Writing Advice from "Franzen, King, Hosseini, and More"

Photo from The Atlantic


I've been saving the link to this article since December, because I wanted to be sure to share it with you (in case you missed it). I've been eager to get back to the blog, and what better way to do it than with a bang.

Joe Fassler of The Atlantic has provided a wonderful service to writers by gaining access to a magnificent gaggle of fine authors. Through his interviews with these generous folks, he collected their invaluable advice in the following article. Like I said, it's worth saving.

Of his collection of interviews, Joe Fassler says:


Taken together, these conversations were like attending an MFA program—I learned that much. Here are the best short pieces of writing advice I heard from writers in 2013, a whole year’s worth of wisdom."



Wickedly Yours,

Fran Friel

ASM Blog Horde Interview with Daine Severson

Blog Horde Interview Logo

Welcome to the Amazing Stories BLOG HORDE INTERVIEWS!

The ASM Blog Horde is a diverse and wonderful species. I have the privilege of talking with all of them, and I get to share those chats with you. In this long-running series, you will have the opportunity to peek inside the minds of the ASM bloggers to to see just what makes them tick.

I hope you enjoy the series as much as I have enjoyed preparing it for you. Please feel free to ask questions, or just let the Horde know you've stopped by for a visit.

Bloggers live for comments, so keep 'em alive!  

--Fran Friel

Tonight's Featured ASM Blogger:


 is a professional singer and vocal teacher. She specializes in "Early Music," and freelances mostly in Medieval and Baroque music. She is also a wife and a mother, a podcaster, a narrator and blogger.

After finishing her Bachelors of Music Degree in Vocal Performance in Madison, Wisconsin, Diane moved to Germany where she lived for twenty years. She recently relocated to Paris with her family—an Italian husband, and their 3-year old linguist son.

Fran Friel for Amazing Stories: Welcome to the ASM Blog Horde Interview Series, Diane. I’m thrilled to be here with you. So, let's start with how you became interested in blogging for Amazing Stories Magazine.

DS: I saw Steve Davidson’s post calling for bloggers for Amazing Stories over on the StarShipSofa Facebook Page. Since I’ve been Science Fiction poetry’s self-appointed spokesperson for a while now, I thought blogging for ASM would be a perfect opportunity to expand that to a wider audience.

ASN: As you well know, Amazing Stories Magazine has quite a wide variety of blogging categories. In which categories will we find your blogs?

DS: I blog about Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction poetry. My main focus will be to review SF poetry – chapbooks, collections, anthologies, online poetry zines and the like. I plan to throw in the odd interview with a prominent or favorite SF poet every once in a while.

ASM: Diane, who are your favorite authors, and what keeps you coming back to their work? Any book recommendations for us?

Diane Severson ASM Interview 4

DS: My favorite author within or outside of the genre is Ursula K. LeGuin. I haven’t read all of her work, not by a long stretch, but I’m trying to space it out, so I don’t run out of things to look forward to, if you know what I mean.

My favorite novels by UKL are The Left Hand of Darkness (SF), The Other Wind (part of the fantasy, Earthsea Cycle) and The Lathe of Heaven. Her short stories are also incredibly powerful, but there are too many which have affected me to name here. Long before I discovered SF poetry, I fell in love with UKL’s style. It’s slow and melodic and beautiful, just like poetry. I think that might be just what turns some people off of her work.

There are a number of other authors that have inspired me to read book after book: 

Octavia ButlerRay BradburyJames Tiptree, Jr.Lois McMaster BujoldRobin HobbCharles DeLintMarion Zimmer BradleyNicola GriffithMarge PiercyAnne McCaffreySheri TepperNeil GaimanPhilip K. DickMargaret Atwood

ASM: That’s a juicy list for sure, Diane. I would happily get lost in your bookshelves. Now, how about new or lesser-known authors? Is there anyone you would suggest to our readers?

DS: I’ve been introduced to so many authors through podcasts, specifically 

StarShipSofa and PodCastle, that I’m losing track of who is well known and who is not. However, I feel fairly confident that Lawrence SantoroMatthew Sanborn Smith and Grant Stone might not be household names.

ASM: Discovering new talent is like finding buried treasure, so thanks for the recommendations. What are you reading now, and how is it so far?   

Thanks for reading, gang! Please pop on over to

Amazing Stories for the rest of Diane Severson's ASM Blog Horde Interview:


Wickedly Yours,

Fran Friel