This week, I'd like to introduce you to Katrina Denza. Already a well established short story and flash fiction writer, Kat has just been nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her story "Quiet" which appears in Rebellion: New Voices of Fiction.
Beautiful, generous, and with a truly kind soul, I'd admire Kat even if her wrting wasn't so spectacular. She writes with a fluid grace; the language and metaphors she uses subtly but undeniably enriching the stories. Often she tackles serious subjects, but personalizes them through the characters, who are always people, not constructs. Widely published, you can find Kat in the best lit zines on the web. A sampling:
1) Who are some of your favorite writers, and how do you think they've influenced you?
First, thanks so much for doing this interview, Susan. It’s such a joy to be a part of this book. As far as favorite writers, I have so many. How could I possibly make a list that wouldn’t take up at least ten pages? And my list is always evolving. That said, every writer I admire influences me in some way. It’s a natural part of the apprenticeship.
2) What do you think is your greatest strength or asset in your writing? Your biggest weakness or flaw?
It’s difficult for me to get a sense of my strengths as a writer—I’m far better at identifying my weaknesses: impatience being at the top of the heap. In fact, impatience is probably behind every other weakness found in my writing.
3) When did you first get the feeling not that you wanted to write, but that you could be so successful at it? What are you working on now?
The first time was winning an award for a story I wrote in grade school which didn’t confirm anything in real time, but rather, in hindsight. I didn’t write again until 1999 when I wrote a really dreadful short story (with a couple of good elements) that placed in a local contest. That single event was, for me, a sign that the universe would support the insane and impractical notion that I could write and someone might want to read it.
4) I know you've written short stories and flash. Do you ever dabble in poetry? How about novel length?
I’ve written only one (too sentimental) poem and I’m just now learning the daunting process of writing a novel.
5) Stock question: Dinner with anyone, dead or alive. Who is it?
Virginia Woolf. I read her biography years ago and I have many questions I’d love to ask her. In fact, I wouldn’t let her leave until she answered every last one of them.
6) Other than fiction writing, what's the biggest lie you ever told?
I don’t tell lies.
7)Suppose you can't have both: Would you rather have respect from your peers and critical acclaim (but not making cash from writing), or would you rather be a bestselling author with the fat coin?
I’m stubborn enough, determined enough, to try to have both, however respect and critical acclaim precede the other on my dream list.
8) You've been nominated for a Pushcart Prize for your story "Quiet" in Rebellion. Do you plan to send that information along to every publisher who's ever rejected a story of yours?
Ha! Except they wouldn’t know who the hell I was. I’d be better off sending them an old dirty sock.
9) You tackle some rather serious subjects in your fiction, and yet, there's often a wry wit and humor that pops up unexpectedly. In another interview you've done, you said this: " Today, people are so distracted by the material world, by the ego's cravings, that it's more difficult, but not impossible, to achieve what is necessary for redemption: the marriage of an individual's light and dark sides with absolute acceptance and forgiveness." That's an extremely potent and graceful observation, and it seems like this sort of view threads its way into a lot of your work. Is that something you strive for, or does it just... happen?
I like to think I can see the hilarious and ridiculous and gut-grabbing funny in the worst of situations—it keeps me from taking myself and my neuroses too seriously, and even though I don’t intentionally write “funny,” I’m grateful you noticed the humor. Each time I sit down to write a story, I strive for coherent sentences and to connect with another heart, another soul.