Emily Pohl-Weary is an award-winning author, editor, and creative writing instructor. Her latest books are Ghost Sick, a collection of poetry about tragedy and resilience in downtown Toronto, and Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl, a young adult fantasy novel. Her previous books include a Hugo Award-winning biography, a ghost love story, a female superhero anthology, a second poetry collection, and a girl pirate comic. She has been a writer-in-residence at Queen’s University, Pierre Berton House in Dawson City, University of the Fraser Valley (B.C.), and the Toronto Public Library. She’s currently a creative writing instructor at Dalhousie University and working on a new teen novel.
What made you want to become a writer?
I’m an inveterate daydreamer, always making up explanations for random things. I love being transported by poetry, novels, comics, storytellers, movies, TV shows, songs, and games. When I was in my early twenties and it was time to decide what to do with my life, the only thing I could think of that would reliably maintain my interest is trying to give others a fraction of the sense of belonging that stories had given me. Little did I know: there is a world of difference between wanting to do that and being able to do it successfully!
Where do you get your ideas?
Life. The mall. Public transit. Articles. My weird brain, which seems to underscore experiences other people would rather forget.
What drives you to continue to tell stories?
The human desire to care for each other and share difficult experiences. Love. The senselessness of suffering. Grief. The compulsion to get better and better at it. The fact that, as a craft, it’s all mine, and private until I choose to share. I think it’s how I make meaning from information overload.
Do you have a writing routine? What is it?
I strive for a routine, but I’m pretty erratic. While working on first drafts of several books, I managed to hit 750 or 1,000 words a day, but because of my tendency to procrastinate, that usually meant I had no other life whatsoever. So I’m trying to be a little easier on myself and just keep coming back to a manuscript until it’s done.
Francine Cunningham is the social media executive for the UBC Creative Writing Alumni Association. What does that mean exactly? She is on the Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads accounts and our blog, posting information about our alumni, events and news. She also runs this interview series Alumni Interviews and loves being able to get to know the people who make this association what it is. For more information about Francine and her writing find her at www.francinecunningham.ca.