Eve Anthony Hanninen, Editor, Poet

Eve Anthony Hanninen, Editor, Poet

(Editor note: I came to this brilliant lady a few years back-perfectionist oriented, lovely with expression, and an advocate of small press-I have been thankful since. We also have something else in common for different reasons: I was born in the USA but lived 10 years in the prairie life of Alberta during the Vietnam Era).  I do disagree with Eve POD, with the new trend in publishing I think POD is great....if you are good (goood is good).  If you have faith, good is good.  Look to your legacy not tradional publishers, if they come along later that is fine.  Oh course, I'm 65, so I'm pushing it!

Interview with The Lady:

Tell us about yourself — where you are from, education, family roots, some background.

While I’m currently learning to appreciate small-town, prairie life in Saskatchewan, Canada, I spent most of my life growing up and working in coastal Seattle, Washington.  My parents chose Seattle to live in before my dad retired from the U.S. Air Force in the 1960s.  Before that, they lived in Pennsylvania, where many of our relatives still reside, and then were moved to several southern states while dad was still in the service.  My folks’ own parents and grandparents came from different parts of Europe, some fleeing — both before and during World War II — most notably Poland, Germany, and France.
Always being a bit of an intellectual maverick, and perhaps absorbing the ranging behavior of my forebears, I turned towards a non-traditional and often experimental education.  In the early ’70s I volunteered to leave the comforts of a neighborhood grade school to be bussed across town into the newly-formed “middle-school” administration system so I could test their “packets” curriculum, which allowed individual students to work at and complete lessons at their own pace.  I thrived in this setting, so it was the right move for me.  This was also during the late civil-rights movement, and my choice to be bussed into an ethnically diverse school district was also my conscious vote to support desegregation.

Following middle-school years, I attended both a traditional high school and an alternative high, preferring the custom-tailored and college-level courses of the latter.  After graduating, I worked several years in display, retail-buying, and store management, before returning to school to study in an intensive multi-media art/communications course-load at the Art Institute of Seattle.  Much of my education has also been supplemented with community-college coursework, private art and music tutors, volunteer projects, business-career experience, and persistent personal research and application. 

I’m not really surprised to have become a part of today’s publishing world, since I grew up in a household where much of the aura of the publishing industry was brought home, as my mom worked for and later co-directed the University of Washington Press until her retirement.     

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?  And how long have you been writing? 

For me, there’s not much distinction between those two questions.  I knew I wanted to be a writer when I first started telling stories as an adolescent (pre-school), which my mom would write down for me.  She did this for my siblings, too.  We’d draw and color illustrations for these “books” on the backsides of printed paper stock that was tossed out from the UW Press and that mom would staple together for us.  (That was creative recycling before the early days of the current “green” movement.  People did that kind of thing back then out of pure resourcefulness, and not necessarily because it was good for the environment.)  And as soon as I learned how to write short sentences, I started filling in my own picture-book stories.  I think I started writing my first “novel” when I was eight.     

Have you always wanted to be a published writer? 

Absolutely.  None of this claiming “I just write for me” stuff.  Otherwise, who would ever read it?  The point of writing and being read is to entertain or instruct.  Hopefully, both verbs are going on in the same material.  Of course, I write for myself, too.  But not “just.”  I don’t do it because I “must,” either, but because when I write, I “am.”  When I write I am an explorer thrilled to be excavating the depths of my imagination.  What shall I find there this time?  I wonder, each time I descend into the act of creation.  How can I describe what I find so that my readers will understand what I unearth?     

When do you write?  When do you not?

I don’t write when I’m tired.  I very often want to write when I’m wiped out at the end of a long and otherwise productive day (editing, researching, designing, etc.).  My thoughts tend to spiral into non-linear epiphanies then, so it’s a good time to scribble a few bizarre thoughts down, but ultimately, I don’t write my best when I’m so wrung out.  I find I get linguistically lazy;  I cheat myself out of that hike into the Narnia of prolificity. 

So, that means I tend to write early in the day, or in the wee hours if I’m in an insomniac cycle (or am lucky enough to be working night shifts). This also means there are two typical times when I’m inclined to write:

a) When I have a project pending and so schedule the time.

b)  When I channel an audience I deeply desire to connect with (most often this has been family, lovers, friends, and even sometimes strangers whom I wish to reach in ways they haven’t experienced before). 

Do you follow a strict writing schedule, or just write when the spirit hits you? 

Both.  If I’m writing for a project with a deadline, I schedule my personal writing into my editorial schedule.  I also allow for the mood — if a cool idea or a few lines for a poem jump into my head, I often interrupt or reschedule other activities to make sure the words are either on paper or get saved in a digital file before I return to other work.  I usually write, edit, design and paint at home, setting my own hours, so there’s no reason I can’t flex when I want to.  And there are sometimes those moments when all I want to do is creep off into one of those crystal-studded caves of my imagination and not return until I’ve dug up unexpected treasure.  So I do. 

Is being a writer/poet anything like you imagined it would be? 

I’ve been writing since I learned how to form letters, so, yes, it’s how I imagined.  I read about writing and publishing throughout my life and so technically understood what the writing life could/should/would be like.  One thing I did imagine for myself early on, though, was to have been published sooner than I was—  and I imagined myself to be a novelist, not a poet.  I didn’t foresee all the turns throughout my life that would lead me away from writing and back again.  And one day poetry and I fell in love unexpectedly and we eloped.  I still dream of future dalliances with science-fiction novels;  however, I hope poetry will learn to forgive my unfaithfulness.

Have you figured out a way of making money as a writer or poet? 

I’ve made a little money over the years from editing other people’s writing.  I’ve written ad copy now and then.  There are really lots of ways you can find to supplement income if you don’t narrow your focus too much (like by expecting to become a New York Times bestseller);  some writing jobs pay well, others don’t.  Some I don’t pursue, such as writing commercial jingles for TV ads;  I’d rather do other things . . . like write poems and paint custom floor cloths, and become a bestselling science-fiction novelist.  Okay, I’d rather write fiction and poetry instead of writing technical manuals, like most of the rest of you, but because selling either of the former is a bit of a crapshoot, I don’t worry about “hitting it big.”  If it comes, it comes.

Lucy Pond, a well-known astrologer in Portland, Oregon, once predicted in a reading for me that I’d make a lot of money from my writing and art, but that it would happen late in life.  I’m still waiting and it’s getting “late” . . . Refer back to this interview after I strike it rich, okay?  We’ll share a mirthful laugh.    

We all need new sources to help us find publishers, forums, etc. — what online resources help you most as a writer?  What resources do you suggest for beginning writers?

I regularly refer to and use The Chicago Manual of Style while writing and editing.  Many poetry and fiction publishers use CMoS for their style-reference bible.  There’s an online version, too:  http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html

For grammar questions and refreshers, I enjoy checking out Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Writing blog: http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/

Beginning writers can’t go wrong with Grammar’s Girl’s tips, either.  And I’d like to suggest that if you’re just starting out as a writer, get a subscription to Writer’s Digest magazine:  http://www.writersdigest.com/ or buy WD eBooks:  http://ebooks.writersdigest.com/     You could also check out books about writing at your local library.   

Which notable authors have influenced your writing?

The authors most notable to me, for they helped shape me as a writer and poet, are Alexandre Dumas and Rafael Sabatini, who enticed me to love adventure and to entertain;  Doris Lessing, who taught me the value of writing through the scary and ugly to tell my truths;  Jean Burden, who revealed the necessity of making every line of poetry count;  Floyd Skloot, whose flowing voice showed me how to trust the clarity of mine;  Pablo Neruda, who whispered reassurances about writing romantic poems;  Sharon Olds, who showed me the right ways to write confessional poems;  and Octavia Butler and Connie Willis — those quirky, intellectual dames of science fiction and fantasy who often went where no man has gone before — sparked me to look at the definitions of “SF&F” in a new way.  Lastly, I suspect that every author I’ve ever read has influenced my writing, cumulatively.  

What inspires, stimulates, or motivates you to write:  nature, human events, a little wind or vodka, or did I miss something?  This is a being-honest-with-yourself question.  Where/how do you find the most inspiration?

My biggest motivation goes back to my answer about channeling an audience;  when there’s someone I want to say something to (and sometimes can’t, face-to-face, for example), then out of sheer need there comes down from the sky this big, honkin’ tube, also known as a “channel,” which opens up between me and my desired audience and I just start funneling an effluvia of emotional and stylistic communication through it.  (“Effluvia” in the sense of a shocking exhalation, rather than a noxious odor.  But maybe it’s stinky to the recipient now and then.)
But as for what drives me to my subjects or themes, I’d say it’s my lifelong observations of the interaction between human behavior and environment — not just people’s relationships to nature or place, but as integrated characters within their chosen, forced, or accidental settings.  People are emotionally complicated beings, and they are further complicated by their environments.  My writing, and particularly my poetry, nearly always incorporates this juxtaposition.      

What type of stories, poetry, and/or fiction do you like to read, imitate, or write?

This is like 3 x 3 questions here!           

I don’t read many short stories, unless they’re part of a body of work by a favorite author.  I’ve always preferred novels to shorter works, although, ironically, I like reading even shorter fictions:  poetry. 

I read many categories of non-fiction and several genres of fiction, with my favorites of the latter being science fiction and medieval/historical.  I most enjoy confessional (Skloot, Olds) and modern romantic (Neruda) poetry, but I like almost anything that’s both well-written and observant about human nature and/or environment.

Hmmm, do I like to imitate types of poetry or fiction, or their authors?  I don’t think particularly.  Although once, after reading and reveling in the tone of Floyd Skloot’s Approximately Paradise, I was moved to write a poem while traveling that is to this day still one of my own favorite works.  You can read my Oregon Medley in ForPoetry.com’s archives:  http://www.forpoetry.com/januaryfeb_2006.htm  (And it’s also being reprinted this spring, sometime soon, in Karla Linn Merrifield & Friends [mgv2>publishing].)   

As for what sort of poetry I most like to write, the question I answered previously explains it best:  I like to write about the marriages between human behavior and environment.  I also like to write science fiction, because it focuses on and addresses the same combined issues, but with a focus on futuristic aspects.    

If you had to choose among them, what would you say are the two best poems you’ve ever written to date? 

I’ve shared one in the link above, which is arguably my best.  There are two or three others that I might be able narrow to one more favorite, and though they’ve all been accepted for publication during the past year, none have actually been published yet, so I can’t share them.  Another poem that I think is strong, On the Riverboat Casting Shadows Overboard, was published in Cassandra Robison’s Magnolia:  A Florida Journal of Literary and Fine Arts, and is the title poem for a collection I’m putting together, called Casting Shadows:  Poems of Almost.

On the Riverboat Casting Shadows Overboard


She leans over the railing.  Nothing in her hands
but the sticky residue of what slipped through clumsy fingersC
almost-lovers= highly-charged interjections.  But nothing
left of amatory crusades, no hydrotactic epiphanies,
except the fluttering wake as the boat shores north.
The river=s a black hole for her near-silent sobs, devouring
those inaudible gasps in one vast gulp, as though they=re hopeless
frozen stars, gaslight novas and deep space dust.  This is not grief
billowing free, but the years= empty moments carved in bas relief.

What is your opinion on self-publishing as opposed to traditional publishing? 

There’s a difference between an author or poet using Print-on-Demand services from a printing company to publish himself and a publisher using those services in a sub-contracting fashion for printing and distribution purposes. 

When a publisher uses POD features, the costs are similar to paying a printer to produce a limited-run job, sans the immediate out-of-pocket expense (that comes later in the form of smaller-than-typical-industry royalties).  For publishers who are not also small presses (physical printers), and who do not expect large circulation or subscribers, POD can be an attractive route.  The main difference between publisher versus author using such services is that the publisher’s prior duties still include acquisitions standards and editorial processes;  unfortunately for the author bent on self-publishing, these former benefits do not exist.

Writers who use vanity presses (printers who charge for full-run printing services, occasionally in tandem with paid-editorial services — mainly light proofreading) or POD (self-designed or paid design, printed one at a time, per purchase order) get exactly what they pay for, which does not include professional editing expertise.  And any writer who doesn’t think she needs to be edited really isn’t ready to be published.           

Should writers self-publish?  My opinion is no.  As tempting as it is to see your treasured words in print, if you don’t have an editor, if you don’t have a publisher who believes in you and wants to put his name behind you, set your ego aside and keep looking for a publisher who finds the same merit in your work as you do.  It’s far more satisfying when you know that others whom you respect for their knowledge of your craft believe in you, than when you still have to secretly wonder what others really think, even as you proudly wave your self-published book around . . .

Are there exceptions to my opinion?  I suppose there are.  For example, if you are in your twilight years and have never published a book and it’s always been your dream — go ahead and do it yourself.  This is real-life we’re talking about here, after all.  It’s your life.  What’s left of it.  Isn’t it all relative?  Depends on what’s more important to you;  if you feel that you only succeeded if Penguin or Scribner published you, no vanity novel is going to satisfy that  dream.  But if you’re starting to feel like “screw it!  I just want to see my poetry collection in print and hold it in my hands before I go,” then by all means, screw the should or shouldn't.  Who knows — I may do the same thing in another ten years or so. 

My opinions about not self-publishing are just ideals.  I like the gatekeepers of the art worlds.  Not because I am one, but because I believe criteria and standards create better quality.  And I believe the world deserves to see and hear the best writing, art, and music that can be created, rather than be swamped in “pulp.”               

Please list for our readers the publishers, print-on-demand services, or self-publishing companies you use or have used. 

Currently, the only POD company I use for The Centrifugal Eye and Centrifugal Works print editions is Lulu Press (lulu.com).  They produce a quality product and their services are usually first-rate. 

As for myself, I’ve never published my own work, except indirectly in two related projects where guest/acquisition editors selected my poems for inclusion in collected works that I published for TCE.  Admittedly, I was uncomfortable having those poems appear in publications that also had my name as editor attached to them.  

Do you find marketing your works for exposure easy or difficult? 

Marketing oneself is seldom “easy,” for it requires a distancing of emotion and self-perceptions from the realities of the business sides of writing and being published.  I’m pretty good at detaching self from work once I’ve deemed the work “finished,” so the actual process of marketing isn’t emotionally excruciating (like I’ve heard said it is for some others).  But because marketing also requires additional “efforts” to those of the initial creative act, laziness and/or busyness can sometimes interfere with diligent self-marketing.  I suffer a bit from both interferences.     

By what methods or with what sources do you market your works?

I use both traditional and contemporary market listing resources, from publishing directories, such as Poet’s Market (Robert Lee Brewer, ed., Writer’s Digest Books) and L. M. P. (Literary Market Place), to online directories (Duotrope;  NewPages) and the websites of the particular publications I’m interested in writing for and submitting to;  website guidelines and calls for submission offer a wealth of information for increasing your odds of acceptance.  I keep a database of links to websites of journals and book publishers that I’m interested in submitting to and update links periodically.  I recommend that all writers and poets keep some sort of personal-records system for studying publications they’d like to submit to someday. 

Here’s a short parade of market-listing resources to check out:

2014 Poet’s Market (not yet released)

2013 LMP and ILMP on LiteraryMarketPlace.com  http://www.literarymarketplace.com/lmp/us/index_us.asp

Duotrope   https://duotrope.com/

NewPages   http://www.newpages.com/   

Where can we find your works?  Feel free to show links or websites.

Many more of my poems that were once online no longer appear on the Web, but may show up in one of two collections I’m slowly putting together.    

As a writer, what are your peeves about editors?

Ohhhh, I guess I have at least one.  The biggest is probably more about a particular editorial policy or practice, which might or might not come down to a particular editor’s mantle — could be the publisher — and that’s publications that don’t contact contributors before going live (online) or to print.  Especially ones that don’t release unaccepted works that aren’t being used until after the publication has already come out.  I just think that’s the rudest sort of dismissal ever.

As an editor, what are your peeves about writers?

Yeah;  on the other side of the table, it’s also a contact problem, but in a reverse manner — some writers neither know nor seem to care that most editors of popular (therefore, read:  “high-volume work and communications”) publications are inundated with submissions and emails.  Unless they have a good reason (there are a few) for sending multiple submissions, or subs during a closed reading period, potential contributors are adding chores to the ridiculously long queue of contacts to be made. 

Biggest peeve—writers who don’t read and follow each publication’s submissions guidelines when submitting to them.  If guidelines are available, read them!   Never think, “These guidelines don’t apply to me,” unless the editor of those guidelines tells you they don’t.  Guidelines are there to streamline the whole editorial and production process.  For every unintentional (or intentional) bucking of the editor’s or publisher’s preferred process, the workload is often multiplied and magnified.  So if you writers have ever wondered if your writing has been rejected solely for not following some publication’s guidelines, the answer is “Yes, possibly so.”  If you create extra work for an already overworked editorial or production team, your odds of acceptance go down.  And who wants that?              

Any final words of wisdom to share?

Were that I was ever wise.  I did learn something profoundly shaping recently, but I’ve forgotten both it and its lesson already.  Hopefully, I absorbed it subconsciously.  It seems that’s the constant way of life after middle age — and that’s another lesson:  You’ll often have but moments to transfer those mind-changing, lightning-bolt ideas into hardcopy.  If you really want anyone else other than you to benefit from them (and for more than that fleeting period you had), you’ll write down those AH-HAs before they fade, instead of being lazy and lying to yourself that you’ll remember just because a thought was so transforming.       













  1. Eve is an editor par excellence. Supportive to writers in every way including the match of the printed word and the artist's illustration. She wants her journal to be as perfect as it can be and that is why it is. I was so, so happy to read this interview which made me appreciate this lovely lady even more. Let's hope that book appears soonish.

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  3. Janice I approve this comment as editor since your comments are so on target. Not only is she a lovely lady but an extremely bright, caring, lady who works very hard at every project or poem she edits. She is always willing to help or made constructive suggestions.