My interview with Erin Yoshikawa 

1. How do you dream up your characters and situations? 

It depends on the work. In some instances, they were facets of my own personality that desperately needed a voice. At other times, I saw a character in a movie or play and found them intriguing. There have been strangers seen or heard from a distance who contributed to characters. The way someone moves or looks at you, the way they react to other emotions, these things all contribute to creating a new mode of thought.


Situations are different. At the best times, the situation writes itself. Sometimes it’s easy to move from one point to the next without a lot of planning or direction. At other times, you need to plot the course carefully to make the story flow just the way you want it. Again, characters and situations are not objective concepts. They’re both very subjective.


2. What are your quirks, so readers can understand you as a writer more than your advertising spiel.


There are so many. When I write, I do it best alone and listening to 90s music. There’s probably a cigarette involved. I don’t drink because it interferes with my creative process. I also tend to go for vegan food when I’m writing.


3. How do you develop your characters?


It’s a slow process. I start with a gesture or phrase. People have habits, so a character will have repetitive gestures like a real person. A stray thought that doesn’t fit in with my own becomes a sentence from someone else’s mouth. A face usually comes after, although a lot of times it happens concurrently with the gestures. Most people envision a person with a certain mood. Willem Dafoe always comes to mind when I’m trying to express emotional intensity just behind the eyes. But mostly, the character creates itself.


4. What are you reading now?


Fables by Bill Willingham. It’s a comic series about storybook characters who ended up settling in our world.


5. Why do you write and what drives you?


I write feelings. And that’s what drives me. If I don’t feel an emotional attachment to a character or feel their emotions, I don’t write them. Emotion is a heady thing like a drug. If I can’t connect to a feeling, the project dies quickly.


6. Who inspires you?


People. All people at all times.


7. What inspires you?


Emotion and feeling. Without them, nothing happens. They’re the driving force behind everything.


8. Is there a single thread/ idea/ belief which appears everything you write?


“Soon, and soon, and soon.” The phrase always pops up in my head. I hear it when a character covets something from a dark place in themselves. And the word ‘castrophony’. It appears on the Demon Days album from the Gorillaz. It means cacophony and catastrophe rolled together, loud hell falling upon everybody’s head. I like that word. It should be used more often.


9. What book/ story/ movie do you wish you’d written?


None, really. Sometimes I think I could have done a story better, improved on the dialogue, amped up the emotional impact of a scene. But for the most part no. People have their ideas and I have mine.


10. How often do you think of an idea, but see it’s been done? What do you do?


All the time. For the most part, I’m content to let the idea go. But occasionally I’ll be open to letting my own ideas about the subject happen and bring something new to the world. Every idea you or I have had has already been had by someone else. It just hasn’t been told with your own voice. I suppose that’s the lesson here: use your own voice. Tell your stories. Don’t be afraid of your feelings.

Erin is a Scorpio born in the year of the rat. She currently resides on a small rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with one child and a plethora of native fauna to aid in the writing process. One time rock and roll queen, soup seller, grave digger, and world traveler, Erin enjoys a quiet existence working for The Man while not giving him the satisfaction of killing imagination and dreams. She has contributed to a few anthologies. Nightmares Rise will be her first full-length novel with more to come. Eventually. She hopes. 
Erin Yoshikawa”s author page-