Laura Kester Duerrwaechter, a friend and former student, just came out with a new prose collection titled Tattoo. I’ve known Laura for a few years now. We met in a creative writing class I was teaching at Northwest Florida State College. It’s been a pleasure watching her develop her writing ventures over the years.
AYS—I love catching up with friends and fellow writers, especially when new books are involved. Tell me about Tattoo, your latest publishing adventure. Why the shift to darker prose?
Laura Kester Duerrwaechter—I can’t stall any longer. You told me years ago, that my truth was a bit darker than I would admit. Okay. Yup. Re-reading my first poetry chap book, I have had to adjust my identity. Fighting the inevitable is just ridiculous. It’s cathartic, really. A sense of balance emerges when I use the creative outlet of writing to release my demons. I understand you now.
AYS—For readers, there’s a funny story behind the cover art for Tattoo. The half naked man with the wings happens to be Ryan Aussie Smith, also know as my husband and Space and Time co-publisher. This was his first time to do anything like this. Tell me what prompted you to use that image for your cover?
Laura Kester Duerrwaechter—The story of the same title has always been about the main character. I had an image already selected and could not obtain the release or even find the origins of the online image. So, I compromised, using one available to me, sitting in one of a million PDF files on my desktop. I didn’t describe the supporting character based on the physicality of your spouse. It just worked out that way. In this business, I am finding, it’s who you know…
Laura Kester Duerrwaechter—Er, um.
AYS—You write poetry and prose. Which do you identify with most?
Laura Kester Duerrwaechter—Stripped naked I am a poetess. I think in basic noun, verb. I use the rest of the grammatical tools when there is substance that can not be justified through free verse. When it is essential that the reader know, just short of a tautology, what I intend, a short story is the format I prefer. Speaking of… I am guilty of tautologies through-out my shorts. I don’t care. I’m not paying anyone to edit.
AYS—You have a blog you barely mention? Can you tell me what’s happening with that?
Laura Kester Duerrwaechter—Okay, guilty. I lost my authorly virginity to an old website. Don’t even know if blogspot.com is a go-to for emerging writers. I haven’t updated the profile on it ever, just keep posting. I had set up three identities; two for shorts and another for poetry.
Before I met you, I had limited access to publishing venues. I didn’t and still don’t speak my own words at open-mic events. Contacting a publisher through their website sent me into cyber sticker-shock space. So I just sat collecting printed copies for my eyes only. Something in me said “that’s it!
Get your words out there. Leave a trail as to your mortality.” Timing was perfect. No one paid any attention to me, including my family. I didn’t have any support, just a knowing that I must write. I didn’t have any money. My Got Whiskers blog was born. People from all over the globe read. I watched the stats.
We had a conversation in your class about the https address which seemed to be front runner to the new posts. “What do you care if it is a porn site?” your asked me. “Readers are readers.” Yup. Indeed, they still do follow me, especially on the metaphysical topics.
Depending on which personality I am publishing, I select from that virtual file cabinet and put into book form. I used to print everything, place in a folder and every two or three years, edit. I am still digging out old stories and poems from the bottom drawer. But I have recently deleted scads of word documents. I figure I will never run out of material. Not that I’m THAT interesting…!
Laura Kester Duerrwaechter—My immediate line-up for 2020 includes the final book in the series of A Kiss on the Nose, another collection of shorts-memoirs and of course poetry.
AYS—Why did you decide to illustrate your short stories?
Laura Kester Duerrwaechter—Why not? Picture books are a natural invitation for the child within to read the stories. A visual clue solidifies the theme.
AYS—What advice would you give writers in finding the right artist?
Laura Kester Duerrwaechter—Copy and paste what has worked for other authors you admire. Go ahead and explore the undiscovered artist. Connect and ask them to collaborate.
AYS—I know you don’t participate social media, something I disagree with but respect. How can readers find you otherwise?
Laura Kester Duerrwaechter—Readers? Plural? What a concept! Follow my blog. Follow my name on Amazon or Thriftbooks.com. Yup, my babies are already in the secondary market.