The Writing Academy is excited to share 2021 graduate Charlotte Paige and her recent success publishing a short story “Screen Time Up 16%” in Screen Door Review, an online journal for poetry and stories under 1,000 words by queer Southern writers. You can find the story here
Charlotte, we’re happy for you and we love the story. What drew you to the idea?
I’m very interested in desire and the journey from understanding what one wants to setting out to get it to ultimately having that desire satisfied. One of the primary questions I examine as a writer and in life is: how do people get what they want? I think that’s probably pretty universal for writers since all characters want something, but examining that desire is a key factor in driving me to the page.
In this story, Anabel is taking those first tentative steps towards what she wants and ultimately towards who she is. Working through the vulnerability required to get what she wants in this story is what drew me to the idea.
Is this the first story you’ve had published?
This is my first fiction publication, yes! I have some professional publication credits from my day job life but having a piece of fiction published for the first time feels special. I’m honored that my work is out there to be read.
What was your process like in submitting this story? Terrifying? Exciting?
The process of submitting this story was equal parts terrifying and exciting. I had written this story last November while I was a student in the GCLS Writing Academy with the goal of submitting to literary journals for consideration. And then I put off submitting for almost a year. Much like Anabel, I felt so vulnerable putting myself out there.
I was diagnosed with ADHD-combined type two years ago, and how that looks for me is that I have a hard time breaking things down into small enough steps to complete. It creates some resistance with tasks that I’m not sure how to do exactly. So the concrete steps of researching journals that may be interested in my work, formatting my work to meet different guidelines, and then filling out the forms took me some time to wrap my head around. Once I’m able to work through exactly what needs to be done, I can take it one step at a time. But getting there can be hard. Worth it though!
So doing all of that and putting my work into the hands of editors was thrilling, and then about five minutes later, I had to soothe myself with a lot of gentle self-talk. I know some folks thrive on tough love, but not me, I have to whisper sweet nothings to myself to keep going.
We’re super intrigued by the fact that you are a “librarian in the deep south.” That must be fascinating. Can you tell us a little about that?
Being a librarian is a rewarding day job. I try to really focus that every day I get to connect people with stories. Stories change lives, and I’m lucky to be a part of that. As a writer, it is pretty inspirational too. Sometimes I walk around the stacks and think of all of the hours of work that created all of the books represented there. It’s pretty magical.
You’ve written a book called Rainbow Harbor Wedding? Would you like to tell us a bit about it?
I’m polishing the draft of Rainbow Harbor Wedding now with hopes to send it out soon. It’s the story of Sunshine Davis who has put her life on hold to care for her ill grandmother and to help plan her brother’s wedding. She’s temporarily living in Rainbow Harbor, Florida, but as she spends more time in the town and with her brother’s very attractive wedding planner, she may find some reasons to stay.
Where can people reach you if they want to sign up for your newsletter or find you on social media?
I’m most active on Twitter, and you can find me @charlotteapaige. To sign-up for my newsletter, you can find it on my website- https://charlotteapaige.com/newsletter.
Thank you, Charlotte! We hope to hear more from you soon.