Author Interview, Christa Polkinhorn

Author Interview #17, with (multi-talented) writer/translator/poet/painter, Christa Polkinhorn!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

Optimistic, passionate, opinionated, solitary, gregarious – contradictory? Yes, that’s me.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

They watched as the vibrant greens of the fields darkened and the mountains turned from reddish-brown to orange, vermilion, and then to a deep purple. The shadows lengthened and poured into the crevices along the folded rocks. Above the dark surface of a lake in the distance, the snow-covered mountains lit up once more before they, too, faded into the night. The sun left a band of intense crimson in the sky along the horizon, as if to remind the world that it will rise again. (Love of a Stonemason)

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

We came on the wind of the carnival. A warm wind for February, laden with the hot greasy scents of frying pancakes and sausages and powdery-sweet waffles cooked on the hot plate right there by the roadside, with the confetti sleeting down collars and cuffs and rolling in the gutters like an idiot antidote to winter.” (Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

I published several poems in poetry magazines and a small volume of poetry Path of Fire with a small traditional publishing company. When I tried to find an agent for my novel, the publishing industry just entered a period of great uncertainty due to the economic crisis and the revolution in digital and ebook publishing. I realized that it might take a very long time to find an agent who would accept an unknown author and, perhaps, even longer to find a publisher. I was in touch with several authors who published their work independently. I have some background in computers and started to format my novel as an ebook. It was just an experiment to see if I could do it. The longer I was involved in the process, the more excited I became. An artist friend of mine designed a cover for the book, which I liked so much better than most of the book covers created by publishing companies (which I often find gaudy and over-crowded). In the meantime, I also formatted my novel as a paper back with CreateSpace. I just got the proof and I love it. Independent or self-publishing may not be for everyone. I have always loved to be independent and do things on my own. Since I am not interested in becoming a bestseller author but would love to have a group of dedicated readers, who enjoy my work, self-publishing seems to be the way to go.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

For me, good writing is a combination of heart and mind, plot and language, meaningful content and vivid imagery. I love the quotation by Ben Franklin: “Either write something worth reading, or live something worth writing about.”

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

You are allowed to write “crap.” When you start to write something, turn off the internal editor and let it flow. Once you have a draft, then turn on the internal editor, grab that red pen, and be ruthless. Cut, cut, rewrite, cut, cut. Then find a good editor and let him or her read your draft. We as writers are too close to our own text to be objective. The most difficult part is to know what suggestions from the editor to accept and what to discard. It’s a matter of honesty and practice. Never cut something that’s really important to you, but when five people tell you, it doesn’t work, then you better take a second or third look at it! That’s a lot more than one tip. But the business of editing is of particular importance for independently published writers.

Your websites/blogs/etc:

Amazon Author Page:
Indie Books Blog:

Much thanks to Ms. Polkinhorn for the chat!


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