Charlotte Matthews’ published works include a memoir, Comes with Furniture and People and three poetry collections: Still Enough to Be Dreaming, Green Stars and Whistle What Can’t Be Said. Recipient of The Adele F. Robertson Award for Excellence in Teaching, she has received fellowships from The Chautauqua Institute, The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, and The Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She is Associate Professor at The University of Virginia.
What inspires you to write?
The natural world inspires me a great deal. I firmly believe in Rachel Carson's proclamation that "those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life." If I look carefully, deliberately, at the pattern of bark on a sycamore tree I am transported to a place of story. Hearing a white throated sparrow proclaim "oh Sam Peabody, Sam Peabody oh" I am five again in the meadow of my youth. And this allows story to flow..
Tell us about your writing process.
I am a seat of the pants writer. I begin by writing ideas in a journal by hand, often outdoors. I let pour my ideas on the right hand side and copy the keepers (those ideas I will pursue) on the left hand side. Back home, I set a timer and make myself write for 25 minutes without looking anything up on the internet. No technology whatsoever for those minutes. This allows a kind of purity to the writing. Later, on another sitting, after getting a cup of tea, I will begin some research.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I do. I ask them questions in my mind. I ask them what they like to eat and drink. What they feel in their hearts.
Who are your favorite authors?
Ron Rash's books pull me in and will not let me go. I love One Foot in Eden and Saints by The River.
I also admire Jesmyn Ward for her book Sing Unburied Sing.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Having three poetry books published by winning prizes, once I began my foray into prose, I felt the same pull to publish. I would not have self published because of my position as Associate Professor at UVA.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
To be honest, I am frightened. I am fearful that fewer people read. I hope that interview like this will encourage those who read to get more folks to join the reading crowd.
What genres do you write?
Memoir, Fiction, poetry
What formats are your books in?
Charlotte Matthews Home Page Link
All information is provided by the author and is presented as it was submitted so you the reader get to hear the author’s own “voice” in their interview.