Virginia Carraway Stark: Starklight Press
Meeting the Rising Writer No. 5
Hey, everyone. For those who are in Authors’ Tale, you may know I’ve been featuring writers for a few months now. I only recently started featuring writers on my blog. Well, today I am featuring the group’s fifth Tale Tuesday writer, and I can’t wait for you to meet her. 🙂
Today, I’d like to introduce you to a writer who has several pieces in collaborative projects, Virginia Carraway Stark. As a writer, she keeps her maiden name, Carraway, as well as her married name.
Virginia has agreed to a virtual interview with me today, and she has opened up a lot for me to share with you today.
Thank you, Virginia. It’s wonderful to have had time to get to know you.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing, I like to play with art and I also love to play costumes and dress up. I have dogs, geese, chickens, goats and a lovebird named Sunny so they keep me pretty busy.
I have a large garden, fruit trees and a piece of land where my husband and I are building a cabin. The cabin will one day be our guest cabin as we continue on with our plans. We hope, one day, to be able to hold writers retreats.
I love water and like swimming, hot tubbing and having hot baths with essential oils and other goodies in it. I like to sing and sing in our local church choir when I’m at home.
I am involved with the Fraser Lake Acting Society and we put on short plays and skits for the general bemusement of the local community. Occasionally I also get up to a YouTube video or two.
Does your husband write, too?
Yes, he does! That’s actually how we met. Tony had an online science fiction series that he had developed with a friend. He found me online and invited me to work with them. We met in person later on.
When did you start writing?
I started writing as soon as I could hold a pen – silly little picture stories for the most part. Even before that, however, I told stories. I was always thinking about why things could be the way they are, or the way they appear to be and coming up with plausible explanations for it. I was always coming up with fun stories to play with and my friends and I would often act out different parts to advance the plots in the worlds I created.
What inspires your writing?
Oh, strange things. A random thought, a stray moonbeam, the way something feels against my skin. A lot of my writing will start off as a scene from a dream and then the rest will flower outward from there. My husband, Anthony Stark, is a writer as well and he and I will often play with our worlds to figure out things. Sometimes, it’s a single sentence in a book I will be reading that will spur a whole train of thought that can grow an entire world from it. Every so often it’s something someone will say or do, but rarely. Conversations with other creative people can quickly spin into whole stories as well and then one of us will say, “One of us should write this”. Sometimes when that happens we will both write a different version of the main thrust of our conversation and that’s really fun to see where it ends up.
I also enjoy prompts and a lot of the anthologies I’ve been published in have been spurred by the ‘can you’ game of writing. Can you write a story about a werewolf detective? Can you write a story about a scarecrow?
I’m all about the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘can you’!
What do you hope to achieve with your writing?
I want to tell stories. I want them to be good stories. I want to lance them out of me and pour them onto the page before they implode inside of me.
What are you currently working on? How did you begin working on it?
I am currently trying to finish the editing and final work on Carnival Fun. That is one of my central goals at the moment. I am also working on a collaborative novel called, “Appetites” with my husband and a zombie novel called “Bit” with five other authors as well as some large collaborations with many other authors for two novels “Wytch Born” and “Ark”. I have a group poetry anthology coming by Christmas and a poetry anthology of my own work by the end of the year as well. I am editing and preparing a novella my uncle wrote when he was 19 about him, my Dad and a ‘Fantastic Machine’ that was a ’57 Chevy. I am also a Director at the National Paranormal Society, and I am involved with the start up of a new magazine called, “Outermost”. Our first three editions already have a stellar lineup of people in the paranormal field who have either contributed stories, articles or have agreed to be interviewed.
I am working on a memoir about my own life as well as working with various people in my family to chronicle their own histories into an anthology. I am working on the sequel to “Dalton’s Daughter” and hope to finish, “The Decay of Man” as my NaNoWriMo project.
I contribute monthly columns to The Phraser Connector, which is a local paper available in print and more recently has been made available online. I also contribute monthly to The Northern Scribblers which is a local writer’s group that can be found online as well.
I also had two stories accepted into the ‘Voices of the Valley Anthology’ and so I am finishing the final edits on those as well. One of them is about my father being attacked by a moose and the other is about an intimate wild encounter that I had with a wolverine.
You have a lot of projects going on. Give us insight to your main character for Carnival Fun. Who is he or she? What is his or her purpose?
Virna Grant is the main character in Carnival Fun and nearly the entire story takes place from her perspective. Virna is an innocent, despite being a married woman she is still a virgin as her husband is gay and only married her for the appearance of things. Virna didn’t know that when they got married and as a result of her peculiar position, she inadvertently embodies the archetype of ‘Mother inverted to Crone’. As a result of this, she become the subject of a wager between four supernatural Kings who govern the seasons. Whoever wins Virna’s heart will hold sway over the physical world.
Virna is desperately unhappy and she abuses pharmaceuticals and alcohol as a constant escape from reality. This makes her more susceptible to the interdimensional whiles of the Kings and the creatures who serve their behest as well as landing her in the psychiatric ward when she nearly dies from an overdose.
Do you research your book?
Depends on the book or the story. I have done some intense Google searches that have undoubtedly landed me on some watch lists. Research on poisons, different ways for people and animals to die. I’ve done a lot of research for the science fiction world on elements and their properties. For one alien race, who was being slowly destroyed by a black hole, their salvation came from one of their people noticing the meteors were burning a particular color that was equated to only one element. The element was also required for the warp drives of their space ships and was in short supply, so this saved the day.
Tons of research on mushrooms. I think mushrooms are awesome. They have a primitive intelligence and a hive mind and can talk to each other from miles and miles away. They are some of the most complicated and poorly understood things on our planet.
Biology, quite a few medical references, and some chemistry too… lots of physics. Fossas and Baobab Lane…really, there are too many topics to name. Most of the research that I do is often done before I know exactly where I’m going with it. I have a hunch and start digging. The most intense, hands-on research I did was to actually meet with former and current junkies to discuss what taking hardcore drugs and mixing them was like. I found out about withdrawals, rituals and deaths and other horrible things they had experienced.
When do you usually write? Do you have a word goal or page goal when you write?
It’s very rare that I don’t write in a day, even if it’s just a couple of poems or a journal entry, something like that. I prefer to write in the afternoon, evening or in the dead of the night. That is when I am most productive and have the most fun. I don’t usually have a word goal or page goal when I set out unless I’m taking part in NaNoWriMo or some other challenge; usually, I’ll be more likely to want to finish a certain number of scenes. “I just want to finish to where Virna wakes up in rehab,” Would be an example of a goal I would have had from Carnival Fun.
What books or writing projects have you completed in the past? (You may include links and photos if you have them)
I’ve written the screenplay, “Blind Eye,” which was made into a film with Rowdy Roddy Piper and Nick Mancuso and then the screenplay, “The Mystical Adventures of Billy Owens,” and the sequel to it as well. It also had Roddy Piper in it.
I have been published by Magpie Publications in “Bittersweet” and “Modern Cult Classics 2”. I’ve been published in Cobalt Publications in the upcoming anthology, “Voices of the Valley”. I’ve also been published by Weaveworld publications in the anthology “Scarecrow”. “The Toadstools of Rire”.
I’ve been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Possible (which was featured on Inside Edition).
I have been published in Starklight Anthologies volumes 1-3 with number 4 upcoming this winter. Tales from Space Volume 1 (Volume 2 upcoming early in 2016). My novel Dalton’s Daughter from Starklight Press. Carnival Fun will be released next week so that nearly counts as finished!
I’ve also been a guest contributor on different blogs and have won some contests and other sorts of alternative types of publications.
The collaborative writing projects, “The Concierge” as well as “Ambition” are both now completed.
Two years of the annual 24-hour Poetry Marathon. I had poems published in the 2014 Poetry Marathon Anthology as well as Inflight magazine.
I think I’m missing some, but this is what comes to mind right now.
Are you reading any books right now? If so, what are you reading? If not, why?
I am reading a couple of books right now; some of them are anthologies that I have stories in so I am reading them to get an idea of the other writers involved. Bittersweet and Cult Classics 2 are both two examples of those. I also found this really cool book called, “Rumo and His Miraculous Adventures”. It’s translated from German and I’ve got to say, it is an utterly engrossing book. I picked it up on a whim at my friend’s used bookstore (Faking Sanity, awesome name) and I haven’t regretted that whim for one page turn. Thoroughly full of amazeballs!
Do you have any favorite books? Favorite motivational quotes?
My favorite quote and a fake quote attributed to Cleopatra, “It’s just a teeny tiny viper”.
I love this quote because it’s true. It’s the littlest of things that change all of history. Imagine for a moment if Cleopatra had been captured by Caesar instead of letting the vipers bite her breast. She would have been a prisoner, captured and paraded in chains through the streets of Rome. Afterward, she would have been a slave and used however the Romans chose to use the once lofty queen.
Maybe it would have been better if she had not died on her bed of emeralds and gone on to fight another day. She was terribly clever, perhaps she would have found a way to seduce Caesar and get back on top again. She didn’t though; she died at the height of her beauty and on her own terms. What a little thing to change so much.
In stories, like in life, it is the little things that change everything for us. It is a smudge of lipstick on a husband’s collar, a driver distracted by a text, a line in a poem that makes us believe that beauty and love exist in the universe.
It’s just a teeny tiny viper. You can use those little things for profound good or profound ill. We can make the world a better or a worse place with each little thing we do. It’s these acts of kindness or little cruelties that often change lives forever.
What/who are your favorite or most reliable support groups?
I have been enjoying Northern Scribblers, especially the portion of the group that meets up in real life. There isn’t anything that quite beats face-to-face sharing with other creative people. I also have a writing page called, ‘Writing Challenge Fun‘ where we share poetry and writing prompts. Lately, I’ve been spending a fair bit of time in Authors’ Tale and the Rambling Cafe. I think I get the most support from my creative chums, starting with my husband who helps me out with ideas and development all the time. My friends online, especially in the Collaborative Writing group, and I spend a lot of time chatting privately and they are always supportive and inspirational.
How can readers and fellow writers discover more about you and your work?
Goodreads: Virginia Carraway Stark
Thank you so much for taking time to participate in this interview. You have quite a story, and you are involved in so many things…it has been a pleasure getting to know you! You seem to have a lot going for you, and I’m excited to see where else you go. For someone like you to have so much support and a willingness to be a part of so much more is inspirational to writers who are working their way up the same rope.
Thank you to all who took time to meet this amazing writer. If you have any questions or comments for her, please place them below and she’ll be notified accordingly. If you haven’t yet, read her excerpt on Authors’ Tale (if it’s still Oct. 12, 2015).
I hope y’all enjoyed getting to know more about her as I did, and I hope y’all have a fantastic day.