Interview with Tricia Bowering, 2009 Winter Contest Runner Up

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Born and raised in Victoria, British Columbia, Tricia Bowering studied Psychology at the University of Victoria. She lives in Vancouver, where she keeps busy working as a physician and spending time with her partner Alan and energetic daughter Sophia. Tricia remembers writing short stories as early as grade two and all throughout high school, but years of study and work slowly pushed writing aside. Finally, she has returned to writing as a serious pursuit, and has enjoyed reconnecting with her creative voice.
If you haven't had the opportunity to read Tricia's wonderful story, When My Grandmother Made Perogies, head to the WOW! site and take time to devour it. Like a fine meal, Tricia's story is meant to be savored.
WOW: Congratulations, Tricia, and welcome to The Muffin. Your story reminds me so much of my grandma. Is this story based on personal experience or is it purely fictional?

Tricia: Much of the fiction that I write starts with a few details from life, either a conversation or an image. In this case, I was able to take some of my memories and build a fictional event around them. My grandmother did indeed make perogies that we devoured on our trips to her house, but my daughter hadn’t been born by the time she moved. In some ways, the story reflects what I wish could have happened. I would have loved for my daughter to enjoy the same cherry tree climbing and perogie eating that I did. The story is really a tribute to my grandmother, and her important traditions.

WOW: Those are great memories! Your grandmother sounds like a marvelous woman. Your story definitely fits into a 'keepsake' category. Why are stories that preserve family values and traditions important to tell?

Tricia: Reflecting on the past, and incorporating it into our own lives can be important in many ways. I find myself wanting to explore the themes of my childhood as I get older, perhaps as a means of connecting to previous generations. Now that I have my own home and family, I’m trying to create traditions of my own. I’m beginning to understand the ways that my grandparents and parents instilled a sense of meaning in my life, and I don’t want to lose those memories.

WOW: Keeping and building traditions is so important. Your family will appreciate them as they grow, too. You use a quite a few sensory details. Why is it important to use those details to paint a vivid picture for the reader?

Tricia: Without a lot of action in the story, vivid description became particularly important. I tried to describe the scene as if from a child’s point of view, with all the wonder that it encompassed. Since the story was so much about the perogies, I wanted the process of making them to come to life, evoking a special time and place. I used other details about the house and the past to create a sense of nostalgia, something I felt while writing.

WOW: (smiles) That sense of nostalgia comes across. Let's talk about the writing process. What's your writing routine like?

Tricia: It’s irregular, at best. When I have a writing project on the go, I tend to set aside writing time each day. My mantra is “an hour a day for writing”. However, when life gets busy, or I’ve just finished a piece, I tend to slow down a bit. Sometimes, it’s just a few hours of writing on a day off, once a week.

WOW: Great mantra! Even experienced writers need to be reminded of that. It's difficult to always make time to write, and you are a busy woman. How do you balance working in the medical field with family and writing time?

Tricia: First off, family comes first! Balance in life is difficult and I’m always busy, but I try not to use that as an excuse. Although finding time to write has been a challenge, I feel such a sense of accomplishment and pleasure in crafting and completing a story that it’s so worth it. It’s only been a year since I’ve taken up writing again, and reconnecting with the creative part of myself has been a great journey.

WOW: Good for you! Keep on the "write" path! Due to study and work, you weren't able to express your creativity. Why is it important for people to stay connected to their creative voice?

Tricia: So many parts of my life are enriching. Both work and parenting challenge me in different ways, but as I begin to have a bit more spare time, life is quiet enough to allow me to reflect on my experiences. Beginning with a blank page and ending up with a finished story that is meaningful to me is very satisfying. It challenges me in different ways than studying and working. I’m sure that the importance of creativity is different for each one of us.

WOW: That's so true. It depends on what our interests are. What types of writing do you prefer? Has any of your work been published elsewhere?

Tricia: I’m still exploring different types of writing, and it’s a fun process. I like to write flash fiction and longer short stories, taking my inspiration not only from life events, but also from interesting contest prompts. At the moment, I’m having fun rediscovering language, playing with phrases and description. I’ve never used my thesaurus so much! I’ve not been published yet, but here’s hoping…

WOW: We'll keep our fingers crossed for you! What projects are you currently working on?

More short fiction. I’ve got lots of ideas in my head waiting to be written down, and the difficulty is which one to tackle first. As for the future, who knows? I’m enjoying the journey right now.

WOW: And enjoying the journey is so important for a writer. Good luck with your endeavors. What advice would you offer to fellow writers?

Tricia: Taking up writing again has shown me that it’s never too late to start something new. I hope that these contest events inspire more women on their own pathways to creativity.
Interview by LuAnn Schindler


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