About Safiya Reynolds:
I have a lot of brothers and sisters (and heart-brothers & sisters) – that’s the most important thing anyone can know about me. I call my siblings “my A game” – they are the very best parts of who I am. If you ever meet them, everything about me that seems completely random – my zest for learning languages (I’m working on ASL, Spanish, Italian and Scottish Gaelic right now), my inability to settle on what I want to be when I grow up (I’ve been a teacher for 8 years and I’ve got to say, I’m kinda over it), my impeccable memory for lines from Disney movies that I watched at least a decade ago, my disdain of chocolate, my delight in the company of strangers, my belief that Lord of the Rings is a Christmas movie, my obsession with the skillful telling of a good story (think Neil Gaiman or Nancy Farmer or CS Lewis), my affinity for the Witching Hour as a time of true clarity, and my ability to find music and odd humor in almost everything – all these things begin to make a great deal of sense. I am, after all, a Reynolds.
What inspires you to write?
I am inspired by the most random things. Mostly, I’m interested in what I call larger patterns. In 2016, I don’t believe anyone is really original anymore: we are the digital regurgitations of every civilization that has come before us. We are living out the same 20 – 30 stories that have always been lived (I’m being loose with the numbers here). And, oddly enough, that makes us universal and unique. Think about it – the lessons we learn, millions of people have had to learn before us. But every generation must learn certain things for themselves. And that makes being a human comfortingly communal and dishearteningly isolating. I like to find the things that have happened before, and will happen again, and see the big pattern. It sounds very philosophical, but I’m sure it’s very basic.
Tell us about your writing process.
Usually, I see a quote or a picture or a scientific fact, or hear a strain of music. It’s always a little piece of something that sets off my imagination and then my mind is off on a journey to discover “the pattern.” The last short story I wrote was inspired by the Disney song about crocodiles, which made me research crocodiles, which reminded me of this presidential election, which got me thinking about elections and politics and power in general. You know those writers who say that stories write themselves? I’m one of those. It feels like the words are coming from somewhere, and it’s my job to accurately record them and not let the story get hijacked along the way. I often wake up (almost always at 3 in the morning), grab the computer and start typing. I try not to edit until I’m finished, and I always have to edit. And I always write in one sitting. Once I start a piece, I don’t move from the computer until it’s finished. That’s probably why I’m a poetry/creative nonfiction/short story writer. Can you imagine not moving from your seat until you finished a whole novel??
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I am not sure I want this to be a career, so I went with self-publishing. I will say to anyone taking this route – do your research, especially with copyright laws! One thing I like about self – publishing is that it is very self – paced. I put the book on Amazon, then built an author page, then started a blog. It was probably very backwards, but I could roll out each new step as I felt ready for it.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I love how much information is available online, but I really hope print books don’t go away. I love the feel of a book in my hand and the turning of a page. We’re so increasingly digital, I feel like everything will be an ebook eventually (not by tomorrow, of course, but eventually). This makes me a little sad. Humans are notorious for abandoning things that we should keep, and forgetting things we should remember. I think a book, a physical book, is one of those things.
What genres do you write?: poetry, family, faith, short story
What formats are your books in?: eBook
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