The Creative Writing Interviews form a series of interviews with contributors to our Creative Writing Studies list. Find out about their work and approach towards writing.
Frances Haynes writes: Writer and artist Amy Letter is an Assistant Professor of Fiction and New Media, Drake University. Her stories, essays, and poems appear in journals and magazines such as Quarterly West, The Rumpus, Louisiana Literature, Fringe, storySouth, and Center. You can visit her website at www.amyletter.com. Amy is a contributor to our forthcoming publication, Teaching Creative Writing.
Amy, what do you write?
I write what ifs - stories that concern themselves with counterfactual (im)possibilities. What if our dreams are really the lives of people awake while we are asleep? What if the little girl is an alligator?
Whom do you write for?
I carry a fuzzy picture of an ideal reader in my mind. This person is looking for a new way of seeing the world, an escape, a puzzle, a vivid other platform from which to look back and view the “real” world.
What achievement are you most proud of as a writer?
I get a “fan letter” every now and again. For me, that’s the whole reason for doing this. I want to communicate with other people using this strange art form called fiction. If they are so compelled by something I’ve written that they actually take the time to write me back, I consider that a complete success.
What involvement do you have / have you had with creative writing as a university/college subject/discipline?
I’ve been teaching writing since 2000 and creative writing since 2006. I consider myself tremendously fortunate to have a career that lets me work with creative and often truly talented and inspired young people. This work is also part of who I am as a writer. I learn a lot from my students, a lot about writers, a lot about readers. The “ideal reader” I keep in mind is in some ways an amalgamation of them.
What is your ambition as a writer?
I want to put something beautiful and meaningful into the world that wasn’t there before. I want to affect people. I want people to read my stories for fun, but I also want them to come out the stories a bit changed – and ready to make the world a more interesting and insightful place.