Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Author Interview: Stanley Klemetson
Stanley Klemetson is an Associate Dean of the College of Technology and Computing at Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah. He was formerly head of the Department of Engineering at McNeese State University, Lake Charles, Louisiana. As a civil engineer his primary publishing has been technical books and professional publications. He has prepared several non-fiction family histories and a manuscript for a technical writing textbook. While living in Lake Charles, he took classes in poetry and creative fiction and became an active member of the Bayou Writers Group. He has submitted several poems and short stories for publication and for contests, but does not have any in print yet, except for a single copy of a book of poems he wrote for his wife’s birthday.
1) How did you develop an interest in writing? When I was a teenager my father and I would watch people walking by and discuss their possible life stories. In a class I took from Orson Scott Card two years ago we were asked to get a back story by interviewing someone and then write about their possible future story. When I wrote my family histories I knew I wanted to know more about their lives. I use to be the editor of a college magazine. While I wrote for the magazine I realized that I needed to know how to make my writing more interesting. Then I joined the Bayou Writers Group and took poetry and creative writing classes at McNeese State University and wanted to do more creative writing.
2) What styles do you write? I like stories about people living normal lives with the conflicts and resolutions that we all face. Most of my short stories are fictionalized accounts of real people and situations, in a creative fiction or creative non-fiction genre. Often my stories have composite characters and “what if” situations. I also like to write poetry, but most of that comes from situations that bring emotions to the surface, such as living away from my wife for periods of time or special people I have met.
3) What authors do you admire? I have read several of Debbie McComber’s books and like the conflicts and resolutions in her books. She publishes a variety of short series. I think that I have read all of the Hamish Macbeth Mystery series by M.C. Beaton, but this is a long series with many of the same people. While I have yet to write any science fiction or fantasy stories I really enjoy reading works by Issac Asimov, Orson Scott Card, and J.K. Rowling. There are many genres for me to try.
4) What music, places, people inspire you? I think that prompts are the start of my writing. Those may be the assigned prompt, such as contest, or they may situational prompts. I am amazed how many different stories can start with the same assigned prompt. Likewise, each of us may be involved in the same situation and draw completely different plot and characters from the experience. When I look at a situation I try to think what a standup comic could do with it to guide my initial evaluation of the situation and the opportunities for a story.
5) Have you submitted anything yet? I have submitted several poems and stories for publication, but this has not been done in an organized manner. I believe that I need to setup my submittal log and select a number of publication opportunities that I want to pursue. Then I need to review those publications to determine what has been published so that I can fit into their formats. While I have a record in technical publications, I need to learn the craft of creative writing to improve my chances for publication. I will just keep writing and submitting.
6) Are you part of a critique group or writers’ guild? I have enjoyed being involved in the Bayou Writers Group and wished that I could still attend all of the meetings and conferences. I have joined the League of Utah Writers and attend their conferences, but it will take much longer to get to know the members than it did at the BWG. I have enjoyed the networking and learning opportunities in the writers groups.
7) What is your writing process like? I mix free writing with creative non-fiction and poetry writing whenever I have a free moment. I found that using a small portable computer has been convenient for writing when traveling or waiting for a meeting. Sometimes it’s only random thoughts, or a list of writing prompts for later writing, but I try to have a purpose for my writing. I am thinking of entering more contests because of their tight requirements and short deadline. I see the need to select potential publications to give a greater focus to my writing.
8) If you could subscribe to only one literary journal or magazine? I am not sure if this is practical or possible, but I have really enjoyed the articles in The Writer Magazine for a starting writer. I assume that that choice may change as my writing gets better, but for now I have so much learn.