Name: Lucy Jane Bledsoe
(Originally published in my old website, Writester.net in 2005)
Q: Where are you originally from?
A: Portland, Oregon.
Q: Can you tell us your latest book news?
A: My most recent adult novel is “This Wild Silence.” My most recent kid’s novel is “The Antarctic Scoop.” My next book is a collection of narrative nonfiction, “The Breath of Seals: adventures in fear and grace,” and includes my travels in Antarctica as a two-time recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Artists & Writers in Antarctica program.
Q: How old were you when you first started writing?
A: I started writing stories as soon as I learned to write. Being a writer was the only career I ever wanted.
Q: When did you first realize you had the potential to be a writer?
A: I’m not sure I ever felt I had the “potential” so much as I knew it was what I wanted to do more than anything.
Q: What was your inspiration to write your first novel?
A: Mmm. That depends on what you’d call my first novel. I wrote lots of “novels” as a kid, and I think I wanted most to find the best truth I could about my characters. It took years before I felt I got even close. As an adult, the human relationship to environment has inspired much of my work, trying to understand the animal part of people.
Q: Is there anyone or anything that inspired you to write?
A: My high school English teacher, Mr. Murray, was a big inspiration because he was so attentive. Every time I read a great novel I would be inspired and still am. Alice Walker’s short story collections also inspired me to write, the joy and honesty in them.
Q: How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
A: I come from a very big family, and yet have always been very independent. The dynamic between these two facts plays a big part in my writing. Also, I come from the state of Oregon, so I’ve always felt in touch with the wilder parts of the planet.
Q: Do you have a specific writing style?
A: I’m sure I do but others would be better at giving it a name.
Q: What genre are you most comfortable writing?
A: Contemporary fiction is what interests me most.
Q: How do you come up with the title(s) for your book(s)?
A: Titles are always difficult. Occasionally I hit on the right title right away, but most often I struggle with this. Sometimes I can find a phrase or key word in a story that stands out as a good title.
Q: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
A: Not really. I try to get as close to the truth of a story as possible, to show people and their world as accurately as possible. When a writer does this well, it’s exciting.
Q: How much of the novel is realistic?
A: My novels are usually quite realistic, although I am interested in the moments of the fantastic that happen in real life.
Q: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your life?
A: Well, stories are usually a big mix of things that have actually happened to me, or people I know, and imaginary events. Rarely do I write about something exactly as it occured, unless I’m writing nonfiction.
Q: What books have most influenced your life?
A: Over the years many writers have influenced me deeply: James Baldwin, Willa Cather, Adrienne Rich, Barbara Kingsolver, and many, many others.
Q: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
A: Alice Munro.