Thanks, Paula Sophia for joining me today.
Elin: Please can you tell me a little bit about the inspiration behind Hystericus? Have you always enjoyed storytelling or was the urge to write fiction a fairly recent development.
Paula Sophia: Hystericus came from a workshop exercise where we were instructed to write something about a true-life experience. I had initially sent it to a friend of mine who was putting together a book about transgender women, The New Goddess, Transgender Women in the Twenty-First Century, published by Fine Tooth Press. The editor decided not to use the story, instead using some of my poetry – several slam pieces I’d written during my short career as a slam poet.
I revived Hystericus (which means of the womb in Greek) while enrolled in a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program at the University of Central Oklahoma. Hystericus proved one of my better efforts according to one of my professors and most of the other students in the program.
I had submitted it to over two-dozen literary magazines, only to get rejection after rejection. One editor wrote comments, saying the story was well-written but unbelievable. This response stung a little since Hystericus is very true-to-life. Everything that happens in the story happened to me in real life, just not on the same day. I did use some literary licence to explore some metaphors: the chain-gang snake at the beginning, the railroad crossing, and the phone call Angelina makes to her mother. (more…)