Playwright and picture book author Rachel Eugster shares her admiration of Shirley Jackson, her use of Scrivener as a writing tool, and her love of games, stories, and spindles. Featuring interview leftovers not included in the Cabin Tales podcast, edited into a 20-minute continuous segment. All ages.
Listen here or on your favourite streaming platform:
Read the full interview transcript:
[1:20] Interview with Rachel Eugster
CA: Do you read your own work out loud?
RE: Sometimes. Not habitually.
[2:10] CA: Do you do character outlines?
RE: Yeah. … I have this enormous Scrivener file with bits of chapters and cards … Scrivener I have found to be a helpful container … Everyone who writes book says the only thing you learn in writing a book is how to write that book. And you have to learn how to write the next book all over again. …
[5:45] CA: All right. Do you have any feelings about comeuppance tales?
RE: Yeah, I think that’s probably where they belong — around the campfire. …
[6:00] CA: And what about sad endings how do you feel about sad endings?
RE: I think there’s sometimes necessary. … There’s always, there’s a consequence for everyone …
[7:00] CA: And when you’re writing do you choose your words … just let it flow?
RE: … I may set up the voice consciously, and then develop a flow with the voice…
[7:35] CA: Do you like the drafting the most, as opposed to planning and revising?
RE: …. I like the way all three of those parts work together to produce something that you’re proud of afterward.
[8:35] CA: And do you have a favorite point of view to write from?
RE: I don’t think so. I have written from first and third. … it becomes obvious as you’re working on a project, which is the right point of view to tell it from. …
[9:20] CA: Have you ever written a monster story?
RE: I don’t think so, no. …
CA: What about a story with a curse?
RE: That would be great fun…
CA: And have you ever written about a split personality?
RE: … my first encounter with the concept was Shirley Jackson’s The Bird Nest. … I don’t think it can be bettered. …. She’s brilliant. ….
[10:40] CA: Excellent. Okay, and you haven’t happened to have written an outhouse scene?
RE: I haven’t. But I have fairly deep acquaintance with outhouses …
[10:55] CA: Did you tell stories around a campfire as a kid?
RE: There were certainly stories told around the campfire ….. I always felt like I couldn’t make up my own stories….
CA: And what about as a parent?
RE: We always read to the kids at bedtime. I don’t think we made stuff up very often. …. We played a lot of games growing up… one called the story game….
[13:15] CA: And do you have a favorite scary story?
RE: … I would certainly say, if you want suspense read Shirley Jackson. …
[13:50] CA: Do you have any phobias? …
RE: … there are things I’m not excited to touch, like worms.
[14:05] CA: And what about collections. Do you collect anything?
RE: … Navajo weavings. And spindle whorls….
CA: Do you have a fondness for the story of Sleeping Beauty?
RE: I think she was a resistant spinner…
[16:00] CA: And you don’t happen to be the 7th daughter of a seventh daughter?
RE: Oh wouldn’t that be lovely? …
[16:25] CA: All right so I’m going to say a few words and you say the first thing that pops into your mind.
RE: Oh god. Okay….
[17:40] Rachel Eugster introduces herself
RE: I’m Rachel Eugster. I’m a writer and editor and many other things, which makes it a challenge to introduce myself because I find I spread myself into so many different pursuits. As a writer, I have published one picture book, The Pocket Mommy, and a series of nonfiction books about food and nutrition. I’m also an actor and a singer and a director. And the intersection between the writing and the acting is an original play I wrote about Amelia Lanyer, who lived in Shakespeare’s time. And I am very active with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, volunteering as the Webmaster, with minimal technical talents, and attending every conference that our chapter organizes.
[14:45] Find out more about Rachel Eugster
You can hear more creative writing advice from Rachel Eugster on Cabin Tales Episode 1.5, “Author Interviews about Setting,” Episode 2.5, “Author Interviews about Character,” and Episode 8, “The Never-ending Story,” about revision. …You can find out more about Rachel Eugster, her books, and her theatre work from her website at RachelEugster.com.
[19:50] Thanks and coming up on the podcast
I’ll be back next week with leftovers from my interview with poet and novelist Lori Weber. Thanks for listening.
Host: Catherine Austen writes books for children, short stories for adults, and reports for corporate clients. Visit her at www.catherineausten.com.
Guest Author: Rachel Eugster is the author of the picture book The Pocket Mommy and the “Ingredients of a Balanced Diet” series. A theatre artist, singer, and choral conductor, Rachel premiered in her original play Whose Æmilia? at the Ottawa Fringe Festival in 2015. Find her online at https://racheleugster.com/.