Most of my adult life I lived in New York City. I marched in the first Gay Pride Parade in 1970. After leaving music, I supported myself writing how-to books in finance, and textbooks in music; my formal education was in music theory and composition (UNT and Princeton). I’m an old man now, and I live in a small Texas town where I’m very out of place. I was accepted into and survived the Odyssey Writers’ Workshop in 2010. That’s where I really learned to write.
Q: What is your favorite word?
A: Tintinnabulation is my favorite word. How musical it sounds. How magical. For me, this word always evokes a picture of fairy bells ringing in the breeze.
Octavia Cade has a PhD in science communication. Though seaweed was her first biological love, she’s currently researching the germination triggers of New Zealand’s only seagrass.
Q: Is there a specific environment you find most conducive to writing, and is it different for different kinds of scenes?
A: The only place I can get any writing done is in my home office. I’ve never been able to write in public places like coffee shops, and I can’t get any writing done if there is any kind of distraction (including music). In order to write I need quiet, stillness, and the comforting/sinister presence of the Dalek sculpture I keep on my desk.
Sabrina N. Balmick was brought up on a steady diet of fairy tales and folklore. When she isn’t dreaming up new fantasy worlds, she leads content strategy and marketing for a national recruitment firm. She lives in South Florida.
Q: What tools do you write with?
A: My favorite tools are questions. What if? How might that happen? What could possibly go wrong? I usually answer these questions while drinking a good cup of coffee and scratching on a piece of paper with a pencil. Sometimes this produces elaborate doodles instead of writing, but it’s a fun way to start.
Once I have an outline or at least a sketch of what I want to write about, I move on to a keyboard. The keyboard is a very important tool for me because a) I can type faster than I can write, and b) my pencil doesn’t have spellcheck. But the most important tool I have in my writer’s arsenal is a long walk. When my plot is twisting in the wrong way and my dialogue is growing sleepy, there is nothing like a long walk to give me perspective and wake up those inner voices. Plus, the dog loves it. Like Douglas Adams’ character, Dirk Gently, who claims he rarely ends up where he was intending to go, but often ends up somewhere that he needed to be, I think sometimes you can set out intending to write the next best thing in short fiction but end up making the dog happy and that is okay.