Click here to read Cathy Ulrich’s “Clockwork Heart.”
1. What made you want to become a writer?
For me, it’s not that I ever wanted to become a writer, just that writing was something I’ve always done. It feels more like I have to be a writer, like, what else could I do? I’ve loved reading since I was a child, from fairy tales to comic books to literature. Writing my own stories came kind of naturally.
There have been times, though, when I see a beautiful sentence or read an amazing story, where I think: “This. This is what I want to do. This is what I want to be.” I’m still working on it!
2. What is your genre or writing style and has it changed over time?
It’s just a perfect fit for my imagination, I think. The world is strange and wonderful, filled with strange and wonderful things, and it deserves strange and wonderful stories.
For me, I don’t have the patience for the world-building of fantasy, so magical realism is a nice compromise — plus it gives you the feeling like, hey, maybe something like this could happen, really.
3. What has helped you the most in the writing pursuit?
I had some great teachers in college — all poets. They really encouraged me to keep writing and submitting, writing and submitting.
Of course, they were expecting me to write poetry, but still! Their support has really meant so much to me.
4. How would you describe your writing practice?
On my lunch break at work, I go through the sticky notes I’ve scribbled on throughout the day and work them into legible stories. Then I type them up on a computer, print them out, scribble all over them some more and clean them up. This last part of the process can occur several times, depending on how bad of shape a story is in to begin with.
I always listen to music when I write (with lyrics, even, which I’ve heard a lot of writers can’t do), so that my coworkers won’t bother me while I’m working. I have to use a certain kind of pen to write with, and I keep several backups on me in case I run out of ink. I do have to write things out by hand before typing them in; I’m too easily distracted if I sit at a computer without a story ready to go.
5. What are you writing now?
For a while, I was working on what I’m calling my “Japan” series, which was some flash stories from the point of view of a girl imagining her life in Japan with her wonderful Japanese boyfriend, except her imagination is a bit limited, so she always has some terrible job or other.
Right now, I’m working on a Prince and the Pauper-style piece.
6. Where can someone find out more about your work?
I don’t have an author web site, but I’ve had a humor blog for ages. It’s Hollywood Hates Me, and I do have links to all my stories there.