An Interview with Author Dee Caples
AR: Do you write poetry, prose, or a mixture of both?
DC: I write both. We talked about my poetry first, I think, and discussed the differences in modern poetry and what I was taught in school. Honestly, I haven’t found a place for my poetry anywhere in the literary world.
AR: Have you every done any journalistic writing?
DC: No, but I was employed as a copy person at our local newspaper.
AR: What made you start writing?
DC: I think reading made me start writing. It was like, “Well, I have stories to tell, too.” Every writer must first be a reader if they want to be a good one.
AR: How old were you when you started writing?
DC: I started writing in junior high school. Those first efforts were awful. Just awful.
AR: Where do you get your inspirations?
DC: Inspiration can spring from the darndest things. Like a sink full of dirty dishes or a song that makes you think, “What if—“. Most often I guess my ideas come from another source, a book or movie then my mind takes off on a tangent, a sharp turn to the left or right. I just go with that twist of the imagination and make it my own.
AR: What is the one thing you hate most about writing?
DC: I’m better with short stories. With the novels I’m working on I’m great at starting, bad about finishing.
AR: What is the one thing you like most about writing?
DC: I love creating a temporary, new world to inhabit. It’s like escaping the real one for a while.
AR: When is inspiration most likely to strike you?
DC: It doesn’t happen at any particular time of day. I guess inspiration strikes when I’m experiencing something in my own life that dovetails with some crazy idea I’ve had.
AR: Do you do any other sort of art?
DC: I wish I hadn’t smoked for so many years because I’ve ruined a pretty decent singing voice. I admire those who can paint or draw but the best I can do are stick figures.
AR: If you could invite any one other author or poet over for dinner, who would you invite?
DC: Well, it would be impossible but I’d love to have Apostle John over.
DC: I’d love to hear about writing Revelation.
AR: What would you talk about?
DC: God. Visions. What it was like to be part of the greatest bestseller of all time.
AR: What would you serve for the meal?
DC: It would probably be something kosher. I don’t know what. I’ve never cooked kosher in my life but I’d give it a try.
AR: If you received the bad news that you only had thirty days to live, what would you do?
DC: Spend time with my family and pray a lot. I’d get mentally and spiritually prepared.
AR: Thinking about all of your characters, which one are you most like?
DC: I don’t know that I’m like any of my characters. Writing is escapism for me so I try to get away from myself. But you can’t really do that, can you? We pour some of ourselves into everyone we create. That being said, the first character that popped into my mind was Cybil, from my unfinished romance novel. I hadn’t written much back then and so had to pour a lot of myself into her just to make her believable. When I managed to do that, everyone else in the novel came to life. I really do need to finish that book one day!
AR: Thinking about all the characters you’ve ever seen in movies, plays, tv shows, or read about, which are you most like?
DC: Maybe Lily Tomlin’s character from Grace and Frankie. An old hippie.
AR: What do you tell people that say “I want to be a writer.” ?
DC: Get a thesaurus, make sure you know basic grammar, then go write something.
AR: Why do you tell them that?
DC: That’s about what I did. I noticed that a lot of writers got their start writing short stories. So I sat down and wrote one. I think you read it. The Horsebird. I sent it off to Asimov’s magazine, which was ridiculous. They only take hard science, or at least sci-fi based on hard science. It’s still my favorite piece of work that I’ve done and it may never see the light of day. So what? If you love what you’ve written and think it’s good, that’s half the battle.
AR: What do you want on your tombstone?
DC: Just the basic facts. I doubt I’ll ever be famous enough to have visitors come see me when I’m gone.
AR: Any last words?
DC: Sure. For those who might be getting discouraged, don’t give up. Keep slugging away. One of these days that ball will pop up and fly.