Laura Maylene Walter - Interview
What did you do after graduation? I read your article about not going into an MFA program, but I was hoping you could expand on what it was like to be a post graduate.
I worked for two nonprofits after graduation – first in Washington, DC, and then in Cleveland. My job title was “information specialist” at both organizations, which included writing and editing responsibilities. (One thing I have learned in my professional life is that solid writing skills are valuable in just about any industry or organization.)
Once in Cleveland, I also began writing freelance articles for regional publications. This experience eventually led to my current position as a senior editor of a trade publication. I write and edit all day long at work, and then I usually go home and write and edit some more for my personal projects.
I’ve worked full-time since graduating in 2003. I loved college and I always want to learn more, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a graduate degree is in my future.
What is your best memory from Washington College?
There are so many to choose from: making an impromptu slip-and-slide in the grass on the college green following a hurricane my freshman year; walking around downtown Chestertown on a sunny day; spending many quiet hours in my Lit House fellowship room with the cat Edith Wharton curled up by my side; impromptu road trips with friends; and the entire week before graduation, when everything felt electric with anticipation for the future.
Can you explain what writing is like to you? How you write and when you like to write?
I’m able to write either in the morning or nighttime hours, which is convenient because I have to squeeze writing time in around my job. I’ll often wake up early and write in a café for a few hours before work. I also try to make a few weekly “writing dates” with friends. We meet in coffee shops on weeknight evenings or the weekends and each work on our own writing projects. Having the support of these writing buddies, along with two exceptional writing groups, is incredibly beneficial to my writing life.
Who is your favorite author and why?
I love just about everything about Margaret Atwood’s books, and I was thrilled to see her speak at AWP this year. I’m also a big fan of Ann Patchett’s writing. And like many people right now, I’m drawn to Cheryl Strayed – not only for her honesty and her lovely writing, but because I closely identify with many of the themes of grief, loss, and mother-daughter relationships in both her novel Torch and memoir Wild.
Do you have a guilty pleasure author? For instance mine would be Charlaine Harris and the Southern Vampire Mysteries.
I don’t have a specific guilty pleasure author, but I enjoyed The Hunger Games (particularly the first book) and think it provides some excellent lessons in building tension and suspense.