How did you become a writer?
Having been raised in a hyper-religious family I was introduced to Bible stories early on. The misogyny clearly evident in many of those stories enraged me but I learned the power of words and storytelling. I began writing to find a voice that could speak my personal truth to power, and to make sense of the world.
Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.).
Flannery O’Connor, Truman Capote, Connie May Fowler’s Before Woman Had Wings, and of course, Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone.
When and where do you write?
I write in the mornings, sometimes I’ll have another afternoon session. I have a studio out back where it’s quiet. Quiet is a must for me. The only music I will listen to while writing is Spanish guitar.
What are you working on now?
A magical realism short story and a second novel. Sometimes I’ll revisit a short creative nonfiction piece I’ve been working on for about a year.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
All the time. For me, it’s part of the territory.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
“Keep your head down and keep moving forward.” Michael Koryta
What’s your advice to new writers?
Kill your expectations and expect a rough ride. Understand that no one cares more about your work than you do. Hire a lawyer that has only your best interest in mind. Say thank you, a lot. Be kind to others.
Gale Massey’s first novel, The Girl From Blind River, received a 2018 Florida Book Award and debuted in the time-honored Book of the Month Club. Her award-winning stories and essays have appeared in the Tampa Bay Times, Sabal, Seven Hills Press, and other places. She has received fellowships at The Sewanee Writers Conference and Eckerd College’s Writers in Paradise, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Massey, a Florida native, lives in St. Petersburg.