Read part one here.
Read part two here.
Read part three here.
Airship Ambassador: You graduated with degrees in both photography and creative writing. We can see how the writing part developed, how about the photography?
Colleen Anderson: I developed a very good eye for design and framing things so I imagine it plays into how I see my stories. Sort of a photographic visualization as opposed to memory. I’ve yet to do a story with photography in it. Hmm, I might just have to do that. People notice that I’m always seeing patterns, colours, similarities. I’ll point out that four people are wearing green shirts, or the particular shape of petals, or the unusual patterning of clouds, or how the light fluoresces leaves on a tree. I’m always looking at things from growth of plants to how someone walks to plays of shadow and light.
AA: Looking beyond steampunk, writing and working, you’ve worked in glassblowing and making jewelry. Do you still pursue those, and what other interests fill your time?
CA: I’ve already talked about jewellery. It helps when my brain is stuck to use my hands. As to glassblowing, I loved it but it was very expensive and I never got into it more. There’s just not enough time for everything. I’m part of the medieval society though I don’t do it that often anymore and I still enjoy illumination (scrolls) and drawing. I was in on a group project last year and it reminded me how much I enjoy working with the paint. I’m now trying to finish three scrolls, some having taken longer than writing my first novel manuscript. I’m also into doing some Greek ritual plays, part acting part spiritual.
AA: How do those interests influence your writing?
CA: I’ve written about six or so poems on Greeks myths, which came out of the ritual plays. Mostly it’s about that patterning. And sometimes I write about a creative person, a dancer, a musician, but I probably just as often write about a scientist or an everyday joe.
AA: There’s only so much time in a day – what interests don’t you have time for?
CA: More hiking and more traveling. My ideal job or lifestyle would be to travel and write, and then drink some wine. I’d explore more dance or more forms of jewellery making if I had time. Oh and I would probably try painting (which I haven’t done with high school) but for now it would mean more stuff in my already full place.
AA: What other fandoms are you part of?
CA: If the SCA (medieval society) is fandom then I’m part of that. I did one Vampire LARP once and it was a lot of fun but it’s hard to find a group that seems to hold together, and most of my friends aren’t larping so I don’t have that outlet. I’m not sure I’m part of any other fandom, though I’ve always read comic books and used to work in a comic and SF bookstore. That probably just makes me geeky, and it was that store where I started to really get into writing.
AA: Are there people you consider an inspiration, role model, or other motivating influence?
CA: Yes, though it changes. Years ago when I was part of a local writing group there was this one young woman, Lidia Langstaff. She had a congenital heart disease, could never fly or even walk up stairs. She never complained and worked away on her writing. We teamed up on looking at each other’s poetry. She died suddenly at about 30 years of age and I always thought of how much she did with little complaint. She would have been a great writer if she was still alive. On Spec used to have a writer’s award in her name but I don’t know if they still do.
Ursula Le Guin was one of the instructors when I attended Clarion a long time ago. She is such an amazing writer that if I could ever be half as good as she is, I’d be happy. And Angela Carter. I discovered her late but her writing style is stunning. I have her book as a bit of a bible. But really, there are different people at different times. It might be someone’s writing style or creativity, or passion, such as John Mann of the local band Spirit of the West. It’s so sad he’s ended up with early Alzheimer’s and the band recently had its last tour. I was a bit in love with him when they first started up because his passion for music was obvious. I admire people that can write a lot. That’s not always easy for me.
AA: What event or situation has had the most positive impact in your life? What has been your greatest challenge?
CA: Wow, this is a tough one. My greatest challenge is figuring out what isn’t clicking with my writing. I’m a much better writer than I once was but I could be better still, so the challenge is to unlock that last puzzle box and become stellar.
AA: Three quick-fire random questions – what is your favorite ice cream, design style, and comic strip?
CA: Ice cream though I shouldn’t eat it would be a toss-up between raspberry sorbetto, peanut butter and chocolate or chocolate mint. Design style: Art Nouveau. I love that stuff though there was some very awesome Deco as well. Comic strip—I’ll change this to comic book. Love and Rockets. The Bros Hernandez have done some fine work over the years though when they get stuck on strange creatures killing each other, popping eyeballs and smashing penises, I get a little to the WTF stage. Though the tales of Maggie and Hopey and Los Locos are still the best.
Thanks, Colleen, for joining us for this interview and for sharing all of your thoughts. We look forward to hearing about your next projects!
Keep up to date with Colleen’s latest news on her website.
You can support Colleen and our community by getting your copy of Clockwork Canada here.