Interview with author, Victoria Costello

Victoria was the kind of kid who would sit high on a tree branch for hours at a time, lost in thought. Unsurprisingly, she became a writer, beginning with reams of poems never seen by a living soul. She “also thought it would be cool to be read.” In high school, she started an underground newspaper which caused a sensation and got her suspended.
As an undergraduate, she studied journalism at American University in Washington, DC, where her career started in TV news and documentary. After raising two sons and working as a freelance TV writer/producer in LA and  San Francisco, she returned to college for my MFA in writing from Mills in Oakland. She wrote what became her memoir on nights and weekends.  A Lethal Inheritance was published by Prometheus Books in 2012. 

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, or special space for your writing? Or tell us about your ‘dream’ workspace.

VC. My current writing space is a cozy loft, big enough for my desk and a small bookshelf. But it gives me a gorgeous view of Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley, at least my chunk of it, from the north hills of Ashland, across the I-5, to Grizzly Point.

Loft with view of Grizzly Point

Q. Do you have any special rituals or quirks when you sit down to write? (a neat workspace, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, a glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

VC. After feeding the cats and drinking two cups of coffee, but before I start writing, I try to spend twenty minutes meditating at the ancestral altar I’ve erected in the attic.

Q. Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

VC. My brand of spirituality is a bit unusual in that I’m a high church Episcopalian and a pagan. The progressive Episcopal congregation I attend in Ashland, Oregon offers both traditional and Celtic Christian worship and gives me an avenue for doing community service. Then twice a month, I attend a Crone Soul Circle, an online gathering of wise women at the Sacred Wellness Grove, who meet my need for non-patriarchal, Goddess-centered earth worship and visionary feminist thought on issues of our day.

Q. What tools do you begin with? Legal pad, spiral notebook, pencils, fountain pen, or do you go right to your keyboard?

Coming June 13th

VC. I’m a keyboard kind of girl for actual writing, starting with my first draft. In the research and thinking stages, I gather piles of books and source materials on which I exhaust numerous yellow highlighters while filling spiral notebooks. I can’t even imagine writing, let alone the endless rewriting I do, without a computer. I have nothing but awe for authors who came before us and toiled by pen and paper alone or even a typewriter. White-Out is a nightmare I’d just as soon forget.

Q. Do you enjoy writing in other forms (playwriting, poetry, short stories, etc.)? If yes, tell us about it.

VC. Early on in my career, I made several documentary films and videos on social and political issues like abortion, nuclear power, and climate change. At a certain point, I got tired of shlepping around the world with crews and heavy equipment and I was happy to return to the solitary writing life. I also had two sons I had to raise, primarily as a single mom.

See Part 2 next week.

To receive my weekly posts, sign up for my  On the home page, enter your email address. Watch for more interviews with authors.  March-Apr:   Joshua Hood, author of ROBERT LUDLUM’S THE TREADSTONE RENDITION  April: Author, H.W. ‘Buzz’ Bernard, May: Victoria Costello. 
 June: Laila Ibrahim






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