Pulp Literature: Did you create the flawed and admirable character Gret deliberately, or did she walk out of the woods into your heart?
Brenda Carre: Gret-the-witch strode into Truth-seer, the epic fantasy novel I am currently revising. In Truth-seer she is older and crustier. I loved her instantly and knew she had a back-story I was going to write some day. When Ragnarok Publications put out its open call for stories I took the opportunity to begin Gret’s story. As soon as I was one or two pages in, I knew I wanted to handle Gret’s life in a series of chapters that would eventually become a novel.
PL: As an artist, as well as a writer and speaker, how does your art inform your writing?
BC: I see so many parallels between the canvas and structure of visual arts and story. One informs the other. Both are narratives that spring from the artist’s desire. Both begin with impulse, extend into vision, and finish with process. I see both as a kind of push and pull between the artist and the creation, where artist/storyteller is the vehicle for the creation, structuring it and reining it in, but always with a respect for what is being formed. The best writers and artists are those who can perfectly bridge the gap between themselves and their viewer/reader with
the creation itself, which perfectly expresses the understanding on both sides, both viewer and creator. Hard to do but always simple and clear to behold.
PL: You give brilliant workshops on world building. What was your first new world?
BC: My first written universe was the world of the Chronicles of Ardebrin, the alternate world in which both my current work Truth-seer and Gret take place. I began this world when I was seventeen, though I began to invent worlds long before I learned to write by lying in bed and telling myself stories. I latched onto the oral tradition of storytelling from my dad, who used to sit and tell us stories every night. I think he got his skill at storytelling from his dad, who used to do the same thing.
PL: You live in such a beautiful part of the world. Does your own setting greatly influence your fictional settings?
BC: Absolutely and all of the time. Many of my short stories take place here on Vancouver Island. I am currently writing a faery story, ‘Ondine’, for a story bundle coming out in May. It’s set in New York City and on Chesterman Beach near Tofino.
PL: Can you remember your first magical influences?
BC: These had to be the stories my dad made up on the spur of the moment. He had a creative impulse that was deeply sensitive to myth and magic. I was lucky.
PL: We love your use of language and special idiom. Where do your voices come from?
BC: I have to listen hard, but if I do, I hear them clearly. Then I take dictation. Sometimes doing this is harder than others, obviously. The hardness for me is letting go of what I think needs to happen. Listening for the story voice started early on in my writing career when I began to ‘interview’ my characters. It freaked me out at first, because often their voices would come through loud and clear. The thought of ‘voices’ in your head and all that. Nevertheless I decided there was nothing alien about this after talking to other writers, and I started asking my characters questions off the cuff to see what they’d say. I always knew it was getting good when my characters would start to ask me questions back.
PL: What projects lie ahead for you? What shall we watch for on brendacarre.com?
BC: I’m hoping to put up more interviews from fellow artists and authors about their sources of inspiration as well as more free stories of the month. I want to return to my art and show more of that as well, once I have finished the revisions of Truth-seer.i have a lot of stories that have been previously sold to anthologies that need covers and a home as e-publications. The business end of this job is at times bewildering: there are covers to design, branding to consider, and connections to make out there in the form of story bundles and shared worlds. I have several projects to write for in these areas and some revisions to make on my website.