INTERVIEW: KEVIN SAMPSELL
Your micropress, Future Tense, is one of the longest-running presses of its kind, and you've ran the Small Press Room at Powell’s Bookstore in Portland for many years now. As a writer, why do you think it is important to read, publish and help promote the work of other writers?
Writers can't live in a vacuum. It's important to make connections with writers and readers because it encourages everyone to create and to foster creation. Creation turns into communication and the ability to better understand why life is worth living.
Your writing has a strong autobiographical bend to it. Where do you think the line between fiction and memory exists in your work?
It's a fun kind of back and forth between the two. In my non-fiction I can be honest, but in my fiction I can sometimes be brutally honest. Or something like that. I think the role of memory is vital to any writer, even if you never write non-fiction. Your memory is the trigger to your stories.
What is the most important thing a writer just getting started needs to know?
A: First, worry about writing and do what you think feels best or works best for you. Don't worry about publishing right off the bat. Maybe even give yourself a time period to solely write. Share your writing with friends or even go out to some open mics or things like that. You don't need to be an expert to write about things. Sometimes even a naive or unsure approach can lead to great things. Read a lot and let others inspire you. Don't be one of those fools who says they don't read because they want to avoid being influenced.
KEVIN SAMPSELL is an editor (Portland Noir), author (A Common Pornography), small press publisher (Future Tense Books), and bookstore employee (Powell's Books) in Portland, Oregon.