Sunday, March 6, 2011

Author Insides - LM Asta

L.M. Asta has published fiction in Philadelphia Stories, Inkwell, Schuylkill, and Lemniscate, and her essays have appeared in Hippocrates and the Journal of the American Medical Association. Current projects include a novel set in a 1950s motel and a collection of stories about physicians who come to the attention of their state medical board and are variously reprimanded, put on probation, have their licenses suspended, and sometimes revoked. You can find her online at http://www.lmasta.com/

Lisa's short story, "The Bulb," appeared in the Autumn 2010 issue of TBS.



Lisas, when did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?


I was writing stories in my third grade composition book. By sixth, my teacher wanted to see what else I was writing.

Why do you write?

Because I can’t not write.

Is being a writer anything like you imagined it would be?

There’s the writing and then there’s the editing. It always takes more time to work something up than I think it’s going to.

What do you think makes a good story?

Character, plot and language must gel. Stories that twist the common or uncommon experiences of writer and reader.

What's your favorite genre to read?

I’ll try anything from the high concept literary fiction that my brother-in-law the English professor recommends to what I unearth to poetry.

Who is your favorite author or poet?

Richard Russo’s early novels, Paul Scott, Vikram Seth; short story writers Donald Ray Pollack, Ron Carlson, Chris Adrian; poets G. C. Waldrep, Donald Hall.

What books or stories have most influenced you as a person?

Mohawk, Richard Russo’s 1994 novel, populates a town with characters forced to cope with things that aren’t there anymore.

Where/how do you find the most inspiration?

Juxtapositions. The book Black Plants: 75 Striking Choices for the Garden prompted me to wonder who might want a garden dark of leaf and blossom. What would it look like? Smell like?

What does your family think of your writing?

In high school my grandfather wrote me, “Your mother mentioned something about you wanting to be a writer, fine and dandy, but only as a hobby; don’t try to make a living out of it.” He was a great reader and a realist. When I was a kid he bought me hardback classics and also supported my lesser reading habits.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

The painter Hugo Anderson insists that you give your creative work your best hours, not the little scraps of time at the end of the day when you’re exhausted. I’m at something everyday.

Do you have any writing quirks or rituals?

Blue-black fountain pen ink and my submissions talisman.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Finding more time to write.

What are your current projects?

My first novel, Motel 301, follows the Wilms’s family motel and the Gerlicke farm in the decades following the passage of the 1956 Interstate Highway Act.

What are you planning for future projects?

I have a group of stories about the 007’s—physicians who come to the attention of their state medical board.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Read. Write. Repeat.

Where else can we find your work?

I’ve also published fiction in Philadelphia Stories, Inkwell, Schuylkill, and Lemniscate, and my essays have appeared in Hippocrates and the Journal of the American Medical Association. There are links at http://www.lmasta.com/