My next interviewee is author, Joanna Vandenbring, whose story, The Warrior Woman appears in Fusion.
Joanna is an EFL teacher in Italy where she has lived since she was twenty-one, although she teaches in the UK during the summer holidays. Joanna has seen her short stories and poems published in several European magazines in the 1980s and 1990s. Her academic area is History in which she has a PhD and she has published articles on guerrilla warfare. In her free time she walks with her dogs, reads books and listens to music.
On why she entered the short story competition, Joanna says, ‘The fact that it was a charity thing motivated me more than anything.’ She adds, ‘I was very surprised when I heard that my short story would be included in the anthology.’
Joanna might have been surprised, but I wasn’t. It’s a very powerful and well-written tale. Joanna was pleased that two professional writers were invited to contribute, saying she thought it would attract more people to the anthology.
Asked how she found the editorial process that all the shortlisted writers were invited to go through if they wanted their stories to be considered for publication, Joanna said, ‘It was very helpful that the editorial team sent over comments and suggestions to make my short story more readable.’ Echoing several other authors, she adds, ‘It has had a lasting effect.’
When I ask what Joanna would recommend as reading to ease the boredom of a long-haul flight, I discover that she’s about to set out on a 16 hour coach trip. ‘I'm going to bring Fifty Shades Darker with me.’
When I ask Joanna to step into the shoes of an alien space scout who has just discovered Earth and learned its history, her advice to her alien race is clear, ‘Oh no, I would never recommend anyone to contact the human race - once I had read about the way they treated the Native Americans I knew it was safer to stay away from them.’
What is Joanna doing now on the writing front? She tells me, ‘I enrolled on a Writers Digest University Course last autumn and I'm writing a romance novel for that course...It's hard work but my writing has definitely improved!’
Find out more about Joanna and her writing on her Facebook page.