The Passed Note Issue 6 February 2018 - Page 10

wanting to become another L. M. Montgomery, I wanted to become her character, Anne Shirley. I loved Anne Shirley. Still do. Not until I went off to college did my passion for reading boil over into writing pursuits.

SRJ: And what is your writing process like? Did you come up with a certain method in writing this book that you hadn’t previously, or was writing this novel just like writing a longer story for you?

MRO: Short story writing is intense: hot and fast, like a sprint. Once I find the impetus—the story’s seed—actually writing the story usually happens quickly, within a week. But then I have to start all over again and dig around for yet another story idea. It can be kind of exhausting. I’m impressed with people who devote their writing time entirely to stories and poems. They must be exercising their brains in magnificent ways. Although I still try to write short fiction on occasion, particularly flashes, I love that the novel permits me to relax into the core idea and stay submerged for a while—to sink into the narrative, wade around a bit, float… And when I love the fictional world I’ve created, I get to linger there. I don’t have to say goodbye too soon. At least in my experience, novel writing is less harrowing and more relaxing, safe, and luxurious.

SRJ: You portray life in the Genesee Valley so accurately, it’s like I was there. It seems, based on your acknowledgments, that you did a lot of research. Can you tell me about that process?