VAH: The blank page stares back at you, what gets you over writers block?
RQ: Art is a big inspiration for me, so when I’m feeling blocked I turn to the works of art that might have inspired others. Usually something new will strike me about the painting and I’ll be able to start working. Music is helpful too. Anything from Mariah Carey to the Beach Boys to Wagner can provide inspiration.
VAH: What does your typical writing day include?
RQ: Right now, it includes a lot of revision since I’m getting my next manuscript ready. It includes reading, listening to music, or if I’m in the mood, having a movie playing in the background as I work.
VAH: What are your thoughts on the writing community – are there writing or author organizations you belong to or online sites ou frequent for community, conversing, networking or commiserating? And do you have some favorites?
RQ: I’m very active on Twitter, which has really given me the opportunity to connect with other writers and maintain friendships I’ve made with writers at AWP or Canto Mundo. Twitter is a great platform to talk about writing or just share about the work of other writers that I enjoy.
VAH: Traditional or independent publishing? Or a little of both? What choices have you made and why did you go the way you have?
RQ: It depends on what your goals are in terms of writing. There are many wonderful independent publishers that support their writers and have helped get some terrific work out into the world. My first collection, Next Extinct Mammal, was with an independent press and that was a good experience. I’d like to be published by a bigger press as well. What is most important is to publish with people who you are comfortable with and would be proud to say published your work. Never publish with a press just because it’s a publication. Make sure it’s a good fit for both of you.
VAH: Best bit of advice to save another writer some anxiety or heartache?
RQ: Don’t spend too much comparing yourself to other writers in terms of career trajectory. Things happen at a different pace for everyone. Be ambitious; strive for more, work hard, and it will happen. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t happen as quickly as you want it to.
VAH: What’s next for you? Do you have a work in progress you can tell us about?
RQ: I’m finishing my second collection of poetry right now. I’m also working on a paper about queer horror movies called “The Horror of Heterosexuality.” I’m excited to have started some new poems that I think are the start of a third collection. I’m also working on video poems. My video poem “Dark Matter” was recently released by Poetryseen.com.