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Miranda Hill takes the Magic 8

The author of Sleeping Funny on witnessing miracles, work socks and why her dream life is set in Newfoundland.

What is the Magic 8?


1. Lynn Coady asks, “What are the common themes (or settings, symbols, etc.) you always seem to come back to in your fiction (e.g. bears, wrestling and Vienna in John Irving novels)? Where do those elements come from and what makes them so tenacious?”  
In my stories, there are lots of miracles, which the characters witness, but don’t necessarily participate in. This I attribute to being sent to Catholic school, even though my family wasn't Catholic. I was the little girl in the back pew, watching the other kids drink the wine that had been turned into blood. 

2. Charlotte Gill asks, “Describe your alter ego in personality and appearance.”
I think my alter ego is the one most people see: fairly outgoing, laughing a lot, relatively stylish and good at a party. The other me, perhaps the real one, is the person who wears a toque, big sweater and work socks at her desk and is staring out the window and typing, reveling in the silence of an empty house. But the truth is that I could never just be one of these people. I need both of them to thrive.

3. Gail Bowen asks, “If you could live in the world created by another writer, what fictional world would you choose, and why?”
Michael Crummey’s Paradise Deep, Newfoundland from Galore, because of the way the magic lives inside the everyday. A beautiful concept and a stunning book.

4. Lynn Coady asks, “Why do you write fiction? That is, why is it your chosen genre? What is it about the genre that you think makes it distinctive and/or important, vital?”
In university, I studied acting. I loved it and I had some knack for it, but I realized that what I really wanted was to try on the lives of all the characters. So I became a writer. In fiction, I get to play all the parts.

5. Kate Pullinger asks, “Is there anything in your own life that you would never write about?” 
There are things I would never write overtly about. But I think there are nods to all aspects of my life in my stories—whether I want them there or not.

6. Greg Hollingshead asks, “How much—and what—do you think about the massive upheavals in the world of writing and publishing caused first by 9/11 and then by the digital revolution?”
I’m a publishing nerd: I've always wanted to know what’s going on in the industry—even before I entered it. But I try to keep what I know or fear or predict separate from my stories, free of practical distractions—like how or if anyone will ever read what I write.

7. Vincent Lam asks, “For you, what does the 'Ultimate Literary Event' look like?”
I’ve attended some really magical events as an audience member, in which the writers reading and the audience listening seemed to be weaving an experience between them. You don’t forget those moments, because they are so rare. As a writer, reading, I hope to be able to hold my end of that thread.

8. Andrew Pyper asks, “Do you ever worry that the whole practice of writing and reading, while enjoyable and perhaps gratifying, simply doesn't matter very much?”
Sometimes, but I don’t dwell on it. I try to tell myself that going into a room and making up stories is a perfectly acceptable thing for a grown-up to do.


Miranda Hill is the author of Sleeping Funny. Her writing has been published by The New Quarterly, The Dalhousie Review and The Fiddlehead. She received her BA in drama from Queen's University, and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. Hill is the founder and executive director of Project Bookmark Canada. She lives in Hamilton with her husband Lawrence Hill. 

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set count down final date: 11/01/2014
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