Wednesday 4th December - Copper Rose
Sixteen Questions for Sixteen Authors
Contributor spotlight : Copper Rose, author of “The Last Word”
Stepping with pin-point precision into the interviewer's laser beam today is Copper Rose, who wrote the short story “The Last Word” for the “Dragon Bone Soup” anthology (published in December 2019). Copper Rose submitted one of the few light science-fiction stories which, in a mere 1,800 words, paints a dystopian near(ish) future. True to the genre, the story picks strands we are familiar with in contemporary life and asks what would happen if they continued to develop over time into more extreme forms? The strands chosen in "The Last Word" are gamification, emoji and the erosion of language, creativity and freedom. Heavyweight matters. But don't let this put you off - it is a treat to read.
What is your real name and what name do you write under (if they are different)?
My name is Julie Eger. I write under the names Copper Rose and A.J. Lawdring. Copper provides the meat for the sandwich, A.J. is the unexpected condiment and Julie is the marbled rye that holds it all together.
Where do you hail from?
I live in central Wisconsin, USA.
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
The change of seasons, the land, the lakes. The quiet. They make really good pie here.
Has writing made you look at the world any differently?
I don’t think writing has made me look at the world differently—I think me looking at the world differently inspires me to write. An open gate, light reflecting off a rearview mirror, how he wipes his beard with an embroidered cloth napkin, how she studies people out of the corner of her eye. It’s like the world is constantly sending messages, and not all of us see the messages, or if we do, we don’t see them the same way.
Where do your ideas come from?
Amazingly, I get a lot of ideas while I’m standing in line at the grocery store. I saw a woman with a purple purse and a whole story about her jumped into my mind. I didn’t have anything to write on so I took a pen out of my pocket and wrote the idea down on a banana peel in the bunch of bananas in my cart. I get ideas by listening to people talk. About their lives. Their relationships. Their lack of relationships. Sometimes a whole story will unfold inside my head just by glimpsing a shooting star or a frog jumping out of a pond. A fly on a window. And my family. They might not know it, but they could have their own TV show. My family supplies me with an unlimited pool to pull writing ideas from.
What effect or impact would you like your writing to have on your readers?
I would like my stories to evoke an emotion from the reader. Where they suck in their breath at the end of the story and say, “Wow, that really hit home,” or “I never saw that coming.” And then have them think about the story for a long time after and talk to their friends about what I wrote.
Describe your perfect writing day.
Sleep late, read, drink coffee, read, write, walk, draw, read, nap, read, drink wine, write, sleep. I would never get out of my pajamas and I would be alone with my story all day.
Are you a tea or coffee person?
I am all about coffee. Strong with copious amounts of real cream, no sweeteners.
What is your favourite music and/or snack while you write?
I listen to classic country music when I’m writing. On a traditional radio station, with ads. It’s what I listened to growing up. It’s what transports me to different worlds. The more twang in the music, the better I like it.
What are the three best pieces of advice you could give to a new author about writing?
- Just because someone doesn’t like your story doesn’t mean it’s not good enough.
- If you’ve written the best story you can write, find where it fits, where it belongs.
- Don’t stop looking until you find that place.
What was your break-through moment, when you realised that your writing had turned a corner?
When my stories started being accepted in 2018 in the Clarendon House Anthologies, The World of Myth and Spillwords. Receiving those acceptances gave me confidence. I started to see that Copper Rose had an audience. It was amazing. I started submitting to other journals and found they liked my stories too.
What has been your proudest moment as a writer?
I have three moments that stand out for me in my writing. The first was winning the Bard’s Chair in The Wisconsin Regional Writer’s Jade Ring contest in 2007. I got to carve my name in the chair and keep the chair in my home for one year before I turned it over to the next year’s winner. The second moment that stands out for me was having my poem “Free Falling Eagles” voted as reader’s choice in Cadence—a poetry anthology published by Clarendon House Publications. I won a chance to have Clarendon House publish one of my collections. The third moment was placing as a finalist in the Great Clarendon House Writing Challenge in 2019. My stories made it all the way to the final three.
What is the best compliment you ever received about something you’d written?
One day a woman said she enjoyed my work so much she wanted to take a moment and read my words back to me. She pulled one of my poems out of her pocket and read it out loud. I was so moved by her emotion that I cried. So did the other people who had come to stand around me in the bookstore while she was reading what I’d written.
What are you working on right now?
A collection of Copper Rose stories to be published by Clarendon House Publications. Release date is tentatively set for late 2019 or early 2020.
What are your plans for the future?
Copper’s plan for the future is to keep noticing stories and poems when they show up and capturing them on the page so she can share them with others.
How can readers find you online and on social media?
Facebook: Author Copper Rose.