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An Interview with Elizabeth Motes


Elizabeth Motes is a fiction writer from Dallas currently living in Flagstaff, Arizona. She’s previously been published in the Querencia Press Winter 2023 anthology for her stories “Perfect Memory” and “When a Door Closes.” “When a Door Closes” has also appeared in the Venus Rising anthology. Her stories have otherwise appeared in the Windward Review, the Trinity Review, and the Outrageous Fortune magazine. She currently works as the fiction editor for Thin Air magazine.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

My novel, Revived, centers a character brought back to life — an idea that came to me on a walk to class where I just happened to be considering reincarnation as a concept, for whatever reason. Suddenly I realized that it could make a good premise for a story. But the real moment I was inspired was when I noticed that the theme of time kept appearing in my works, and that I enjoyed it the most when that theme took the form of tragedy. I’m really drawn to circular stories — stories where the characters’ fates are determined from the beginning, and there was never really a way out. Giving myself permission to write a story ending in tragedy kept me moving forward with the novel after I’d previously hit a block.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

My sophomore year English teacher, Mr. Hagood, was the first person who really inspired me to write. His class both made me excited to write and grew my confidence in my own abilities. He had a reputation for being tough but fair, so his praise meant everything to me.

Otherwise: growing up, the Pendragon series by D.J. MacHale got me into reading, and without it, I’m not sure I would be a writer today. Occasionally I still see elements of the series inspire my own work, which I hope would make middle-school-me very happy.

Where is your favorite place to write?

To me, there’s nothing better than writing outside at a coffee shop on a seventy-degree day — and more specific to my location, seeing the mountains in the background. Otherwise, I like writing at my desk — with the window open, music playing, and using my keyboard that makes very satisfying clicking sounds.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I write while drinking my morning coffee. On busy days, I limit my writing sessions to the end of my drink — though I’ll often heat up my coffee beforehand to give myself more time. On less busy days, a good writing session will go on until I realize I should probably change from my pajamas.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

My perfect reader is a close reader. I put a lot of time and thought into the details of my works, so my perfect reader is one who appreciates diving into a piece of media and finding all that it has to offer. I hope my novel sticks with readers for a long time, and that they find it rewarding to come back to again and again. Otherwise, I hope my works evoke some sort of emotional catharsis. For me, writing fiction is a way of depicting real emotions in fake situations. If a reader is completely indifferent to my works, I’ll feel like I’ve done something wrong.

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