that makes you forget everyone else in the world, even yourself—you only feel the hopes and fears and despair of the character you’ve been living with for the past five hours. When I finished reading that book I came to the realization that the rich, saturated, intensely real life I had vicariously lived was one that was constructed out of words. Marks on paper. Written by a person. That was when I first felt the desire to write. My child self didn’t feel I had a specific story to tell—I only felt a strong desire to be able to make someone else feel the many intense feelings that I felt upon reading that book. I don’t remember the title of the book. It’s lost somewhere in the grey folds/ers of my soft drive…. [Read more…]

Ron West

Ron WestInterviewed by Rachel Balko

Ron West has been a successful comedy writer for more than 30 years. His television writing credits include “Second City This Week” (2011-2012) and “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” (1999-2006). He was the head writer for the pilot of “The Second City’s 149 1/2 Edition” (1994), and has contributed to other syndicated TV shows. His musical comedy, The People vs. Friar Laurence, the Man Who Killed Romeo and Juliet, was published by Samuel French in 2010. Ron has written, directed, and performed more shows for Second City than he can count, collaborating with performers such as Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Scott Adsit, Jane Lynch, and Rose Abdoo. Ron was a contributing writer on the book, The Second City Almanac of Improvisation, and currently teaches comedy writing and improvisation at the Second City Training Center in Hollywood, California. Ron was generous with both his time and his talent in answering these questions about his life as a writer via email.

How did you become a writer?

I looked the part, so one day someone said, “You are going to write this,” so I did. I don’t remember the exact date and time. [Read more…]