Larysia Woropay is a Canadian writer, currently seeking an agent for her fantasy novel Lucidity. You can check out her blog here.
1. Firstly, your poetry is super. I was struck by how much thought must go into your word choice.
Thank you kindly! For the compliment and the interview. I’m honoured to be featured on your blog.
The thought that goes into my word choice varies. Sometimes I spend days trying to go about my verses cerebrally, researching and exploring ideas, word play, and rhymes. Then there are other times when a verse pops into my mind and inspiration puts me under literary trance. When that happens, I can finish a poem in next to no time. Either way, I aim to write from an evocative place within me. And I think if a poet writes with sincerity, the diction evokes the same response within the reader as it does the writer.
2. I think too reader interpretation plays a part, and reader reactions will differ. Some readers might see stuff and others will see other stuff. But on to your more modern material for a sec, you have a flashfiction piece called Fetish, which has a very bleak twist. And one about a visit to a temple, which also has a surprisingly sinister ending. Would you describe your work as dark?
A lot of my work is dark, yes. I want to try my hand at cozy mysteries and have romance in some stories, but that’s just really to help me grow as a writer and be better rounded.
3. People have said my work has a rounded cynicism. I think it’s easier to write dark and snarky than happy and clappy.
I think we’re just dark and snarky people. Though I have some poems and works that are evocative with wonder and mystical beauty; those are romantic in a different sense, I suppose. Ad Infinitum and Gravitas are probably my favourites.
4. Wow. Looking at these, if I was to draw inspiration or try imitation from the past for poetry in terms of style, I’d try to draw on the Romantics or other Old Skool poets, but I’d avoid the material like this in terms of inspiration – it’s too Hark! for me. You know? But you harness the richer stuff, the stars and beasts of myth – and you do it so very well. Gravitas has touches of Euripides’ Medea, on Helios’s chariot, and has echoes of Milton, and William Blake. And you mash this up these echoes with current astronomy and physics and Darwinism, or whatever else.
It took me days to write Gravitas. Not only was it my goal for the poem to scan well and have some meter, but also make it full of rich imagery from space. I wanted to do the cosmos justice as it is a blend of beauty, mythology, and hard science. All truly wondrous things. As a fan of astronomy, astrology, and legends, I gave it my all. Thrilled you enjoy it and Ad Infinitum so much!
5. There’s a circularity to some of your poetry and perhaps your fiction. A forest fire caused by the phoenix (or meteor, if I could be so bold), and the fire that came from the sky is sent back up into it; I’ve noticed it about other poems too; you have an oasis based on the tears of the last desert’s victims, to fool the next victims to their deaths? Very powerful thoughts and ideas.
These elements of mythology – like that phoenix idea is something that the ancients may well have believed – shooting stars as mythical beasts. But you’re the only person I’ve seen who’s articulated it. WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT, WOMAN?
And we were only just talking about roundedness. But you’ve got stuff that reminds me of the circle of life, or a similar circle in galactic expansion, or whatever else – the Gaia Theory, or the Jurassic Park trope about Nature always finding a way.
There is a circularity. It comes naturally. I think it stems from what I believe is my bread and butter of writing prose. Flashfiction, short stories, novels. Beginning, middle, end. But things don’t ever truly end, do they?
One of my favourite quotes is:
Nothing is created. Nothing is destroyed. All is only ever transformed.
Perhaps that is why so much of my work features a lot of returning to once what was to begin again.
6. Coupled with the style, it’s impressive in its originality. I think it’s strong enough conceptually to draw on these canonical aspects. What’s your background?
My background? Like, in writing? Or my general interest in certain topics? I have tons of personal interest in religion and mythology. Gods and monsters. I’ve researched anything from the supernatural to fantastical since I was young. In elementary and junior high I’d spend my days in libraries, buried in books about said subjects and the love only grew from there.
My professional background is in telecommunications. I was going to study journalism when I was younger, but decided spinning the truth and deadlines weren’t for me. Aside from that, I studied Japanese in high school and travelled to Japan in 2008.
7. So you are probably fully haiku-compliant! I am terrible at the poetry. I love your use of today’s science coupled with the language and mythology of pre-Modernist poets. And you can harness some powerful wordplay off the back of all that.
Thank you! Although, I’m afraid I love a good limerick over a haiku most days! That said, I love many different cultures and want to travel more.
8. You partake in a few of these Twitter hashtag writing exercises and games. Tell me a little about that, and why do you do them?
9.What’s your novelLucidity about?
When Dream becomes living Nightmare, a seventeen-year-old girl must conquer her fears and become a general in a reality-bending war. A dark contemporary fantasy with psychological and theological elements, it’s a tale of self-empowerment, unity, and overcoming grief.
High school senior Breanna (Brea) Greer hasn’t been coping well since her father’s untimely passing. In fact, she hasn’t been coping at all. She lashes out, attacking the most popular girl in school, creating turmoil that trails her as she rushes toward graduation. Brea’s short fuse is alienating her friends and family alike. Worse yet, she’s terrified of her dreams. More accurately, her nightmares.
In her sleep, Brea meets Driad, a warrior and professed Guardian of the Astral Plane, who claims that the world of dreams actually exists and is in danger due to an ethereal sister who went violently rogue. Driad is in search of someone to help protect them all, since this turncoat has her sights set on destruction in the real world too. They need Generals, those who will remember their dreams to keep vigil in both worlds. Driad extends to Brea the offer of becoming a General. She accepts. It’s a dream, after all. It can’t be real. But soon Brea discovers a myriad of coincidences lining up with the dream world and her own. She must determine if the escalating supernatural threat is real, or if she’s simply entertaining wild subconscious fantasies.
10. Interesting stuff. I am getting angelic vibes off this. Angels can only do the will of God; they have none of their own. It’s why Lucifer was cast out; he defied God. Right? Your ethereal sister has a touch of the Satanics about her!
I think we all have a touch of the Satanics about us, to be honest. Haha! But as I grew up
Catholic, I can see where I drew some symbolism from. Overall, though, the inspiration for the plot came from my own nightmares. I suffered from them chronically when I was younger. For years the theme would be the same: I’d be a warrior of some sort designated to save a group of people as all hell rained down upon us. I then asked myself, “What if this battle was actually happening and there are hundreds of people like me protecting others in their sleep?” And thus the manuscript came to be.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to check me out on social media. I love interacting with everyone!