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Member Spotlight: Rita Chang-Eppig

author Rita Chang-Eppig and an image of her book Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? The process of writing allows me to feel great joy. By joy I don’t mean the temporary happiness that comes with buying something cool or taking a vacation or even receiving a piece of good publishing news. I mean a sense of rightness within the universe, within myself. The reverse is also true: when I read a beautiful piece of writing, I feel a sense of union with the world, with perhaps even the author, even though we are separated by space and time. Any medium that can produce this effect, I think, must be important.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? Engage with other forms of art: go to a concert, a museum, slam poetry night, whatever! It’s my firm believe that art in all forms stimulates creativity. But sometimes writer’s block is the result of something more serious like depression. If that’s the case, then proper medical care is key.

What is your favorite time to write? Early to mid-afternoon! I am incoherent early in the morning and late at night.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Write whatever your heart calls you to write, even if it’s “weird,” even if other people tell you there’s no market for it. Ultimately, if you’re not passionate about the story you’re telling, that lack of enthusiasm is going to come across in the writing itself. Also, life is short! It takes years to write a book, so why torture yourself by working on something about which you feel only lukewarm?

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? There are more and more opportunities for marginalized writers to not only get their work published but to also get the kind of work they want to write published. For a long time, marginalized writers were more restricted in terms of what the market demanded of us: we were told that if we didn’t fit into a particular niche, then there was no room for us. Publishing still has a long way to go, but things are finally starting to change.

Rita Chang-Eppig’s Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea is out May 30 with Bloomsbury Publishing.