Wrestling With Imagination | An Interview With Alicia Bruzzone

Two rooms winner Alicia Bruzzone talks about her inspiration for writing great stories.

Who are you? Where are you? And how did you discover NiTH?

I am currently a stay at home mum living in Brisbane. My goal for the week was to enter some short story competitions, so I googled current ones running in Australia. That led me to the Australian Writer’s Resource, which led me to NiTH.

Your debut story, Identifying Ogres took out first place in a crowded short list. What was the inspiration for your story?

I hadn’t written unreliable narrator before, but if you’ve heard some of the things my kids have told me you’d know I’ve lived it! My husband was watching WWE in the living room, and it went from there.

That part about the kids made me laugh. Do you think childhood plays an important role in developing our storytelling abilities?

Childhood is definitely important in shaping storytelling. The fantastical tales my kids come up with are astounding! They haven’t discovered what isn’t possible yet, so I do have a daughter who believes if she can fly she can then take over the world, and make everyone eat chocolate cake (Unless they’re allergic, she’s considerate like that). The older you get the more learning becomes focused on analysis and presenting facts, and the whimsy is a little lost. I think we need that time of unrestrained imagination to keep the possibilities open in our minds.

I can’t read my own handwriting most of the time, so everything is done on my laptop.

You talked about setting yourself a goal for the week. How important do you think it is for writers to set goals? And have you set and new targets since your victory with Identifying Ogres?

I always have weekly goals, even if they make no relevance to anything. Achieving something, even tiny and insignificant, gives me a little endorphin kick and makes me more willing to accomplish that something else I’ve been putting off. I am mostly terrible at long term goals, but breaking it down and setting little increments with a deadline I seem to manage. If it seems impossible I think you’re more likely to give up, but by focusing on the step ahead and not the huge obstacle it becomes achievable. If things comes up and I derail- well, I only loose a week and it rolls over into the next one. With everything in life you get better if you practice, so I think writers should all be setting goals to just constantly write anything, and hopefully it time it becomes something. I’m aiming a little higher this time- I signed up for NaNoMriMo for the first time, so I have November allocated to writing an entire manuscript. This week is set aside for researching so I actually know what I’m talking about when I go to write.

Identifying Ogres was followed by Refitting Shattered Pieces, and I don’t think it surprised anyone when you took out the win again. How’s it feel to take out two wins in as many weeks.

Honestly, two wins in a row feels like waiting for a punchline. I’ve been writing for my own amusement and only recently began entering anything. Pretty amazing! Thanks to NiTH I have treated myself to several celebratory frozen cokes! (I have slight addiction. That and Disney Channel)

So what’s your secret? Do you have any rituals or routines when you write?

I can’t read my own handwriting most of the time, so everything is done on my laptop. I like quiet when I write, which leaves naptime and bedtime. I’m not much of a night owl, so I’ll usually have a cup of tea and light on if I’m trying to get anything big done so I don’t drift off. I have been known to fall asleep with my computer on my lap, which was when I switched to writing at the table instead of on the lounge. Beyond that, I ritualistically hit save every half a page. It’s an ingrained habit now, I accidentally try to do it in other programs as well.

Have you got a website or anywhere else where we can read other stories?

I don’t have a website as of yet. I have another short story from a previous competition win up on the Arts Alliance of Pine Rivers Writers page.

Are there any authors or stories at NiTH that you’ve liked so far?

I like a little bit of the ridiculous in life, so I did have a good chuckle at Another Cheesy Comedy by David R Ford this week.

What about authors in general… And are you reading anything good at the moment?

My favourite authors are: Kimberly Montague, Richelle Mead, Ann Aguirre, and I’m just delving into Jennifer Armentrout since I loved her Dark Elements series. For the most part I love anything YA, NA, paranormal, or romance; but I will read anything. I am currently reading Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, which is fantastic.

Thanks for joining us Alicia and good luck with future competitions!