by Sue Babcock
Brief bio: Maureen Bowden in an ex-patriate Liverpudlian living with her musician husband in North Wales, where they try to evade the onslaught of their children and grandchildren. She has had more than eighty poems and short stories accepted for publication. She loves her family and friends, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Shakespeare and cats.
Q: Describe what you write in 25 characters or less.
Magic hideaways from reality
Q: What story or poem that you’ve had published are you most proud of?
Can I have one story and one poem?
The story I’d choose is ‘Dead Rocker’, published by Fabula Argentea in 2013. The narrator is a dead Rock star’s younger brother. He’s forced to face his insecurity, and jealousy of his brother’s memory, and finally recognize his own self-worth. When I started writing the story he was based on someone I knew, but the character took over and became what he wanted to be. It’s a story that seemed to write itself.
The poem I’d choose is ‘Sisters’. The narrator, the moon, speaks of her relationship with Earth. I think it’s probably the most proficient poem I’ve written. It won ‘The Oldie’ magazine poetry competition and was named their poem of the month.
Q: Do you have any authors that have particularly inspired you? Why?
Jane Austen and Terry Pratchett, for their wit, compassion, and acute observation of human idiocy.
Q: Why did you accept the guest editing position at Liquid Imagination?
LI and many other mags do a terrific job in encouraging writers to share their work, and I wanted to help. I also love reading stories.
Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire? Why?
Third Flatiron for its imaginative and inspiring themes; Frostfire Worlds for bringing magic into the lives of children and young adults; and Mad Scientists Journal, for its appreciation of lunacy.
Q: What did you look for in the stories you accepted? What drew you to the six you did accept?
I looked for beautiful uncluttered writing, originality, and wit. I found all these in the stories I chose, as well as observation of the difficulties and tragedies of the twenty-first century; frightening and believable glimpses of the distant future; ghosts that evoke sympathy and confront us with the very human fear of death; and a questioning of the nature of reality and who creates it. The writers have used fantasy to address real life issues, and they’ve done it with panache.
Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting to any publication?
Tell an engaging story with interesting characters and realistic dialogue; check and double check your grammar and punctuation; and follow the submission guidelines. I cut the writers some slack on this, but most editors won’t, because they don’t have the time.
Q: What do you wish I had asked, but didn’t, and what is your answer?
I wish you’d asked why I write. The quick answer is because I’m alive. My parents told me I used to tell stories before I could write. I later wrote them for family, friends, classmates, and work colleagues. I recited my poetry in Folk Clubs and basked in the applause. I’m compelled to write and I hope to continue for as long as I’m alive.