Welcome to the beginning of our podcast series! We are honored to bring you Dani Clark reading her piece “Little Bombs” for our first post. Below you find an interview to get into her mind and the process behind this piece! Enjoy!
PC: What’s your usual writing process like?
DC: I write between 4 and 8 hours several days a week, sometimes I give it a rest in the evenings or on weekends. I work part-time specifically to dedicate time to my writing practice. I like to start with writing a story out longhand. Friends of mine think this is crazy because it’s so time consuming, but part of my love for writing is the physicality of putting my loopy cursive on paper. Then I type it up on my trusty iMAC and through that transcription process I’ve gone from first to second draft because handwriting formalizes the story idea, then typing it up stabilizes the story. I revise until it’s ready for readers, and revise it one or two times more after getting feedback.
Recently I’ve begun to trust myself more and do what feels right to me rather than wait for feedback from several people with differing opinions. This piece, Little Bombs, hadn’t been read by anyone other than myself before I submitted it to Pure Coincidence.
PC: What’s the strangest thing that’s ever inspired you to write a story?
DC: I once wrote a story that incorporated literal translations of my dreams into the narrative and tried to pass them off as non-fiction. They really did happen, but in my head while I was sleeping. No one believed those pterodactyls flying overhead were real though.
PC: Any favorite authors?
DC: This is one of my favorite questions, since my answer changes all the time based on what I’ve been reading. Overall, I’m a huge fan of Margaret Atwood. I love that she can write across genres and appeal to many different audiences.
My current favorite authoress is Sarah Waters. If you want to read a narrative with sexual fluidity read Tipping the Velvet or Fingersmith. She writes in this decadent style that reminds me of some of my favorite classics too, like Brideshead Revisited or Tess of the D’urbervilles. I’m impatiently waiting for a new novel from her.
I also recently finished an advanced reader’s copy of I Shall Be Near To You, which is Erin Lindsey McCabe’s debut novel. The story was so engrossing that I finished it in one night! I love finding stories I can completely escape into.
I read a lot, and I like to keep it diverse and eclectic: T.C. Boyle, Jesmyn Ward, Isabel Allende, David Mitchell, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Lydia Davis, Aimee Bender, Edward P. Jones. My list of favorites could go on forever.
PC: Why do you write?
DC: Writing is the easiest method of communication for me. I’m shy and extremely introverted, and have a hard time expressing myself through verbal communication. I like to dwell on words, mull them over before I release them. I also write because there is extreme gratification when an idea or thought I’m trying to put down is successfully communicated on the page. There’s also a wondrous sense of accomplishment when something is finished too.
PC: What’s your main goal in writing fiction?
DC: Every word I write gives me a voice. My overall goal is for people to hear me, and to understand what I’m expressing in that piece. Specific goals vary for me from piece to piece though. When writing for a large audience my main goal is to entertain. No one will read what’s been written if they aren’t enjoying it for one reason or another. Sometimes, if the issue is personal to me, I’ll know while I’m writing it that I’m only writing for myself and no one else is going to see it, so the goal there is different.
PC: When do you write best?
DC: When the TV and internet are off and at least one of my cats is sleeping serenely in my lap, rather than nipping at my feet. Distraction free!
PC: “Little Bombs” is an excerpt of your novel; tell us more about it.
DC: Little Bombs is an excerpt of the novel I’ve been working on over the past year and a half. The main character of the novel is an actress trying to garner a fan base via her celebrity to support a philanthropic cause. The two characters in this excerpt have been partners for years when the story begins. This excerpt is a flashback in which the two characters are meeting for the first time. Their relationship is secondary to the plot, but it’s important for the plot’s development, so I wanted to create a scene that expressed the excitement of their first encounter.
PC: What inspired this particular scene?
DC: This scene was inspired by a particularly eerie view of the moon one night last year. I was walking down the street, going from the subway to my apartment, and it was dusk. The moon was very low in the sky, but it was perfectly round, large, and orange. It looked like it was standing right behind the building across the street. As I walked it followed, lurking between tree branches and peeking from behind the buildings. It was the strangest moon I’d ever seen, and made me think of the moon’s reputation with mysticism and witchiness. I wanted gravitational pull and explosions for the first meeting place of these two pivotal characters in my novel. So I gave them an eerie, almost mystical first encounter with that lunar stalker and the shifting water.
PC: We got a sense of sexual fluidity in this piece. Are we correct and is this something you enjoy exploring?
DC: Yes, I included sexual undertones because I didn’t want any mistakes regarding what kind of relationship will develop between these two characters. It would lead readers amiss if I didn’t delve into their relationship entirely. I also wanted to show bashfulness surrounding the new sexual interest between them. They’re surprised to find each other, but not timid at all. Sometimes the newness of another person, or even the rediscovering of an old relationship, is sexy just because there is so much feeling behind it. All emotions surrounding sex: nervousness, expectation, wariness, fear, excitement, even reluctant feelings are raw and visceral and worth exploring.
Dani Clark (Little Bombs) lives in California. She has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from St. Mary’s College of California. She has been published in Crack the Spine, and the Western Edition. Dani thinks up stories while tuning out the sound of peoples’ voices. “Little Bombs” is an excerpt from her first novel.