Q & A: From Mazzy Adams CWD Member Interview 02/2019
Question 1: Tells us three things about who you are and where you come from.
Who am I?
I’m an evolving story—with a title change along the way. I have poetry, short fiction, creative non-fiction, and spiritual devotions published under my real name and as Mazzy Adams, the penname I adopted about four years ago. I’m also a word addict. I am totally hooked on those incredible lettered delicacies that pepper pages, tantalise tongues, trip through teeth, evoke a million images and emotions, flood curious minds with knowledge and wisdom and release springs of love, hope, compassion and understanding from responsive hearts. Not to mention, words can be oh so much FUN to play with!
Photo above: My shape poem, Maple Music,was listed as chosen by the judge in the 2013 Poetica Christi Press Poetry competition and published in their 2014 Anthology, A Lightness of Being
Where do I come from?
I’m Queensland born and bred and, after a five year dalliance with Northern Beaches Sydney, New South Wales, my husband and I settled in Toowoomba to raise our three amazing children (I look at them and marvel). I’ve also been blessed with wonderful grandchildren. Currently, I help my Maths/Science genius husband support my writing habit by working as a creative and academic writing tutor and manager in our Education Consultancy.
Question 2: Tell us about your writing (or editing/illustrating etc). What do you write and why?
What do I write?
I’m a PAGE—Poet, Author, Genre Rebel, and Encourager—or Essayist if you prefer. At times, I’m PAGES, either because I’m writing Songs, or Scripts, or Spiritual devotions, or I’m being long-winded, at which time the E stands for Editing and the S stands for Strike that/ Slash and burn/ Stalking typos and grammar gremlins or Scratching my head and tearing my hair out.
I’ve also written a New Adult Thriller. (Throw Ludlum’s Jason Bourne into a bowl with a metaphysical worldview. Sprinkle with quirky acronyms and allegory. Add a dash of Calvin and Hobbes’ Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat’s philosophical humour. Bake with a fertile imagination. Enjoy.)
Despite my concerns, the suspense of writing the novel didn’t kill me so I expect I’ll survive the Indie Publishing learning curve. Then, Licence to Die will be a living, breathing, deadly intriguing debut novel available in paperback and e-book—before 2019 expires. (Edit: I did survive; LTD finally hit the stores in August, 2022.)
Why do I write?
Because I can. And because I can’t not write. The urge to collate words with intention and purpose has become both a passion and a divine commission. And it’s FUN! (Yeah, even when I’m tearing my hair out.)
Question 3: Who has read your work? Who would you like to read it?
Readers of the dozen Australian, US, International print and online anthologies in which my poetry, CNF, short fiction and devotions have been published.
Also, my compassionate, encouraging, and helpful Quirky Quills writing companions. Several Beta Readers and my Editor have read the novel as a WIP.
While my children were young, I managed to woo and entertain enthusiastic audiences with my drama sketches and puppet plays (especially during the lolly meteor showers and dust storms), but technically they were hearers and viewers, not readers.
Who are my target readers for Licence to Die (and other works-in-progress I’m percolating)?
That mysterious and wondrous group recently recognised in their own right as New Adults; 16-25ish, they’ll have conquered—or be in the process of conquering—the trials and tribulations of senior schooling, university study, earning a living, or generally nailing Introductory Adulting—or giving it a good bash. Also, Advanced Adulting students (25-106ish) who remember what it was like to be a young adult, and can cope with adulting being used as a noun and a verb, not just an adjective (You’ll be relieved to know I haven’t nouned or verbed the word ‘adulting’ in the novel).
Question 4: Tell us something about your process. What challenges do you face? What helps you the most?
Process? It usually starts with a couple of words, a line of poetry, or a sentence that intrudes upon my everyday activities or my attempts to go to sleep and gives me no rest until I’ve written it down. Many of my published pieces (and my novel) began life as ‘quick writing exercises’ for my Creative Writing degree. I focus on the ideas that have promise and those that are downright demanding till I give in and write them, like Licence to Die. I either go with the flow, or formulate a plan which I modify, as flow and coherency directs.
Challenges? The poet in me likes to slip ‘writerly’ masterpieces into the mouths and minds of my characters which I then delete for POV authenticity. Sigh! Like so many writers, balancing the financial budget also creates challenges.
I am most helped by the assurance (and reassurance) (and re-reassurance) of the Holy Spirit that this is what he wants me to do. Frequently, he uses other Christian Writers as his mouthpiece in this regard.
Question 5: What is your favourite Writing Craft Book and why?
I found Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon invaluable in managing and simplifying the complex structure of my novel. I also appreciate the wealth of quality wisdom and advice available online. In terms of influence, I found Janice Elsheimer’s The Creative Call helped me realise the hand of God had written ‘writer’ into my DNA long before I learned how to read his writing.
Question 6: If you were to give a shout-out to a CWD author, writer, editor or illustrator – who would they be?
Absolutely, Nola Passmore—writer, editor, Quirky Quill and my most significant influencer. Some people won’t let you down. Nor will they let you let yourself down. Nola is one of these rare and precious friends.
Also, Iola Goulton—not only for her excellent work as copy editor for my novel, and her informative blogs, newsletters and social media links to all things writing, editing, publishing and marketing, but as a significant early influencer who, along with Anusha Atukorala, sent me out from my first Writers Conference believing I had writer’s stuffing inside me—and it wasn’t all fluff. (Now you’re singing, ‘Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh, funny little tubby all stuffed with fluff’, aren’t you?)
Question 7: What are your writing goals for 2019? How will you achieve them?
Indie Publish Licence to Die, acquiring new and necessary skills in the process. Start pushing up the word count for the next novel. I hope to achieve this one step and one day at a time.
Question 8: How does your faith impact and shape your writing?
I’ve been a Christian believer from my childhood. I survived life’s wild, stormy weather long enough to become a writer because Jesus Christ is my anchor. We’re tethered together in love and trust. Just as nothing can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus, so nothing can separate Christ in me from the words that I write. Sometimes that connection is overt and obvious. Sometimes it is as inconspicuous and deeply layered as the rock beneath the ocean’s currents.
As Galatians 2:20 says, ‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’
That sounds like a licence to die, don’t you think? And also freedom to live (the ultimate sequel).