Not only do Madona Skaff’s short stories appear in both The Whole She-Bang and The Whole She-Bang 2, she has two stories in each. I sat down with Madona as part of the “Interview with an Author” She-Bang series to find out more about her, and her writing process.
Tell me a little about yourself.
With a degree in biology, I somehow ended up in mining research. My scientific background always helped inspire my Sci Fi stories, and has been known to occasionally sneak into my mystery stories. “Hideaway” and “The Bouquet” appear in THSB. “Testimony” and “First Impressions” appear in THSB-2. I have two mystery novels bravely out in the world searching for a home.
Let’s talk about your writing process.
I try to write every day. Usually in the morning and afternoon when only the dog is in the house. But if I have a deadline, I can sometimes be found typing my heart out at midnight.
You have two stories in each She-Bang anthology. That’s quite an accomplishment. What’s your secret?
Paying attention to the guidelines, tweaking and re-editing! For THSB, I had two stories that were on the long side—5,000 words—a tough length for markets. With a bit of re-editing, I submitted them. For THSB2, I did have two stories lying around, well, okay, they’d been banging on the file, screaming to be let out for some time. Those needed a bit of tweaking to make them presentable.
What was your reaction when you received the email notice of acceptance?
The first time: Because these two stories had been rejected so much before, I had to reread the letter a couple of times. Wow, an acceptance! Then when the second story got accepted – let’s just say I did a little dance. For THSB2, I was hoping one might make it in. But when BOTH were accepted…the dance was just a little bigger, accompanied by singing.
Janet Costello is the editor for both anthologies. What was your experience with the editing process?
She’s just wonderful. Working with Janet felt exactly like a partnership. Both of us making sure it was the best story I could write.
How involved are you with your own marketing and promotion?
Now authors need to be more involved in the actual promotion process. This can mean setting up readings and signings on their own, which can be difficult for writers who tend to be introverted, such as myself. Also, we need to increase our online presence, something I’m trying to do. But all these extra tasks do take away from the writing process. Fortunately, I’ve always been able to write anywhere, using either a notepad, my phone, or even a paper towel.
We’re having a launch at Sleuth of Baker Street on November 22nd. What can the other authors AND the guests expect from a book launch?
They can expect a fun time. There will be some readings from the anthology. A chance for the guests to meet the authors, and a chance for the writers to meet each other. And everyone to get autographs. Yes, even we want autographs from each other.
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend the launch on the 22nd. But I want to send best wishes from Ottawa to everyone. If there’s wine, have a glass for me. The three Ottawa authors (Linda Wiken, Elizabeth Hosang and myself) are planning to have a mini launch of our own, the week after the 22nd.
Thank you, Madona. I look forward to reading you.
April 24, 2015: Congratulations to Madona for making the 2015 Arthur Ellis Shortlist for her short story “First Impressions.”