About the Authors

Heather Charton

-Author of “What We Knew”

What was the inspiration for What We Knew?
My dad has an unusual hobby: fireworks. But he is not the only one. A few years ago, he became a card-carrying member of Pyrotechnics Guild International and then convinced my mom and me to attend a couple of their conventions with him. At these conventions, the fireworks were amazing, but the people were incredible, too. Their delightful passion for all things “pryo” were the beginnings of “What We Knew.”
The point of view came next. I’m a small-town Midwesterner, which makes it hard to get away from the effects—both good and bad—of community. I am fascinated by a town’s group mentality, the way it’s alliances shift and develop. In “What We Knew,” I used the focal point of fireworks to play with that social dynamic.
What made you decide to become an author?
When I started my undergraduate program at Kent State, I knew that I loved words and that I wanted to be a teacher. Then I took Joey Nicoletti’s Intro to Creative Writing course. He opened up to me the idea that I could not only teach others to love and use words but that I could also use them myself. He showed me that being a writer was a possibility. After his class, I still loved words and I still wanted to be a teacher, but I also wanted to be a writer. I took every writing class I could at Kent and then pursued my MFA at Lesley University.
Do you have any other pieces you’re intending to release soon or are working on?
I had another short story—“Grounded”—published in Bird’s Thumb this February. I currently have a few short stories in the submission process and am beginning to look for an agent for my first novel.

About the Authors

Harry Newman

-Author of  “Back”

“Back”  is a strange piece, feeling almost alien in its eccentricities. I quite enjoyed it, what was the inspiration behind it?

I have a several poems like “Back” that are associative in nature, that are guided by a more emotional logic than anything rationally thought out. There aren’t very many of them, but I like it when they come and try to follow those impulses wherever they lead. I’m interested in working more in that way because it’s unnerving for me.
“Back” is an older poem — it’s not been easy to find people who respond well to it — and I don’t remember its origin in much detail. I was homeless at the time I wrote it, after the end of my first marriage. Moving from couch to couch at various friends’ apartments around the city, in one place only a few days at a time. I guess it started as an effort to remind myself, a whispering in my own ear. A suggestion of direction and a hope for return.

What made you decide to become an author in the first place?

There was nothing conscious about it. I started writing at a young age, 9 or 10. First poems, then later plays. I spent my 20s and 30s working professionally in theater in New York, as a writer and translator and on the staff of theaters. Writing was just the thing I did naturally. And I always treated it professionally, just assuming it would be where I’d go. I started sending out poems to journals when I was in my teens. They always came back. Good practice for the future.

Do you have any other pieces you’re intending to release soon, or are working on?

I always have 30 or 40 poems circulating to journals at any given time. When one group gets rejected, I send it to another journal right away. I keep a list. I have a reading coming up in New York in June and I’m hoping to have a new poem or two for it. That’s what I’m working on right now. I’ve also started rehearsing for the reading. In part that’s because of my background in theater, but I can also get quite nervous when I read and like to practice aloud for a week or two before a reading. That helps me discover an order for the poems as well, a shape for the presentation as a whole.