CJ: Tell us about yourself? What got you into writing?
RH: I first felt the writing bug bite in junior high when a poem I wrote for a class assignment was featured on the bulletin board and praised by the teacher. I have continued to express myself through writing throughout the years. I am a “what if…” kind of thinker who enjoys fleshing out an odd thought into a story.
CJ: How did you come to write this piece?
RH: With this story I used “scarecrow” as a writing prompt. I have been involved in community theater for many years and at the time was portraying one of the crows heckling the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz. Also, I have always felt a connection to crows.
CJ: What inspires you to write? What is your writing process?
RH: Writing fulfills the need to creatively express myself. Inspiration often strikes from any direction at any time. I love the challenge and artistry of turning an offbeat idea into a story others can enjoy. Stories usually come to me in flashes to be written down as they appear then tweaked and polished.
CJ: Who are some of your favorite writers and influences?
RH: As a teen, I enjoyed reading Ray Bradbury. I was not thinking of becoming an author at that time, but his writing was a big influence. Upbeat, positive music is a good influence as is my participation in community theater, as it gives another way of giving life to a fictional character.
CJ: What are you working on now? What’s next for your writing?
RH: I have had ten stories published thus far. I prefer the science fiction/fantasy genre and plan to continue writing in this line. I am also engaged in the slow motion penning of a novel. I have a good beginning and know the ending but the middle is still concealed in fog.
CJ: What’s the best piece of writing advice you have ever received?
RH: My high school English teacher gave encouragement and two pieces of advice. (1) “A short story should be like a woman’s dress–short enough to be interesting but long enough to cover the subject.” Maybe he shouldn’t have said this? (2) “Write about what you know.” I can’t know what it is like to live on another planet or battle an alien, so I take this to mean know about people, their emotions and motivations. Even if I write about an alien monster, I need to connect to human readers.