How did you become a writer?
I’ve always been a storyteller--ever since I was kid. In high school I realized that I could start writing my stories down and it could take me places. I’ve been writing--poetry, short stories, longer works and now novels--ever since. I’m not sure it’s an occupation you choose. I think it reaches out and chooses you. Then drags you down into its clutches and never lets you go.
Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.).
Jim Harrison, Cormac McCarthy, Daniel Woodrell, just to name a few authors. The first book that I ever read that made me go--damn, I want to do that--was Sheri Reynolds’ The Rapture of Canaan.
When and where do you write?
I’m a high school teacher, so I have a pretty hectic schedule. I’ve learned that I can’t write once I come home from work. I’m too exhausted or preoccupied. Instead, I write every single weekend, come rain or shine. I live in Florida and have the benefit of amazing weather, so I do a lot of my writing by hand, sitting outside in the backyard. When it’s time to start typing, I seclude myself in my studio, always with a dog at my side.
What are you working on now?
At the moment, I’m working on my third novel, which is going back to my Southern Gothic roots. In some ways, it’s a re-write of the first novel I ever wrote and self-published. I was never satisfied with that book and so my plan was to fix it up and redeem myself. Of course, since I made that decision, the novel has taken on a life entirely of its own and is going off in a completely new direction.
Have you ever suffered from writer's block?
Not in the usual sense of the term. I usually have more ideas than I want or need when it comes to writing. However, I definitely suffer from stress, anxiety, lack of time and the general love/hate experience that comes with being a writer. Writing isn’t easy. Sometimes it’s the last thing on earth I want to do. But yet, I could never stop.
What's your advice to new writers?
Writing can be hell. If that doesn’t deter you, then keep at it. Keep at it, keep at it and keep pushing, even it feels like you’re going to break. Work hard, but be patient, and most importantly, make sure that you love the story you’re telling. Especially if you’re writing a novel or longer work. You will be spending a lot of time with it and you want to approach it with passion each and every time.
Steph Post is the author of the debut novel A Tree Born Crooked, a Southern literary thriller. She currently lives, writes and teaches writing in St. Petersburg, Florida.