aidianarandolphSP: How long have you been writing? How did you get started writing?

DR: I’ve been writing since childhood. I was always an avid reader and
started writing stories around age 10. I began writing poetry during my
sophomore year at Northland College in Ashland after moving out of my small
dorm room and into a spacious apartment. Poems seemed to linger in the air
there, ready to be plucked.

SP: How did your book come about?

DR: In the Heart of the Forest, is a collection of poems written
over the course of several years. I was planning an exhibit of my paintings
titled, “In the Heart of the Forest” in 1999 at the Duluth Art Institute
and decided to use the same title for the collection of poems which would be
published around the same time.

SP: What has writing taught you?

DR: Writing is a journey into the unknown. I always discover something new
about myself, and the world, when I write.

SP: What can you share about your writing habits?

DR: First, I write most often in my home, in my painting studio. But when I
travel I bring along a notebook and then I write in waiting rooms, or when
by a lake or river. Anywhere! I write my non-fiction articles on the
computer, but for poetry, I prefer to write long hand in notebooks or on
loose leaf lined paper that I keep in a 3 ring binder. I keep all my rough
drafts because, later, I like to see the process when I have a poem
completed. It’s like seeing the brush strokes of a painting.

Second, I write in afternoons, after my household/yard chores are done
and I
don’t have anything distracting on my mind.

Third, I write several days per week, but in winter, I write more often
because in spring and fall I teach art classes. In the winter I have more
time to focus
on writing projects when I am home more often.

SP: Do you write in a journal?

DR: YES! I’ve been keeping journals since I was a teenager. I journal
more regularly from September through May. In Summer I am busy tending to
other tasks.

SP: Has any single book inspired you to write?

DR: I love Ray Bradbury’s, Zen in the Art of Writing. It may be out of
print and I
don’t own my own copy. I’ve borrowed it twice from a friend.

SP: What are your writing aspirations?

DR: I love to write all forms- short stories, plays, poetry. And I have
several pages of a novel started. Goal setting is important for writers and
I need to set some deadlines for myself to accomplish all my dreams!

SP: Whom do you envision as your audience?

DR: Everyone! I love to write children’s stories and short fiction/plays
for adults.

SP: Are you writing to anyone in particular as you create?

DR: I write my children’s stories and young adult novel-in-progress with my
14-year-old daughter in mind because I often read my work to her. I write
other pieces with friends in mind. I share all my writing, including stories
for children, with two writer friends. We meet regularly to critique and
encourage each other with our writing. It’s important that I get feedback,
to be sure my work communicates clearly to others.

SP: Do you travel to gain inspiration or are you a home-body?

DR: I am a home-body! I am inspired mostly when it is 30 degrees below
zero, in the silence of winter. But when do I travel, I am also inspired.

SP: Do local characters play a part in your writing?

DR: Wildlife from the Chequamegon National Forest near my home often appear
in my poems.

SP: What do you think of the NY Times Best Seller List?

DR: It’s always fun to look at a bookstore to see what the NY Times Best
Seller List is. But there are lots of other good books out there. I like
to roam the aisles of libraries or bookstores to discover something myself.
No, I’m not reading a current NYT list book now.

SP: What contemporary book are you currently reading?

DR: I’m reading the book Jinxed by Carole Higgins Clark. I love
mysteries. As far as fiction goes, I’m reading The Rest of Us by Jacquelyn
Mitchard. In the non-fiction department I’m reading Ancient Moves by Franco

SP: Name an author you admire.

DR: I admire Ray Bradbury because his writing puts me in the mindset of
wondering. He always stretches my imagination with his vivid writing.

SP: What do you do in your spare time? Hobbies?

DR: Besides being very involved with family and community activities and my
life as a writer and painter (which is lots of fun), I love to cross
country ski, snowshoe, hike, walk my dog, garden, sew, bake, try new
recipes and crochet.