Interview with literary writer Rea Nolan Martin

Literary writer Rea
Nolan Martin
is here today to chat about her new visionary fiction novel, The Anesthesia Game.
Rea Nolan Martin is the award-winning author
of three novels: The Sublime Transformation of Vera Wright (2009)Mystic
Tea (2014)
, and The Anesthesia Game (2015), as well as a
collection of essays: Walking on Water (2016).
Mystic Tea is the recipient of the 2014 IPPY
Gold Medallion and US BEST BOOK Award for Visionary Fiction; the 2014 PINNACLE
Gold Medallion in the category of Literary Fiction; and Finalist in
the 2015 International Book Awards.
The Anesthesia Game is the
recipient of the 5 Star Readers’ Favorite insignia; 5 Star Clarion Review
insignia; 2016 IPPY Gold Medallion for Visionary Fiction; 2016 PINNACLE Gold
Medallion in the category of Best
and most recently, Book Viral’s first Crimson Quill Award.
A collection of her most inspirational
essays, Walking on Water, was released in the spring of 2016.
Rea is the author of numerous short stories
and poetry, most of which can be found in national literary magazines and
anthologies. She is a regular Huffpo blogger, former literary magazine editor
and MAW adjunct professor.
Welcome, Rea. Please
tell us a little bit about your newest release.
The story behind The Anesthesia Game is
very close to my heart. The fifteen-year-old protagonist, Sydney, suffers a
life-threatening illness that requires frequent spinal procedures for which she
undergoes regular anesthesia. Having spent years accompanying my own child
through such procedures, I understood from page one the spectrum of courage (or
cowardice) my characters would likely exhibit, patient and family members
alike. Having said that, this story is far from a memoir. The personalities of
my characters vary greatly from those of my own family. I constructed the
characters from scratch, asking myself—what if not one, but all of them
suffered some kind of affliction, real or imagined? What if, in order to manage
their afflictions, each one of them was also under the influence of her own
version of anesthesia? How would they manage to help each other? How would they
progress? Or would they? Who would lose a life and who would find one? After
the first 100 pages or so, the characters showed me the way.
As a writer of
Visionary Fiction, I imagined the child’s disease and the resulting anesthesia,
not as a means of sedating her life, so much as awakening it. After all, what
value do negative experiences contain if not to hone us and/or those around us?
The problem is, at what price the experience? The risks in this story are as
high as they can be. Lives hang in the balance.
surrounding childhood cancers are tragic from anyone’s perspective, but much is
to be gained if we have the courage to tread consciously through such toxic
waters. The patient is of course the central concern, but the peripheral damage
to family and friends can also be acute and widespread. If they’re paying
attention, almost everyone involved ends up learning something powerful about
him or herself in the process. Coincidentally, the essential component of
Visionary Fiction is the awakening of the deep self to greater purpose.
I first learned
about Visionary Fiction (VF) when my previous novel, Mystic Tea, was awarded
several literary prizes in that genre. Exploring it on Google, I discovered the
VFA (Visionary Fiction Alliance) with a
mention of my name as one of its contemporary authors. VF, as it turns out, is
the oldest new genre there is. Myth is VF; fairy tales are VF; even ancient
sacred texts contain all the consciousness awakening components of this
powerful genre. I wrote Visionary Fiction decades before I knew what it was, as
has been the case with most of my peers in that sector. It was simply the truth
as we knew it. VF authors tend to be highly intuitive and imaginative believers
in infinite possibility. Unlike other genres, its literary DNA emerges not from
the demands of plot or even the growth of its characters, although those are
important, but from the authenticity of the writing as an expression of the
writing The Anesthesia Game, I did
my best to honor that tradition.
What exciting story
are you working on next?
Right now I’m working on a novel about two
quirky elderly sisters who run a generations-old family funeral home in the
foothills of West Virginia. 
When did you first
consider yourself a writer?
I have always been a writer. I wrote plays as
a child, hilariously acted out by legions of neighborhood kids in front of our
parents, cocktails in hand. I continued to write plays and other genres in
grammar school and high school. In college, I majored in writing and graphic
arts. Post college, I worked as copywriter, then creative director of a Chicago
advertising firm. Years later, while consulting, I pursued a Master of Arts in
Writing degree, eventually becoming an adjunct professor in the same program,
teaching the Art of Fiction. I also edited a prominent literary
journal, contributed stories and poetry to many more journals, and eventually
settled into a full-time writer’s life. 
What would you say
is your interesting writing quirk?
My quirkiest habit is sniffing a box of 96
crayons whenever I’m stuck on a scene. I didn’t realize it was a habit until a
friend pointed it out. Apparently, I’m addicted to the smell of crayons.
As a child, what did
you want to be when you grew up?
Well, I read
voraciously, so the only job I could even imagine was a novelist. It still is.
Thanks for being here today, Rea. Happy writing!


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