PATIENT: Mercedes M. Yardley
· When did you start writing? Why did you pick the genre you write it?
MMY: I knew as a child that I wanted to be a writer. Knew it in my bones. I wandered away for a few years when I was in college because I was trying to be Responsible, and we all know that writers aren’t Responsible. Thank goodness I finally came back to myself! I call my work “whimsical horror”. Fairytales with a high body count. When I finally let myself write what I wanted to write, that’s what I ended up with.
· Where you get your ideas from? Do you journal at all?
MMY: I get my ideas from everywhere. My antenna is always up. I used to journal like a fiend! I have several journals crammed full with my tiny handwriting. Once I started blogging, I spent more time doing that and less time journaling. I’d like to get back to it, though.
· What’s a normal (writing) day like for you?
MMY: It’s chaotic and unorganized. Mornings are spent trying to slip in a few words while getting three little kids ready. After the morning rush, I try to write while my tiny daughter sits on my lap. Impossible. Once she goes down for a nap, I try to write again. Or clean the house. Then the kids come home and it’s insane again. Once everybody is in bed, it’s back to the keyboard. My current WIP is my lover. I’m constantly slipping away to steal time with it.
· Favorite author or book? Who are you currently reading?
MMY: I love Watership Down, the Fountainhead, and August Frost. Those are my favorites. I’m currently reading all of the work that was nominated for the Bram Stoker Awards. Voting is in a week and I really like to be informed.
· Do you prefer writing poetry or prose? Why one over the other?
MMY: It’s funny, because I feel like my prose is poetic, but my poetry isn’t poetic at all. I’m more comfortable with prose.
· Do you write in silence or with noise (TV, movies, music)?
MMY: There is no such thing as silence at my house. There’s always yelling, laughing, screaming, balls bouncing…things that ping and chirp and spin and creak. In a perfect world, I’d write in absolute silence. Mmm. Maybe with birds or a river in the background.
· Do you have any weird habits when it comes to writing? Do you type or write longhand?
MMY: Oh, I don’t write longhand! What a time consuming task. I type. I suppose a strange habit of mine is glittering the backs of my hands if I’m having a hard time focusing. The glitter keeps bringing my attention back to my hands and the computer. I’m very easily distracted. Know thyself. Even better, know how to counteract thyself.
· Would you consider yourself a Plotter or a Pancer?
MMY: Plotting is a dirty word!
· What do you think is the hardest aspect of the craft?
MMY: I struggle with the discipline. It’s much more tempting to play outside, or spend time with your friends, or shop online than it is to sit and write a NOVEL. Also, if the story isn’t going well? It’s a nightmare. It’s hard to justify why you’re letting life pass you by while metaphorically slamming your head into a brick wall. Discouragement is a writer’s constant companion, I think.
· Current projects?
MMY: Oh, so many! My main focus is finishing my current novel. The working title is Stormlight and it’s a dark women’s fiction. I also have a few other projects in the wings. Two novels to clean up, and a memoir about my son’s rare genetic condition. I’m also working on a couple of short stories.
· How do you balance being an editor and being a writer? (Or double jobs, being a mom/dad, etc.- apply to your situation)
MMY: Balance is tough. I try to write while the older kids are at school. The baby pretty much sits on my lap or plays at my feet. When the kids are home, I try to be present for them, but I’m writing. They know Mom works. They also know they can interrupt me to show me things and talk about their day. I don’t have an office with a door that closes. I write on a laptop, sitting by them on the couch. Mom first, writer second.
· What do you think people expect from you with your writing? EX: Can they always count on a good gross out?
MMY: I think they expect some lyricism from me. I’m more than happy to give it.
· Advice for aspiring writers?
MMY: Take the word “aspiring” out of your vocabulary. Become a writer. Just write. Even if it’s five minutes a day, do it every day. Words have so much power! Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t aspire. Just be.
- Let it Snow: Season’s Greetings for a Super Cool Yule anthology
- Strong Like Butterfly anthology
- Winter Wonders anthology
- Psychos: Serial Killers, Depraved Madmen, and Serial Killers anthology
- I’d also like to announce my new short story collection, Beautiful Sorrows, available on Amazon and at www.shocktotem.com.