San Francisco writer Carol Verburg is best known as a playwright, director, and author of best-selling books including Ourselves Among Others, Making Contact, and The Environmental Predicament. The regular producer of Edward Gorey’s plays on Cape Cod, Verburg also directed several plays of her own, including Lady Day in Love and The Whistling Pig, as well as the first workshop of Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle and the unofficial U.S. premiere of Peter Shaffer’s The Gift of the Gorgon. Her play Spin, or Twilight of the Bohemians, won the 2011 Ashland New Plays Festival and 2012 Centenary Stage Co.’s Women Playwrights Series. Recent books include Croaked: an Edgar Rowdey Cape Cod Mystery and Silent Night Violent Night: a Cory Goodwin Mystery.
What inspires you to write?
The endless variety of human reactions to life! Usually the first seed of a book or play is “Can you BELIEVE this?” or “What if . . .?”
Tell us about your writing process
The more directly I slip from dreams into writing, the better it goes. And it helps to have stopped the day before at a point where I had a good idea what should happen next. Usually I get out of bed when I’ve figured out the next sentence, or event.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I vote with Nabokov: My characters are galley slaves! Which means I vote with Aristotle: Plot is first & foremost; the characters’ qualities and actions MUST serve the story. Once the characters are created, of course, half the fun is finding out what they’ll do and say next.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I used to be an editor myself, so I recognized what silly excuses I was getting from literary agents who rejected my manuscripts. Professional middlemen–people who make their living as gatekeepers–are forced to look at everything that passes through the gate, day after day, year after year, until their brains glaze over. It’s only natural for them to become jaded, or hypnotized by the latest hype, or both. I knew I was writing the kind of books my friends and I like to read, and if I could just publish them, they’d find enthusiastic readers. So when the self-publishing bandwagon came along, I jumped aboard.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Listening to stories is how we learn ways to respond to events; telling stories is how we make sense of our own experiences. So storytelling won’t go away, but books will continue to change form as technology evolves and as people’s options expand. Now that technology companies have pretty much taken over the job of shaping literature from publishers and writers, the focus will continue to shift away from traditional books to whatever form of content delivery is most profitable for those companies. We’re already seeing more use of more senses–interactive books, audiobooks–and that’s likely to increase.
What genres do you write:: mystery, biography, adventure and romance
What formats are your books in: eBook, Print
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