The Writing Life

Interview Questions 1: Answered by Cynthia Sally Haggard

What first inspired you to write or who inspired you?

I began writing fiction seriously in the Fall of 2004. At that time I was making the transition from research scientist to science writer.

Realizing that my writing needed work, I brainstormed about what I could do to get away from jargonated academic prose. I decided to take classes in fiction writing.

Cottage in Bernal Heights, San Francisco California

After seeing a flyer in Craig’s List, my footsteps led me to a tiny cottage in the quaint neighborhood of Bernal Heights, San Francisco. The cottage may have been shabby chic, but the teaching was amazing.

I took two classes, Introduction to Fiction: You Can’t Build a House without Foundations taught by Junse Kim, and Introduction to the Novel, taught by Otis Haschemeyer, a Stegner Fellow.

Otis opened his class by telling us that we had to produce the first five pages of our next novel. Bemused, but ever the good student, I complied. I have never looked back.

I spent the next seven years writing my first novel Thwarted Queen, which I self-published in October 2011.