Richmond’s own Virginia Pye is the author of River of Dust, to be released on May 14 by Unbridled Books and selected as an Indie Pick for May 2013. Maya Payne Smart interviews her for a glimpse into the discussions JRW will have with Virginia at this month’s Writing Show and our Annual Conference in October.
How did your debut novel arrive on the windswept plains of northwestern China in 1910? Despite the foreign terrain, in what ways were you writing what you know?
My father was born and raised in China as the son of Congregational missionaries in the early twentieth century. I grew up in a household decorated in part with Chinese objects and old, brown-tinged photographs of my grandparents. I have never been to China, but I have an impressionistic sense of the place. Also, I read my grandfather’s journals which document the eerie beauty of that region and some of the customs of the people there. I did some research, but I also relied a lot on my imagination. Apparently, I had a stored up sense of what China felt like at that earlier time.
For years, you approached your writing with great discipline and now you have six manuscripts and many stories and poems to show for it. How did you sustain such motivation over the years and largely on your own? What’s your daily writing routine? How does your short fiction experience inform your novel writing? (more…)