She paints, she dances and acts, she has an alter-ego named Zoe LaPage, and she’s a published horror novelist. Let’s give a warm IMJ welcome to September’s Geek Girl of the Month…
Sally on Writing
Writing has been an obsession for me for most of my life. I’ve been a lifetime reader of anything from Ray Bradbury’s R is for Rocket to Laurence Durrell’s Justine. I started out writing (really bad) science fiction stories and getting rejected by such legendary magazines as Azimov’s and Analog. I had a brief flirtation with meta-fiction and had several bizarre and bizarrely formatted stories published in literary magazines. After reading Anne Rice’s Vampire Lestat I fell in love with horror. Not violent or slasher horror, but more in the area of The Uncanny. Somewhere along the line, I picked up a love of young adult literature. My writing now is a combination of the two.
The turning point in my writing came when I attended the Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction Program and received an MFA. The program opened me up to a whole new world and increased my writing skills exponentially. I’d highly recommend it.
My published novels include: AltDeath.com, Shadow Cat (written as Zoe LaPage, my adult alter-ego), and The Werecat Chronicles. I also had an article published in Many Genres, One Craft and a story published in Hazard Yet Forward.
My writing process is to create a detailed outline, using Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat format. I do character sketches, start a story bible so I can keep track of everything, and write the first chapter. After that, I set aside three days to binge-write as much as I can. This gives me a good start and I go on from there. I’m a firm believer that putting some constraints on your writing increases creativity, and the three-day-binge seems to do that for me.
As far as keeping up a standard writing routine goes, this is what works for me lately: I go to the gym in the afternoon, then go to someplace like Panera, have something to eat and work on my current project for several hours. For a long time I tried to get up in the morning and write, but that was fighting my own inner clock, so I decided to try writing at night, and that worked better for me. Also, the background noise of a coffee shop works well for me.
Sally on Being an Artist
I’ve always been an artist. Practically from the time I could walk, I had a brush in my hand. I remember that before I even started school, there was a PBS show on Japanese brush painting, and I’d sit there with my paint set and follow along, creating flowers, fauna and goldfish. This led to my being an Art Major and later having a career in graphic design. I also got interested in miniature painting, because they encapsulated their own little worlds.
Shown here are panels I painted (along with my friend Leslie Bevis) of a dystopian cityscape
At an early age, I developed a love of Ballet. I took lessons in grammar school and totally loved it. This led to being a Dance Major for several years before I switched to art. I was in various dance companies and later did musical theater. I also acted in dramatic plays.
Somewhere in there, I also played guitar and saxophone, but those interests were short-lived.
To me, all of the arts work together. Whether it’s writing, painting, dancing or acting, it’s all telling a story, creating an expression that goes out into the world and lives beyond yourself. I couldn’t live if I wasn’t expressing myself somehow. I truly believe that if a person doesn’t create, s/he will eventually get sick, because there’s no outflow.
Sally on Health and Spiritual Development
From an early age I’ve had the feeling that I was going to live for a long time, so I’ve always taken great care of myself. It’s important to me to eat well, exercise and work on my spiritual development.
I’m a vegetarian, though I do eat some fish, and I have a regimen of vitamins and herbals that I take. I’ve always done some form of exercise, be it ballet, tap, jazz, yoga or running. Lately, I go to the gym and do weights and cardio. I don’t feel well unless I’m moving daily.
Again, from an early age I’ve been interested in spiritualism and meditation. As a kid this took the form of an interest in astral projection and psychic phenomenon (which plays into my writing now.) Later I got into Zen and other forms of spiritual development, which made me go more deeply into myself. I meditate daily, because I think that puts your inner being into a kind of neutral zone that lets the goodness of the universe flow in. I’m a big believer in creative visualization, manifesting your destiny and the fact that you do create your own reality.
To find out more about me, check out my web page at SallyBosco.com