Q&A With WriteByNight Owner Justine Tal Goldberg
WriteByNight owner Justine Tal Goldberg is an award-winning writer and editor of both fiction and nonfiction. Her short stories have appeared in Anomalous Press, Whiskey Island, Fringe Magazine, and other publications. Her journalistic work has appeared in Austin Monthly, the Texas Observer, and The Review Review, among others. She holds an MFA in creative writing and has provided writing instruction at Vassar College and Emerson College.
Where are you from?
Westchester, New York
Where did you study?
Vassar College undergrad where I earned a B.A. in English with a concentration in Creative Writing, then Emerson College for my MFA in Creative Writing.
How did you get your start as a writer?
While living in Boston, I stumbled across a Craigslist ad seeking writers for a local lifestyle magazine, no pay. Who cared about pay? I would be writing for an audience instead of for my mother and father–who have been very encouraging, by the way. So I applied and got the job and wrote my heart out. That was the beginning of my love affair with freelance journalism.
My fiction writing dates back to my childhood. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t making up stories.
Who are some of your influences?
Oh boy, what a question. Flannery O’Connor, Raymond Carver, Tobias Wolff, Paul Auster, Mary Gaitskill, Mary Shelley (yup, it’s true), Ernest Hemingway, Tim O’Brien, Kevin Brockmeier, and Matthew Lewis, a little known 18th-century novelist whose work I adore. Read The Monk if you’re feeling adventurous.
What is your favorite thing about educating writers at WBN?
Showing them that they’re not alone. Writing is a solitary business but it doesn’t have to be painfully so. It’s incredibly rewarding to lead a writer through the process, from the seed of an idea to a polished manuscript, and witness the tremendous satisfaction that follows.
What is your favorite word and why?
Precipice. Go ahead, give it a try. How much fun is that?
What’s the last movie you saw that was based on a book and how was it?
Jane Eyre. This film actually upset me. When you take one of the strongest female characters in literature and rush her love story so that she appears pathetic, you’ve found an enemy in me.
Any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?
Thinking counts as writing, but only if you make time for the writing too.