Name? India LaPlace
Age? (Feel free to ignore this question completely):: I’ve been excited to be in my 30s since I was about 12 years old and I just turned 28 in March of this year so I’m getting close!
Location and occupation?:: I work full time as a legal assistant for a small law firm in Salt Lake City, Utah. As you know, I’m also the Associate Editor for Horror Sleaze Trash. I live about 20 minutes north of Salt Lake City with my daughter.
How long have you been writing? Do you play an instrument as well?:: I’ve been writing since before I can remember, probably. I remember writing little books with really bad illustrations and stapling them together to give to my grandparents and parents when I was in 1st grade. I was in 5th grade when my dad yelled at me and told me to stop “writing silly stories” because it wasn’t a practical thing to do with my time, so I just got sneakier about writing in notebooks or saving things in hidden folders on the family computer so he didn’t know I was still writing. I do not play an instrument, however. I used to play the piano when I was a kid, but when I turned 14, I decided boys were more fun to play with and stopped going to my lessons.
Do you have a specific writing style? Hobbies?:: I don’t know if I have a specific style. I guess I like confessional and memoir-type writing. I mostly write poetry or short stories/essays about things I’ve been through and experienced. Family and childhood trauma. I used to write more fiction, but I have a harder time connecting with that genre as a writer now. I like my writing to feel open and honest. I want to talk about things that other people would rather sugarcoat or that other people don’t feel like they’re allowed to have certain feelings towards or about.
Do you write full-time?:: I do not, though I technically do write and edit legal documents in my line of work so sort of?
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer?:: Gaining the courage to start sharing my work.
What is your greatest challenge as a writer?:: Usually it’s just staying consistent and making time to prioritize my writing. I struggle with depression and, especially when I get low, I really struggle to give time to my writing.
What projects of yours have been recently published? Books or Magazines?:: I had a chapbook called ‘Sad Discoveries’ published last year. This year I had some poetry included in ‘Horror Sleaze Trash: Poems,’ which you can purchase on Amazon.
What are you currently working on and what inspired this work?:: I am currently working on a collection called ‘Functional: A Collection of Writing About Your Average American Family.’ It is a collection of poetry and writing about my dysfunctional childhood/family and upbringing and, as you might have guessed, is inspired by my lovely family.
Where can we find your work?:: My work is on Horror Sleaze Trash’s website. I also have a poem published on Silent Motorist Media’s website and will be included in John D. Robinson’s upcoming poetry card series.
How do you react to rejections?:: I don’t, really, because I tend not to expect to have my work accepted in the first place.
How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication?:: I’m thrilled! Not even because it (hopefully) means that the piece was well received, but (again, hopefully) because it means that there was something in my writing that another person connected with and that they see other people connecting with as well.
What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer?:: I don’t think any writer is sane.
What is your favorite book?:: ‘A Clockwork Orange’ by Anthony Burgess. A couple of my favorites growing up were ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘The Beautiful and the Damned’ by Fitzgerald. I loved ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’ by Betty Smith as well. I read a lot more fiction when I was younger too and have stayed a huge fan of ‘Sabriel’ by Garth Nix and ‘A Great and Terrible Beauty’ by Libba Bray. There’s also a picture book by a man called Jon Muth, which I guess was based on a story by Leo Tolstoy, called ‘The Three Questions’ that is so dear to my heart. I’ve been reading it to my daughter since she was little and I cry every time that I read it.
Who is your favorite author?:: I don’t think I have a favorite author. There is too much variety, but F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway have always been up there. I read a lot of autobiographies by comedians and poetry as well, but it’s hard to say specifically who my favorite is. Sometimes that just depends on where I’m at in life.
If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why?:: Beetlejuice. He was my number one childhood crush. Or maybe Kit-Kat from the movie ‘About Time’ or Steve Zissou from ‘The Life Aquatic’. I just have a deep love in my heart for imperfect characters who are sort of “off”. They resonate with me.
What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer?:: Oh, probably more depression or exacerbating their own mental illness.
What makes you laugh?:: Everything.
What makes you cry?:: Everything.
What is your preferred drink while you write?:: Well, I’m always drinking water, but I love red wine and tequila as well.
Beach or Mountains?:: If I had to choose, I’d pick the mountains because I grew up and still live in a small town right by the mountains. But I love both very much.
Cats or Dogs?:: Probably dogs, but to be clear, although I love animals, I’m not really a pet person.
The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?:: There are so many classic rock bands that I like so much better than either of these. They both have songs that I enjoy, but I’m not super into either.
Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra?:: I love both, but Frank Sinatra, although I’d pick Bobby Darin over Sinatra most days.
Shakespeare or Bukowski?:: Bukowski, definitely.
Please provide as much or as little of the following information as you’d like. We want to hear
about your country, please. Any dangerous wild animals or fish? Why would people like to visit
your country?:: Well, I live in America and I don’t know about dangerous wild animals or fish, but this country is really big so there’s a lot to visit and a lot of very beautiful places that are very different. If you’re talking about my (current) state in particular, Utah has some gorgeous National and State Parks. The deserts down south are beautiful and the perfect place to get lost in, especially if you’re looking for yourself.
That Little Voice
“I will surround myself
With positive people
So that I can learn how to exist
But I’m missing something
In my genetic makeup
That allows me to exist that way.
So I think,
“I will surround myself
With people who are more sick than I am
So I will be inspired
To be the most positive part
But that only works
Until their struggle
Begins to pull mine into focus
I can’t face myself in the mirror
And either way,
I find myself left
Lying on the carpet
Of a dark room I can’t seem to leave
With half my heart whispering how strong I am,
And the other half drilling into my head
That this is the only way I can ever be.
And I don’t think that dark little voice is right,
But so far,
It has never been wrong.
“I think I need to quit my job,”
I tell my father.
He doesn’t look up from the too-loud TV
blaring Fox News to ask,
and it comes out shaky,
the way it always does when
I’m trying not to
“I’m so depressed,”
“I’ve never felt like this before, Dad.”
He glances at me.
“When did you get so sad?”
“You used to be a happy child.”
“You must be thinking of my sister,”
He knows which sister I mean
because there’s only one of us
that didn’t appear to battle her mind as a child.
And even that is a lie.
She battled demons too,
just different demons than I did.
“I’m not sad,”
I hear myself say.
I’ve heard myself say these words too many times.
“I have depression.
You taught me that.”
He took me to get on pills when I was
And I think he thought those would fix me.
I think he thought
he’d be done dealing with this
and I’d be married off
with 3 kids
and a testimony by now.
I never could have been a house wife.
I always knew that,
so of course I had to try and fail.
That’s my pattern;
I come to a fork in the road with two signs.
Left points to “the hard way”
Right points to “good, easy decisions.”
I’ve only ever known how to go left,
If only for the sake of being different.
I’ve only ever known how to make things hard on myself,
If only for the sake of art and comedy.
“Back in my day,” my dad says,
“If you could do a job well,
you do it.
You work your way up.
You work hard.
And then you retire.
You don’t jump from job
the way you do.”
I purse my lips.
“Dad, I can’t do any job well,”
he shrugs and turns back
to the television channel
that probably pushed me into being more liberal than I ought to be.
Teenage rebellion and all that.
“I hope you get this figured out one day,”
he mumbles as I leave the room.
As if I like feeling this way.
As if I like worrying how I’m going to get by.
As if I like my daughter seeing me struggle
to get out of bed for days at a time
or feeling compelled to take my hand
while I sob
and she whispers,
“It’s going to be okay, Mama.
Life isn’t so bad.”