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Emily Devenport

answers the Usual Questions

Writer Emily Devenport, photograph courtesy of the author; 220x218

Emily Devenport

Emily Devenport has written under the names Emily Devenport, Maggy Thomas and Lee Hogan. She has been published in the U.S., the U.K., Italy, and Israel.

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

I can't say that my interactions with fans have affected my work, but I confess I'm always surprised (and pleased) to have fans in the first place.

I'm just enough of an oddball to have received a lot of guff in my life for thinking the things I think, saying the things I say, and writing the things I write. These days, so many of us are "oddballs" that we're now more of a majority (or maybe the world is just getting around to admitting how odd we all are), so I feel very much at home these days. But it wasn't always that way.

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

There is a letter that stands out, and it was a fan letter, but I can't repeat the content here because it's x-rated. It was actually quite positive in tone, and not offensive -- I apparently helped the reader with an issue she had been struggling with for some time. I'm glad I was able to do that. But that's all I can say about it.

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

If I were to list all of the books, movies, TV that have influenced me, you would be quite annoyed with the size of this posting. Here's a smattering: Poe, Bradbury, Tolkien, Brothers Grimm, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Time Tunnel, Lost In Space, Godzilla, Comic Books, Charlie Brown and Co., Musicals, Night Gallery, Jason & the Argonauts . . .

I've read The Hobbit several times, and The Lord Of The Rings, but I perceive them differently every time I read them, especially now that I know more about Tolkien and his experiences in WWI. My favorite composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams is also from that time and place, and also served in the British forces in WWI, and though I'm pretty sure they didn't know each other, their lives seem quite interwoven to me.

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

My husband, artist/writer Ernest Hogan. He is my pal, my cohort, my sweetheart, my hiking and traveling companion.

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

A psychotic ex-co-worker who shall remain nameless.

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

I would pack my favorite music and audio books. Since these could be stored electronically, I could take a huge library. I wish I could say the same thing about cupcakes.

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

There was a time when I would have said money, because I thought being well-paid would give me the freedom to write what I want to write and live my life without the burden of a day job. I never achieved that kind of financial success, but I've known a lot of writers who have, and their experiences have taught me that my assumptions were wrong. They don't have the freedom to write what they want, they have to write what the market and/or their publishers demand, and many of them are working 10-hours days now. This is the opposite of what I want.

So now I realize that creative freedom is more important to me. The day job is the price I have to pay for that, and I accept that. I'm enjoying writing more than I have in a long time. But there is always a down side (see the question below for illumination).

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

Being able to express yourself is a gift. But for many of us, this gift comes with a price. The urge to write is often an obsessive/compulsive condition, though it isn't necessarily a disorder (a disorder being defined as something that does measurable harm to your family, your peace of mind, and your ability to earn a living). Having a good day job is one way that many writers keep their condition from becoming a disorder, but a good day job is a rarity these days. Somehow you have to make peace with yourself as a writer.

This may sound odd, but the conclusion I've reached is that it's necessary for me to be a competent writer (meaning that I need to have a good grasp of the tools of my craft), but it's not necessary for me to be a good writer (meaning that everyone has to like my work or consider it life-changing and inspiring). The ability to self-publish has given me a level of freedom I could not have imagined when I started out, over 20 years ago. I pay a professional editor to go over my manuscripts, and this gives me the confidence to self-publish my work. It has not earned me much money, so at this point you could justifiably label it an expensive hobby. But you could make that claim about writing in general, since it earns a solid living for so few of its practitioners. For now, I'm still plugging, and that's what counts.

submitted by Emily Devenport

11 October 2013

For other answers to The Usual Questions Click here

Just the facts:
Bibliography/Awards: Broken Time (which was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award)
see her Blog

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