The following was published in the June 2011 issue of Suspense Magazine. I enjoyed the interview. Thanks to Shannon Raab for the great questions!
Being best known for his gardening articles hasn't stopped Weldon Burge from trying all sorts of things, literary-wise. He does freelance writing for many nonfiction and fiction publications. His nonfiction has appeared in Organic Gardening, Horticulture, Fine Gardening, Gardening How-To, Birds & Blooms, Flower & Garden, National Gardening, Delaware Today, Country Discoveries, Grit, Back Home, The Almanac for Farmers & City Folk, and other national magazines.
His fiction has been showcased in Suspense Magazine, Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine, Grim Graffitti, The Edge: Tales of Suspense, Alienskin, Glassfire Magazine, and Out & About (a Delaware magazine). His stories have also been adapted for podcast presentation by Drabblecast, and have been accepted for the anthologies Don't Tread on Me: Tales of Revenge and Retribution, Pellucid Lunacy: An Anthology of Psychological Horror, Ghosts and Demons, and Something at the Door: A Haunted Anthology. Weldon had several projects brewing, including a police procedural novel and an illustrated chidlren's book. He is also one of Suspense Magazine's book reviewers.
Currently, Weldon is a full-time editor for Independent School Management, which provides a wide range of products and services for private schools. He's been the editor of Ideas & Perspectives, the company's flagship publication, since 1993. He created, posted, and maintained ISM's initial Web site starting in 1995, and is still involved in its development and content. He is also highly involved in the production of the company's other publications.
This month, we showcase our own Weldon Burge. He is always ready to do whatever we ask, and we are so honored to bring him to the forefront in Suspense Magazine's Contributor's Corner for the month of June. Enjoy!
Suspense Magazine (S. Mag.): Fiction, nonfiction, blogging, full-time job, and a family. How do you juggle it all?
Weldon Burge (WB): I do most of my writing around 2 a.m. on Saturdays.
Just kidding—but not entirely. I write wherever and whenever I can find the time: during my lunch break at work, in the evenings after dinner, or even at 2 a.m. on Saturdays. I live a life of deadlines (I’m a full-time editor), and I learned long ago how to prioritize my time. Family comes first. Everything else shakes out from there. So, I set deadlines for myself, but often find that I certainly can’t find time for everything—and that’s when prioritizing comes into play. The projects I deem the most important are the ones that get done. I have an extensive, ever-growing to-do list.
S.MAG.: You’re active in your local writing group, what is the biggest personal benefit of that association?
WB: The writing life is a lonely one. I welcome any opportunity to collaborate with other dedicated writers, both for the camaraderie and for the learning experience—and those are the biggest personal benefits I get from the writing group. My group, the Written Remains Guild, has been instrumental in helping me gain focus on my work from other member perspectives, as I in turn help them by providing my thoughts on their work. The critique sessions are illuminating as well as fun.
Being with the group has also given me the opportunity to perform my first public reading of my own work, alongside four fellow members, at a public library. What I assumed would be a terrifying event was actually fun, and gave me a chance to talk with the audience members afterward. It was a rewarding event, one I look forward to doing again in the future.
S.MAG.: What’s left on your creative “bucket list”?
WB: Novels! I’ve written many short stories and have seen them published in anthologies. I love anthologies, by the way. And I write a lot of nonfiction, particularly gardening articles. But my dream is to publish as many suspense novels as possible before I kick that bucket. I’m currently writing a police procedural set in my home state of Delaware. It involves voodoo, drug running, and freaky violence. I’m having great fun writing it, and I hope it eventually becomes a series. Literary agents out there, please take note!
S.MAG.: What did you want to be when you “grew up”?
WB: A chemist, believe it or not … well, up until I actually took a chemistry class in high school. Ugh! When I was around 10 years old, I loved the idea of taking different chemicals and combining them to create a wholly different product. There’s something magical about that. When I began writing short fiction in high school, I found out that it was much like chemistry, taking raw and often disparate ideas and turning them into a story. Not much difference between good storytelling and alchemy, is there?
S.MAG.: If you could write a message to future aspiring authors and place it in a time capsule for them to read years from now, what would you write?
WB: START NOW!
My only regret is that I didn’t take my writing career more seriously earlier in my life. My advice to aspiring writers is simply don’t put things off. Just do it, whatever it takes. Pay your dues. Churn out writing and market it. Always keep your work on the market. You get a rejection, fix the manuscript if you must, and send it out again. I’ve always believed that the key to successful freelance writing (aside from talent, of course) is momentum and persistence. You just keep at it, evolve as a writer, and success will be your reward.
S. MAG.: Weldon Burge, always at the ready with great advice and an honest opinion of a book he's just read. What more can you ask for! Suspense Magazine is proud to have him on our team. Thanks, Weldon. Keep up the great work. If you'd like to see more of what this very talented man is all about, check out his Web site at www.weldonburge.com.