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Interview with author Nadia Bruce-Rawlings

Nadia Bruce-Rawlings uses grains of her often gritty life to infuse her stories with cathartic realism. Her stories “Fire” and “Scars” have both been finalists in Glimmer Train’s writing contests and are included in SCARS, her first anthology from Punk Hostage Press. Nadia grew up travelling the world and living in various countries before settling in Los Angeles. In LA she briefly worked at a vitamin factory and then began a long career in independent film distribution. A single mom for 11 years, she and her new husband have settled into the Nashville area, where she writes by the lake when she can escape their five kids and two dogs. We have conducted an interview with Nadia.

How do you feel when your writing talent has been describe as "with dark humor and candor" or even "emotionally raw"?

I feel that my writing is fairly candid and definitely emotionally raw. When I write, especially the memoir pieces, I go to a very deep place inside myself. I write things that I don't necessarily want to share - they just come out, they are just the raw truth. In fact, sometimes it's very strange knowing that some of my neighbors have read my book, and therefore know some of my deepest secrets. I hesitated for a moment in publishing some of the stories, but if I can help just one person with my words, then it is all worth it. I write about difficult subjects -- abuse of all kinds, incest, drug abuse, alcoholism, domestic violence, etc. But I also write about a solution, an offer of hope and redemption. And I do use a dark humor to lighten things up at times - it's needed! 

What inspires you the most after writing and publishing your first anthology SCARS? 

Once I connected with my publisher, Punk Hostage Press, and they said that they wanted to publish my first anthology, I was just overwhelmed with gratitude! It had always been my dream to be a published author. I really admire the authors under Punk Hostage Press, so to be grouped with them is just amazing. As for now - I have been doing readings and fundraisers for women's shelters. After the readings, people have come up to me in tears, saying how much I had inspired them to share their own story. I've heard some horrendously difficult stories from these people too - it is amazing what the human psyche can survive. To know that I touched these people in some way is very gratifying. It gives me a sense of wonder to know that by telling people the difficult things I went through, I am helping them. This inspires me daily to keep going and to continue to help others.

Do you plan to write more stories in the same genre?

I have been struggling a bit with writer's block, though I did have one story published recently in the journal, Bluestem Magazine. It is called Peace Accord - it is a memoir of my adolescent years spent in Cairo, Egypt, during the Peace Accord era between Israel and Egypt. It is about the dichotomy between cultures, between childhood and adolescence, between peace and war, etc. I'm not sure that I'll continue in the memoir genre or writing about abuse etc, as I feel that I've told my story already in Scars. I'm not sure what direction my writing will take now.

Where do you like to write your stories? How is it different?

Our last house (we just moved a few months ago) had an amazing view of Old Hickory Lake. I thought I would be able to write really well there, but to be honest I ended up having a writer's block and not doing much there. I do like to "nest" on my bed, whatever the view may be, and work away on my computer with my doggy cuddled up next to me. I get really into my head when I write, very focused, I shut out the outside world and just go to my place. I can write anywhere if I am in the right "headspace." I often come up with a sentence while I'm driving, and by the time I get home I'll have finished a whole paragraph or two in my head. I'll go to my nest and write the rest.

Do you consider writing as your own 'catharsis'?

Most of the stories in Scars were very, very cathartic. They talk about a time when I was at my very worst, they talk about the abuse I went through, about the drug and alcohol abuse that enveloped my life. They are about my mom's death, my daughter's birth, about reaching rock bottom and then about recovery and redemption. Writing them was like therapy - it got it all out, it helped my mind process what had happened to me, in a safe way. I feel like they helped me tremendously, and I hope they will help others as well.

Interview with author Nadia Bruce-Rawlings Reviewed by JaamZIN on 6:35:00 AM Rating: 5
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