The wonderfully talented Dr Eugen M. Bacon (MA, MSc, PhD) studied at Maritime Campus, less than two minutes’ walk from The Royal Observatory of the Greenwich Meridian.
Today’s guest on Last Word of the Week, Eugen is a computer graduate who has mentally re-engineered herself into creative writing. Eugen has published over 100 short stories and articles and multiple anthologies worldwide.
She is also a professional editor, of the very highest quality (yes, she edits some of my work! Much to my delight.) Today Eugen has agreed to tell us a bit about herself and her writing.
LWOTW: Welcome, Eugen! Tell us about when you first realised that you are a writer.
Eugen: I knew as a child that writing took me to a mystical place. There was flair in my letters when I wrote them—remember real letters, pen on paper, before email? Always vivid in my imagination, English composition was my favourite subject in primary and secondary school.
I express myself best in writing. I look at my text, and it’s exactly what I mean to say. Sometimes I feel but lack words to clarify the feeling until I put it to text.
A natural-born writer, then. That’s impressive! Do you rely more on dreams, imagination, and planning?
I love dreams, especially when my departed beloveds come to visit. I dream in colours and smells and sounds. Never music, I don’t think… But I hear conversations and the timbre of voice, for example my mother’s. And I imagine. I always imagine.
Planning is a discipline that came as part of doctorate studies. It was excruciating but necessary to chart my non-fiction. But shorter fiction is spontaneous. Planning would ruin it!
Sounds like a great balance you have there. What’s the highlight of your writing career so far?
Please don’t make me choose! Every text has led me to where I am. Even those stupid earlier pieces Amazon has refused to take down! I was young and impulsive, and I really wanted to get published.
My very first achievement came in winning a writing competition and the Writers Bureau in the UK published ‘Morning Dew’, my very first publication. I later republished the short story as ‘The Writer’—it is a cathartic piece that is also autoethnographic, fictionalised. It was also my first earnings as a writer. Fifty pounds.
Frankly, the doctorate opened the literary world. Suddenly I networked and had access to publishers who were open to give my work a go.
Meerkat Press is a highlight, one of the best publishers to work with. The US book tour for Claiming T-Mo is just magic.
So many highlights, of course you can’t choose. What are you most looking forward to at the moment?
I love my work as an editor, especially when I read a piece of text that stirs me.
I would love to write professionally, but all formal reports on writers’ earnings paint a dismal picture. Only a rare few authors can truly live on writing alone without subsidiary income.
I am excited about current writing projects—a cultural novella set in Australia; a graphic collection of speculative flash fiction; a prose poetry collaboration… I also have a collection of speculative fiction out with Meerkat Press in 2020.
I am also savouring the 2019 release of my two books: Writing Speculative Fiction (Macmillan) and Claiming T-Mo (Meerkat Press). Reviews so far are very promising.
Sounds like you have plenty to be getting on with. If you could say one thing to aspiring writers, what would it be?
Edit, edit, edit. Make sure you professionally edit your work. Stay away from boutique publishers who will snatch all your publishing rights and continue to make the work available long after you’d rather they didn’t.
And, most importantly, don’t keep a shrine of rejection slips. Work at quality, read the authors who most inspire you, and keep submitting until your work finds the right home.
Great advice there. And finally:
Who would you be if you were a fictional character?
Professor Moriarty. A tantalising mastermind. S/he’d be a person of colour.