Collaborative Writing 
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Author Interviews

Eater - Kevin Grover

1. What does Easter mean to you? Do you celebrate with your family?

Easter is the kind of holiday that can’t make it’s mind up. Really, what date is it supposed to be on? Every other festive holiday can agree on a date, but not Easter. To me, Easter is a sneaky bunny hopping around dates. Okay, so it likes the full moon after the spring equinox, so to me I guess Easter is a festival of spring and rebirth. I guess it means spring to me more than anything else. 

I don’t celebrate Easter. I might eat a chocolate egg if there’s one going, but that’s it.   

2. What does storytelling mean to you? Why do you write?

It’s a burning urge to get my idea out there. There’s a thrill in uncovering a story that has sat dormant in my mind and then suddenly wakes up and demands to be told. It’s pure entertainment and to me storytelling is a telepathic link from writer to reader, an intimate play of words. I wonder if we get the same images in our heads as I write and you read? Storytelling to me is art, a gift and desire. 

3. Describe yourself eating your favorite chocolate in third person.

There was something childish and yet nostalgic about unwrapping a Milky Bar. To Kevin it was the eighties when chocolate like Milky Bars were still fun. A cowboy kid had once advertised them but now it seemed that all the cowboys were gone and there was just chocolate left. Still, while there was chocolate, Kevin figured, he might as well eat it. So he unwrapped the bar. There was no ceremony for this, just a tearing of foil. To Kevin, it was just chocolate without the magic it once held. 

Without the cowboy kid, it was nothing. Sure, the kid had ridden into the sunset, the milky bars no longer on him. 

But as he sank his teeth into the white chocolate, the old memories stirred, connections fired up in his brain. The taste was of summers long past when all you had to do was keep playing cowboys.

Feastertide - A J Millen

1. What does Easter mean to you? Do you celebrate with your family?

I’m in a strange position. I’m not religious at all, but I have married into a traditional Greek family so inevitably I go along with a lot of the customs that mark Easter. It’s a much bigger event here than it is in the UK, where I grew up, and it is marked by much symbolism and solemnity – and lots of food. I sometimes wonder if I’m a hypocrite by joining in but the truth is that although the spiritual significance is lost on me, I get a strong sense of community from many of the customs. The spreading of the light from candle to candle in the crowd outside the church at midnight on Easter Saturday is a particular favourite.

2. What does storytelling mean to you? Why do you write?

I have always written – it feels natural. I write to explore some of the odd thoughts and notions swimming around my brain, to entertain myself, amuse those who are interested in reading my words and, occasionally, to exorcise my demons. Writing has also served as a kind of therapy for me at times – not least for the elegy at my father’s funeral. It gave me a sense of closure, a feeling that I had managed to say a final good-bye, despite not being with him during his final moments. 

3. Describe yourself eating your favorite chocolate in third person.

Her eyes lit up as they fell on the familiar shiny purple foil peeping out from among the groceries. She reached out, pushing the milk and vegatables to one side and promised to put them away in a bit, after just one small square of chocolate.

She took the bar and snapped the first line off without breaking its wrapper, then snapped again and broke the cover to retrieve one small (but perfectly formed) square of rich milk chocolate. Even before placing it on her tongue, she could feel the endorphins (or ‘them dolphins’ as dear old Nana used to say) firing up in anticipation of the feel-good factor in the offing. She smiled to herself as she looked at the little cube of heaven, then popped it into her mouth and closed her eyes to enjoy the creamy, velvety sensation as it spread across her palate. The rich sweetness as it slowly melted was divine. It was a good as great sex, but less messy and requiring less effort. 

Opening her eyes, she looked at the bags of groceries, waiting expectantly on the kitchen floor. She looked back at the bar of chocolate glinting at her from the worktop. Then back at the groceries. 

“Just a little bit more,” she murmured to herself as took the chocolate, ripped off its wrapper and settled cross-legged on the floor. 

Hunted - Jason Pere

1. What does Easter mean to you? Do you celebrate it with your family?

Honestly, now, Easter is just another day for me. It was never a huge deal growing up. My parents got us Easter Baskets with the requisite jellybeans, chocolates and synthetic green grass. We occasionally attended the morning service at our local church where there would be an Easter-egg hunt for the youth but that was about it. I am the sort that will acknowledge the holiday if others want to make a festivity out of it but I won’t lead the charge to make any Easter Plans. I will however coordinated with the Easter Bunny to make sure that my wife gets a lovely little Easter basket on the day though.

2. What does Storytelling mean to you? Why do you write?

Storytelling is about bringing the imagination to life, both for the teller and the listener. It could be argued that we live in a world that is largely boring and mundane, particularly when compared next to the full scope of human imagination. A good story is a way to escape after a dull grind from nine to five selling widgets at the local store. I write because I want to express my creativity and imagination. I know that those are some of my greatest assets in my personal inventory and I feel it would be a shame to let them go to waste. If you have a Farai you get it out of the garage and take it for a drive, same thing with imagination. I don’t think that we use ours enough in adult life. I want to change that and writing is the most effective method I have been able to employ thus far.

3. Describe yourself eating your favorite chocolate in third person.

Jason was guiltless, at least on the outside. He unwrapped Reeses’ cup after Reeses’ cup and popped them in his mouth like a chocolate-peanut-butter consuming machine. The sweet bliss on his tongue was gone in a moment after a quick chew and swallow. The only thing that could replace that sensation was more of the same. He wouldn’t stop even in the face of a calorie count or a full belly. The only way for him to cease his sugar binge was to finish the whole bag. He knew that his gluttony was not without cost, all his hard work on the treadmill had been undone for a few moments of confectionary satisfaction. He was not defeated however. Jason knew that there was always tomorrow and at least for today he had broken even. 

The Egging - Terra Beilman

1. What does Easter mean to you? Do you celebrate it with your family?

I know this is horrible, but I’ve always hated Easter. I don’t like the pastel color pallet, and I feel like everything has to have coconut on it. I love the taste it’s the texture of it that is off putting. It’s still cold out, and when I was little my aunt would make me these hideous frilly dresses to wear that were too itchy and I was told to not get dirty in them. Oh yeah that went over well with the Tom-boy I was. The only thing I liked about Easter is SOME of the candy.

I used to, but since my grandparents were moved to a home out of state the family doesn’t really get together like they used to. 

2. What does storytelling mean to you? Why do you write?

That’s like asking what breathing means to me. It’s a driving force that comes from a part of me that I don’t control it’s just there keeping me alive. 

This is my great love. Art. It’s an extension of my soul. When I’m old and my hands are crippled with arthritis; I will always find a way to write. I will always have a story flowing from me. It’s just who I am.

3. Describe yourself eating your favorite chocolate in third person.

As she opens the white and black packaging the smell of her favorite candy bar invades her nose causing her to salivate so much she has to swallow. The tiny squares that they are perforated into are laughable as they are too small. To suggest a serving size that small is laughable. She smiles and breaks off three of the small squares and pops them into her mouth. 

Her favorite part is letting the white chocolate melt away leaving just the cookie crumbles behind as an after bonus. It’s like a game to see if her willpower is stronger than her urge to chew and swallow. Most of the time she loses but if she can hold out it’s a victory in her mind. As the last bits of white chocolate melt away she crunches into the cookie clusters with a satisfied grin on her face. Hershey’s cookies and cream chocolate bars are her favorite. 

Always Hungry - Virginia Carraway Stark

1. What does Easter mean to you? Do you celebrate with your family?

Easter means a lot to me in many different ways. There is the Christian view of Easter, of course that comes to mind, but to me it's a childhood holiday even more innocent and beguiling than Christmas. It never got around to being as commercial as Christmas by any stretch and so much of Easter is family events and doing things together. Coloring eggs was always one of my favorite things to do, my Mom loved finding new ways to color eggs and even bought a little cardboard set of punch outs so the eggs could have shoes and feet and hats and faces. She loved it even more than me I think but it was one of the activities that everyone could agree was fun. No one dragged their feet, not even my older brother who liked to pretend to be too cool for family stuff.

Decorating the eggs was only a part of it of course. There was the hunt for the eggs. My Mom LOVED to hide the eggs. She hid them so well that one year we didn't find one of them until my Dad smelled rotten egg!

Every year I got a one pound chocolate bunny. I would slowly eat the rabbit, sometimes rationing it out until Hallowe'en when I would start to ration my tactically planned out stash of candy.

I also had a new dress and hat every year, usually in pink with little white ankle socks and little pink rosebuds sewn on each ankle to wear under my shiny white Mary Jane shoes. It was spring and time to wear pretty clothes, celebrate that life had come back after the long hard northern winter.

I don't celebrate Easter very much anymore, I will often bake a ham and fresh bread and have a nice family dinner but it's only once in awhile that I will color eggs or buy Easter chocolate. I'm not sure that it's as bad as Cybele thought and worth ripping someone's balls off over the quality, but it is a little waxy and cheap tasting!

2. What does storytelling mean to you? Why do you write?

Storytelling doesn't mean anything to me, it just is part of me. It means the same thing to me that my hands mean, or my hair or my strong willed nature. The stories are part of me and I'm part of the stories. I write because I was never trained in the oral tradition and writing is a better medium to share myself in anyhow. If I didn't write I would slip back to the ancient Irish ways of storytelling just like I did before I could write.

    3. Describe yourself eating your favorite chocolate in third person.

    She took the rabbit out of the package. One pound of rabbit was a lot of chocolate. She always started with the ears. She supposed it was a little cruel but her mouth was a little small and she liked to take nibbled rather than big bites, rather like a little rabbit herself. After the ears had been eaten down to the head she started on the tail and the front paws.

    She wasn't trying to be cruel in drawing out the chocolate rabbit's demise, they were like hesitation marks on a stabbing victim. She didn't have the heart to break of the rabbit's head, to snap it's 'neck' with the harsh 'snick' of thick chocolate breaking. After the tail the paws came next.

    There wasn't a nice way to go about the next part of things. The body was nibbled around the edges progressively, the rabbit itself hidden in a drawer and removed for a little snack while reading, a surreptitious pleasure at the rabbit's demise.

    The day would come when there was nothing left but the head and then it would be nibbled away, her front teeth scraping tiny flakes off with each endeavor. Then came the day, only the eye was left. With a guilty look at the blank stare that gazed back at her she would finish the eye in once go.

    Anthropomorphizing chocolate is a dangerous affair.

    Rabbits Revenge - Sharon Flood

    1. What does Easter mean to you? Do you celebrate with your family?

    We get together with as many family members as we can. We're really spread out geographically. When my nieces and nephews were younger, we used to do the Easter baskets etc. but now we just have a good dinner, and enjoy our time together.

    2. What does storytelling mean to you? Why do you write?

    Storytelling means more to me than watching TV, more than one of my other favourite things, sewing. Not more than reading though. That would be a tie. The stories are tumbling over each other in my brain. If I don't get them out of there, it'll explode!

    3. Describe yourself eating your favorite chocolate in third person.

    Sharon ... nummmnummmnumm ... has a lifetime membership nummmnumm ... oooh fudge centres ... to the Virtual Chocolate Chocoholics Club ... nnummmnummies ... with a certificate and carry card and everything. She likes the soft centres best, but she'll eat pretty much any chocolate except chocolate coated bugs. She ..... yummmmmyummmummmies draws the line at chocolate coated bugs ... eeeewwww. 

    M.W King - Blood and Water

    1. What does Easter mean to you? Do you celebrate with your family?

    When I was younger, Easter was a huge deal. My mother would have my sisters and I get dressed up in fancy (usually coordinating) dresses. We would open our baskets, go to church, and go to dinner at my grandparents’ house. Now that I have kids of my own and don’t attend church as much as I should, we typically just put together baskets for the kids and go spend time with family. 

    2. What does storytelling mean to you? Why do you write?

    To me, storytelling is all about connecting. It’s about making the reader feel and think and question what they think they know. It’s about giving the reader a world to be immersed in to give them a chance to experience another life. 

    Some of my writing projects started out as therapeutic exercises. Most of them, though, are sparks of imagination in the form of a character or situation and it all begins to unfold in my head like a movie. Then I can’t stop thinking about it until I get it down on paper.

    3. Describe yourself eating your favorite chocolate in third person.

    She crouched in the corner, unwrapping the piece of almondy chocolate goodness as if she were unearthing a nugget of gold. The smell of the chocolate overwhelmed her senses in the dark room. Her ear perked as she heard distant footsteps. With bated breath, she waited anxiously. After a moment of quiet, the coast seemed clear. 

    She took a bite from the chocolate bar. The sweetness of the chocolate and the crunch of the almonds felt like heaven. Her shoulders dropped as she savored the morsel. The footsteps returned. She threw her hand behind her back, hiding the candy, just in time before the door swung open.

    “What are you doing in the closet, Mommy?” her five-year-old son asked, his lip curled up in confusion.

    “Oh I was just looking for something,” she mumbled, wiping her mouth and hoping he didn’t see any signs of chocolate.

    “With the light off?” he asked with a laugh and a shake of his head.

    She scoffed and slapped her own forehead. “Silly me, I knew I was forgetting something! Okay, let’s head back downstairs.”

    Her five-year-old son turned and left the room. She wrapped the aluminum foil back around the chocolate and shoved it to the back of the highest shelf before following him.

    Death by Chocolate - Crystal M M Burton

    1. What does Easter mean to you? Do you celebrate with your family?

    To me, Easter means that spring has arrived. It’s a time to celebrate the bright, new greens of the plants returning to life, the pastels of the fresh flowers in bloom, and the promise of a silver lining throughout the year.

    Every Easter, I like to make a cake, dye eggs with the kids, and let them do an egg hunt of some sort. Egg hunts don’t excite me the way they used to. I’m guessing it’s because here in the country we go on egg hunts all year round, collecting eggs from our chickens, ducks, guineas, and geese. The Easter hunts usually involve plastic, candy-filled eggs with all the cousins at a family gathering. And even though I know the point of the holiday doesn’t revolve around baskets of candy, I love using it as an excuse to give the kids a few gifts—coloring books, crayons, chalk, and bubbles are some of my favorite things to give at Easter.

    …okay, I admit it. The celebrations and gift-giving are a cover. What Easter truly means to me can be summed up in four words: Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs.

    2. What does storytelling mean to you? Why do you write?

    Storytelling is passion. It’s a passion for creatures and people—living, dead, or fictional. For places, events, and ideas. For emotions and addictions and fandoms. For words and thoughts and run-on sentences because the excitement is so great, one can’t be bothered to slow down. Someone asked me once, “What are you passionate about?” They told me what they loved most in a conversation was to really feel the emotion shining through the words, the connection that person had with the topic. I talked his ear off for two hours about my book, and I’ve come to realize…that’s storytelling. That’s what it’s all about. So for me, storytelling means being passionate and showing the world how much you care about your stories.

    Why do I write… Great question. I write to remember. I write because these incredible people and creatures come to me in my dreams and I don’t want to forget them. I’ve written off and on for my entire life, but the night I dreamed of the Dragon King was the night it became serious. His story was too great, and I would have been selfish to keep it all to myself. I like to imagine that, somewhere out there, all of these amazing people truly exist, and my job as a writer is to record their lives. Knowledge is life for a character. Here’s how I think of it: if I’m the only one who knows all about these characters, they’re just my imagination and I’m just oddly obsessed. But if the world knows all about these characters, they become real and I’m…well, still obsessed, but understandably so.

    3. Describe yourself eating your favorite chocolate in third person.

    One. She had planned on savoring the bite, but in her excitement, she forgets. It barely passes her lips when she sinks her teeth into chocolate and peanut butter alike; within seconds, it’s gone. Two. She remembers this time, and allows it to sit on her tongue, a royal drop of decadence on a moist throne. Three. Her eyes close involuntarily as her mind attempts to comprehend the smooth peanut butter which had been so delicately shrouded in milk chocolate and wrapped in a colorful candy shell. Four, five, six. The love is too great, and discipline has vanished. Twenty-one, twenty-two. Her stomach growls, but not in hunger…in protest. Twenty-five. Her hand goes to her head, and she remembers this is not the first time she’s made herself sick. She’s had enough, and she aims the bag away from her hand to dissuade herself from taking more. She knows her limits and she must adhere to them.

    Forty-two. Oops. It appears the allure of the M&M is too great for her.

    Bad egg - Kathrin Hutson

    1. What does Easter mean to you? Do you celebrate with your family?

    2. What does storytelling mean to you? Why do you write?

    3. Describe yourself eating your favorite chocolate in third person.

    The Sexiest Man Alive - Tony Stark

    1. What does Easter mean to you? Do you celebrate with your family?

    Easter is a complicated mixture of Catholic tradition and the Italian/Germanic paganism that underpins it. My mother was one of those Italians who was devout and nevertheless completely pre-Roman in her tradtions. Depending on the faith community, I will celebrate using Christian methods.

    2. What does storytelling mean to you? Why do you write?

    I wanted to tell a story about the truth of what used to happen in a modern context so that what has been lost in the mists of time and changes of culture can be understood in modern terms. Scribo ergo sum.

    3. Describe yourself eating your favorite chocolate in third person.

    He waited until he found the chocolate with the least adulteration, sparing in sugar and heavy in cocoa itself- spoiled on fresh, hand-prepared chocolate mass made fresh from the bean.

    Sleight of Hand - Eleftheria Chrysochoou

    1. What does Easter mean to you? Do you celebrate with your family?

    In Greece, Easter is the most important Christian celebration and even those who aren't particularly religious tend to take part in the festivities (especially those that involve food). Aside from its religious aspect, it is a time of change, remembrance and contemplation that I always try to spend with my family.

    2. What does storytelling mean to you? Why do you write?

    Storytelling can be anything from wishing to share an experience to visualizing vague ideas. Writing may echo our wish for the existence of extraordinary worlds and characters, our longing for something we've lost, or even our constant fight against our most hidden fears. Other times, writing just helps me sleep better at night.

    3. Describe yourself eating your favorite chocolate in third person.

    The packaging was gone. Bits of dried fruit and nuts laid all over the floor. The linen tablecloth was smeared with chocolate crumbs. Remains of a handful of coins grabbed in a hurry shined on the fluffy carpet by the open door that she hadn't bothered to close.  It had all happened so fast. One had not been enough.

    Morte - Liz Butcher

    1. What does Easter mean to you? Do you celebrate with your family?

     Easter has always been about spending time together as a family, though it can be difficult the older we get. 

    2. What does storytelling mean to you? Why do you write?

    I love nothing more than storytelling, and have loved it since I was a little girl. I write because I love it, and when I don’t, I feel unhappy – as though something is missing.

    3. Describe yourself eating your favourite chocolate in third person.

    Liz reaches into the freezer and pulls out the chilled Cadbury Crème Egg. She smiles, knowing it’s the best Easter egg in the whole world. Taking a seat, she peels back the foil – but only around the top half of the egg. Then, with a bit of work, Liz bites off the top bit of chocolate to reveal the crème inside. It looks like a hard-boiled egg, only better. Next she eats the chocolate around the centre before removing the last of the foil. As the crème begins to soften, it’s cupped by the remaining chocolate. Trying to show some restraint, Liz licks some of the crème before caving and placing the rest of it in her mouth. After relishing in the Cadbury goodness, Liz puts her head back and awaits the inevitable sugar headache…

    McCreary's Easter Treats - Alex Benitez

    1. What does Easter mean to you? Do you celebrate with your family?

    To tell the truth I don't give too much thought to Easter. I'll get a few of my close loved ones gifts and chocolates but I really kind of think of it like a second rate Christmas. I'll be with my family or without my family. I'm not too hurt either way. I found this assignment very difficult.

    2. What does storytelling mean to you? Why do you write?

    Well to me, storytelling is everything. That's what I consider myself; a storyteller. The ability to tell a story well is a writer at its core. That is also precisely why I write. I have stories I need to tell, so I need an outlet to tell them.

    3. Describe yourself eating your favorite chocolate in third person.

    The thirty year old slender hispanic male tore of the wrapper of the Chunky bar like a sexual predator would to a beautiful woman's clothing. He molested the candy bar with his lips sucking and biting. His brown eyes rolled back with pleasure as he chewed and pointed at the Chunky with his free hand to signal to all around him that this candy bar was the balls.

    The Easter Hunt - Laura Callender

    1. What does Easter mean to you? Do you celebrate with your family?

    Growing up, my parents taught me that religion was a personal thing, and that it wasn't necessary to go to church to have a relationship with God. I know that many religions will not agree with that, but it was important to me. It gave me the room to decide what was best for me. For this reason we didn't really celebrate Easter, other than the obvious need to buy easter eggs, and partake in all the school activities. It really was just another day for us.

    2. What does storytelling mean to you? Why do you write?

    Storytelling is a way of processing my imagination. Most writers will testify to the fact their mind plays film runs as they imagine different scenes or worlds. It's something you can't turn off, well, that's how it is for me at least. I would even go as far as to say I didn't choose to write, writing chose me! Art and creativity is in my blood, it's a huge part of who I am. I think if creative writing didn't exist their would be a big void in my life!

    3. Describe yourself eating your favorite chocolate in third person.

    Laura searched the cupboards, focussed on finding something sweet to satisfy the craving that had been pestering her for hours. Going sugar free was never easy, but now two days past her original goal, her resolve was fading.

    She pushed aside the grass fed mince beef, and moved a few jars or indescribable liquids. She knew she couldn't avoid cleaning out the fridge, but that had to wait. Just nestled at the back, she couldn't believe what she was seeing. A tiny glint of gold paper revealed itself from where it had slipped behind the limp celery. 

    Laura reached back without a moments hesitation, afraid it would be nothing but a piece of paper, when she struck the jackpot. Two and a half whole squares of creamy deliciousness now sat between her thumb and forefinger. 

    The pause was brief, her mind had already decided she would eat it. The first taste was just a nibble. She attacked the edges, circling it like a beast toying with its prey. She wanted to make this moment last forever. 

    As a tiny bit of chocolate melted on her tongue, Laura closed her eyes whilst simultaneously breathing in the scent of the remaining piece in her hand.  God that smell, she thought, before nibbling more and more, until it was gone. 

    Having not had sugar for so long, the sweetness lingered longer than normal. She knew she had just opened her Aladdin's cave, and grabbed the car keys, knowing exactly where she needed to go.