If you haven’t heard of our new project, the On Fire anthology, this interview series will showcase our authors and their writing lives beyond their ignited tales. In Victor Hawk’s “Clover,” the inadequacies of John’s divorce forces him to burn with the woman he’d always wanted.
What is the first book or story that made you cry?
“The Green Morning.” A blast of rainbow light in Ray Bradbury’s downtempo The Martian Chronicles. I was so happy. I have read that story so many times. The book is falling apart.
How supportive are your family when it comes to the time you spend as an author?
We were a happy nuclear family while I was an engineer. When I became a teacher and writer, I think I drove everyone away. Now, I live alone with my dog, Jimmie Sue. When I’m writing, she leaves the room. I cuss a lot. Say some vile things when in character. I have to do that – get in character and walk around the room. Get in character and take a shower. My wife overheard me a few too many times, I think, while I was in the shower thinking I had the house to myself. She’s my ex-wife now.
What is the title of your next story and what will it be about?
Titles come last. But it will probably be something about Hickey Urquhart down in Valentine, Texas, messing with his rocket motors.
What did you edit out of this story?
Hmm. This was almost a once-and-done, but the first ending really sucked. It doesn’t bear talking about.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
I shift between poems, stories, and a novel. If I’m blocked in one place, I find the muse running free somewhere else. A lot of ideas come to me when I’m mowing grass, strangely. And showering.
Roughly what percentage of your time is spent editing?
Probably 80% is editing, reviewing, rethinking. Sounding out the voice. Like rapping on a floorboard and searching for a hollow sound. Finding how to fix the hollow.
If you could go back in time, what would you say to your younger self about becoming an author?
Get real about it sooner. Don’t wait until you’re forty-five to start. Find some tough workshops and jump in. Writing well is a full bandwidth hot edge process. The more bandwidth you have, the more insight you’re going to find in your journeys. So work the mind hard when it’s young, and build the muse’s bandwidth.
“Clover” is Hawk’s first short story publication. He left engineering in 2005 to pursue his teaching and creative writing interests. His poems have appeared in small literary presses over the years, including The Davidson Miscellany, Wind: A Literary Magazine, Cold Mountain Review, Word River, and New Plains Review.
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