This interview was interesting to me, mostly because while she is a fellow Black Rose Writing author, I knew nothing about her or her work. Eva Silverfine wears several hats: biologist, copywriter, and author.
You will find her answers to questions sparse and succinct, but I believe that is from her work as a copywriter, and her dabbling with flash fiction. A copywriter’s function is to refine work to the essential without losing the overall flavor of the work. I could be wrong, but I saw this in her answers. Flash fiction strives to tell a story in 1,000 words or less. In other words, get to the point quickly and cleanly.
Still, the interview was interesting to me. I am a people-person and love meeting new and varied individuals. Eva is unique that way, and reminded me of a previous interview I did with an author friend, Tina O’Hailey. A similar genre, too.
Eva has a new book dropping in October: Ephemeral Wings. It not only sounds interesting, but thought-provoking, like her interview. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
What was it that made you decide you had a story to tell and to become an author?
From childhood, I wanted to create the intimate world I found when I immersed myself in a book. I’ve been writing in various forms for years, from journals and letters to personal narratives, short stories, and novels. Between working, children, and self-doubt, it has just taken me a long time to get where I am now.
As an author or writer, what sets you apart from others?
I would not claim to be unique, but a few factors that influence my writing include my formal education as a biologist and my work as a copy editor. I have developed a somewhat sparse style focused very much on my prose.
What genre do you write, and why?
My writing is all over the place—personal narratives, flash fiction, and novel-length work. Even within the novel, although my first two books are structured very much around the natural environment, and are best categorized as literary fiction, one of my WIPs is speculative fiction and the other is young adult.
If you were to name one or two books that you deem unforgettable and that had a major impact on you, what would they be, and why?
One dates back to my youth—Knee Deep in Thunder by Sheila Moon. I cannot even say what it was about that book, but I believe it inspired me to write and perhaps contributed to my studying biology and eventually incorporating that field into my writing. The other, read many years ago, is Heinrich Bölls Billiards at Half Past Nine. His sparse writing style and his telling of one day from the perspectives of different people was revelatory at the time.
What authors do you read regularly? Why?
I read all over the place and don’t “regularly” read anyone. However, some of my go-to authors are Margaret Atwood, Geraldine Brooks, Michael Chabon, Sarah Dunant, N.K. Jemison, Barbara Kingsolver, David Mitchell, Iain Pears, and Annie Proulx. When an interesting story line is combined with well-portrayed characters and good writing, I become immersed.
If you were to have dinner with 5 individuals living or dead, who would they be and why?
I could try to be erudite here, but I am going to be honest. When I read this question, the response that popped immediately into my head was people whom I have lost—family members and friends. I’ll leave it at that.
What is your writing routine? When you write, are you a planner/outliner or are you a “pantser”?
My routine varies. When I am working as an editor, I am not able to write, both because of time restraints but, more importantly, mental space/how my brain functions. When I am working on a novel, I try to push through a scene or segment in the course of a day and, importantly, set myself up for the next day. I am not an outliner, but I generally have an overall structure to the novel and fill in the “details” as I go along. Once I have a draft, I create an outline from it to remind me where I’ve introduced various pieces of the story.
When writing, how much do you read? Do you read in or out of your genre?
I continue to read as usual, sometimes in the genre of what I’m writing, sometimes not.
Is there something you set out to do, but somehow, it didn’t work out for you? (In terms of writing, or something else you felt was important to you at the time?)
Perhaps the best answer to this question is that I wish I had given more effort to getting my writing out in the world at an earlier age—I see the “cost” of not doing so now in terms of building a career. Making that effort required time and confidence, and those resources still seem to be a challenge.
What tips would you give to new or even experienced writers?
The greatest advice was given to me indirectly by my father, who read little because of undiagnosed dyslexia and, later, blindness—read your work aloud as part of your editing process.
How do you handle a negative critique?
Listen, sit on it a few days, and then evaluate what I want to take from the comments offered.
Is there a type of writing/genre that you find difficult to write? Why?
There are many genres I haven’t even tried to write and some I can’t imagine giving time to because they don’t interest me as a reader, such as romance and horror.
How important are the elements of character, setting, and atmosphere to a story, and why?
One of the things I like about writing flash fiction (variously described as 500 to 1,000 words) is how every aspect of the story is winnowed to the bare essentials—yet the writer has to accomplish them all—give a sense of the character, where they are, and what their state of mind is. In my novel-length writing, character and setting are essential to the story—atmosphere derives from them.
Do you see yourself in any of the characters you create? How/Why?
Pieces of me, yes, because these characters are creations of my mind. But in terms of motivations, values, personalities, I hope I go well beyond self.
Is there an unforgettable or memorable character that will not leave your head, either of your own creation or from a book you’ve read?
There is a character—rather a voice—who has popped up in a few of my short fictions. She has varied in age and in the topic at hand, but there is a sassiness to her that is a common thread. I think I’m not done with her yet.
Tell us about your most recent book. How did you come up with the concept?
Years ago, a friend told me the story of burying her Bassett hound. That story, in a broad sense, became the arc of the novel.
How did you come up with the title?
The title isn’t the original one, and I don’t remember when or how it came to me, but once it did, it stuck. Now I find some people assume from the title that the book is sad, but it is not.
Tell us about your work in progress.
Black Rose Writing will publish my novel, Ephemeral Wings, in October 2022. It is an allegorical coming-of-age fantasy (fable) about a mayfly nymph searching the stream for the richest of foods with which to nourish her flight in the world of air.As she travels the stream, she meets other streamlings—some malevolent, some benign—who offer advice based on perspectives they’ve garnered from their own experiences within the stream. I am looking forward to returning to a work in progress that is speculative fiction, currently titled The Equation. In this novel, I have created an alternative reproductive biology to our own, which results in a very different societal structure. There are well-kept secrets, families that become intertwined, and a growing push for social change in this very stratified society.
From your book, who is your favorite character? Who is your least favorite character? Why?
There are three main characters, and I am attached to all of them equally, although I do have a soft spot for the ten-year-old boy. My least favorite characters, if I may, are those who facilitate the plans of the real estate developer, from politicians to his all-purpose lawyer.
Eva’s author/media contact information:
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