Kameron, you have a very beautiful name. What does it mean?
As much as I love my name, its meaning is a little unfortunate. ‘Kameron’ is of Scottish origin, and is thought to mean ‘crooked nose.’ In my case, it’s exceptionally fitting—I have x-rays that prove my nose is, in fact, slightly crooked.
Where do you prefer to be interviewed? Choose one of these: 1) in a dingy coffee shop 2) in a quiet library 3) in Dumbledore’s office 4) on a cruise ship. (And please explain why you’ve chosen this one)
Definitely a coffee shop. Aside from the fact that I love coffee, I love the vibe of a good coffee shop. Comfy seating, the background noise of an espresso machine. I don’t do well trying to write where I live because I get distracted by laundry or dirty dishes, so I go to a coffee shop. There’s a certain amount of consistency to a good coffee shop, so even when I’m out of town I know I can find a comfortable space in a local (or chain) coffee shop. Dumbledore’s office would be amazing, but I think I would be more interested in looking around than talking.
You create new characters as a writer. How do you describe your own real character?
I think it’s significant that you’ve used the term ‘real’ here, as one of the things I love about fiction is that the reader is able to see inside a person instead of only seeing the parts they show to the world. I would probably describe myself as someone who portrays a lot of confidence despite not being sure if they’ve earned their successes, someone who pays close attention to the rules of society despite knowing the rules are bullshit. A host of contradictions, though I image that describes most people.
It’s December 25th. Merry Christmas, Kameron. My favorite Christmas story is A Christmas Carol. What is yours?
Does a Christmas movie count? A Christmas Story is such a classic. I want a leg lamp.
Imagine I’m Santa Claus and I want to give you one permanent present. Will you take the fame or the riches?
Questions like this make me a little existential. What even is fame? Being recognized on the street? Being interviewed on TV? I’d go with money and start scholarship funds. Having money would mean all the time in the world to write, too.
What is your plan for this Christmas? Will you read a special book?
Nothing special, though I will be spending a lot of time reading. I’ve got a short story collection I’ve been meaning to read, A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley, and one of my professors recommended Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison.
How many books do you hold in your home right now? And if you could keep only one, which one would you choose?
Just my apartment? At least one hundred. I started stacking them on the floor when I ran out of bookshelf space. Including what I left with my parents? Probably closer to three hundred, which doesn’t include my parents’ extensive collection. We read a lot.
If I could only keep one, it would be The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories by Ernest Hemingway. I’ve used that book as almost a textbook on how to write short stories, and it remains an incredible inspiration and resource for me.
Is Christmas, your most favorite holiday?
I suppose it is. My family always has a lot of decorations and some gorgeous ornaments, so the house is always beautiful. I love getting gifts for people, too.
Have you ever written a story about Christmas or any other holidays?
No, actually, but I think it would be a nice challenge. So much has already been said about Christmas and other important holidays. It would be difficult, (and fun, I think) to try and come up with something unique.
How much time do you spend on reading and writing daily? Do you have a routine?
I don’t have a routine currently because my schedule is so all over the place. In college, having classes at different times made keeping a schedule difficult, and now I work as a substitute teacher, which is very sporadic. I spend more time reading than I do writing, though I’m not always reading ‘literary’ work, because sometimes my brain needs a break. When I do write, it can be a little hit or miss. Sometimes I can only write for ten minutes before being tapped out, and other times the muse really kicks in and I write for three hours straight. The only consistent thing appears to be inconsistency.
You study Creative Writing at university. Why did you choose this major? Are you satisfied now?
I picked creative writing because I wanted to take my writing seriously. Majoring in creative writing isn’t the only way to do this, of course, but it’s been a great option for me. I’m incredibly happy with my choice. I think my writing has really improved thanks to the courses I’ve taken and the professors I’ve had.
You work as an editor. What are some pros and cons of being an editor? Isn’t it a boring job?
Pros: Discovering incredible work. Putting that work together into a magazine. Working with like-minded people.
Cons: Proof-reading. Slogging through dozens of not quite right pieces. Having to reject submissions while knowing how much work goes in to writing and how draining it can be to send out work and get rejected.
Overall, I love the work I do with literary magazines, but sometimes it can be exhausting.
Kameron, do you feel lonely sometimes? If yes, what do you do then to feel better?
Doesn’t everyone get lonely? Music always makes me feel better, singing along to something or messing around on my ukulele. I think the sound is what makes a difference when I’m feeling alone.
Is it difficult to be a woman? Do you sometimes think that if you were a man, you would be more successful?
This is an exceptionally tricky question, for while I identify as genderqueer and use they/them pronouns when I can, I look and dress very feminine. My name only complicates things, since my first name is gender neutral and my middle name is after my grandfather, so I use the male spelling. I have no concept of what editors think when they see my name without pronouns to indicate gender, and I imagine they make assumptions based on the protagonists in whatever writing I’ve sent. At this point in my career, I don’t know that gender has factored in to my success or lack thereof, but perhaps that thinking is naïve.
Does it differ if the author of a book is a woman or a man? Do you ever consciously select books based on the gender of the authors?
I end up with most books I read based on recommendations, so I’m less attuned to the authors I’m picking out. I’d say I’m more likely to seek out books by people of color than by specific genders.
What will publishing industry be like in 2050? Can you imagine that?
With print literary magazines like Tin House and Glimmer Train closing, it’s hard not to be a little pessimistic. People want free content, and I don’t blame them. I hope the small publishing presses continue to thrive, though, and so far it looks like they are. In today’s world, I think people are increasingly craving real connection and authenticity, and the slickness of the big publishing houses doesn’t always provide that. I remain optimistic for the small presses, and for the growing amount of online lit mags who are finding and featuring incredible work.
My main focus is on reading flash fiction stories. I’m sure you like them too because I’ve read some of your interesting works on the net. What is special about flash fiction stories, Kameron?
My first ever creative writing course was on flash fiction, and I think that’s why I love flash so much. Someone told me once that flash fiction doesn’t have a narrative arc, but I don’t think that’s true. The arc is little and fast, capturing bursts of epiphanies and realizations that I feel are almost more true to real life.
Do you force yourself to write flash fiction stories on a certain schedule or do you only write them when an interesting idea crosses your mind?
I tend to write flashes more spontaneously than I do longer fiction because it takes such a specific type of idea for flash. If I’m stuck on a longer work, though, I’ll sometimes turn to flash fiction because it’s nice to have something completed in such a short amount of time. Other times, if I’m struggling over a particular theme that I’m trying to explore, I’ll try to write a few flashes over the same idea just to see where my thoughts are. Not all of those pieces turn out, but it’s a nice exercise.
What is your biggest fear in life?
My biggest fear is stagnation. I’m always working towards the next thing, writing or otherwise, and the idea of no longer wanting to move forward terrifies me.
Do you believe that our life on this planet is purposeful? If yes, what is that purpose?
I think our purpose is to learn and to help others learn. In my own experience (which is admittedly very limited, as I’m only 22), life is about growth.
How about you? Are you now a hundred percent sure about your future life plans and goals? Would you please describe your future for me? I’m highly curious.
Right now, my most immediate goal is getting my MFA in fiction, though with acceptance rates the way they are, I don’t know how long it will take me to achieve that. I want to keep writing, keep publishing, keep working for literary magazines. Maybe teach, if that’s how things work out. My goals are always changing, and I do my best to keep myself open to new opportunities, even if they aren’t exactly what I was expecting.
Do you see dreams and nightmares a lot? Would you please share one of them with me?
I spent a semester working retail at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It was a stressful job, and now most of my nightmares involve being back in the store and unable to find something. Once, I dreamed that I was crushed by an avalanche of plush Mickey Mouses.
Do you prefer to distance yourself from other humans? Or do you enjoy chatting and spending your time with them?
I value time spent by myself. I enjoy being around others, but not for too long. I’d much rather sit by myself than be expected to talk to someone.
Did I miss a question? What is that question which you wished I would ask but I didn’t?
I’ve enjoyed answering all your questions, which I’ve found to be incredibly thoughtful. I honestly can’t think of anything you’ve missed.
Thanks a million, dear Kameron. I hope I will have this honor of talking to you again a few years later. I’ll keep in touch with you by following your Instagram page. Good luck 😉
And best of luck to you, as well! It’s been such a pleasure answering your questions.