• Q&A With WriteByNight Coach Darcie Abbene


    Darcie Abbene is a writer, editor, and teacher in Vermont. She serves as the managing and nonfiction editor at the Green Mountains Review, an editorial project manager at School Library Journal, and as part time faculty at Northern Vermont University. Previously, she taught high school English for several years and has worked as a writing coach for the Young Writer’s Project. Her writing has appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, Parhelion Literature, and Whitefish Review, and is forth coming in Teachers and Writers Magazine. Darcie writes book reviews for Kirkus Reviews, Split Rock Review, and Necessary Fiction. She holds a Master’s of Fine Arts in fiction and nonfiction writing from the Stonecoast MFA program, a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Vermont, and a BA in English Literature from Saint Michael’s College.


    Where are you from?

    I grew up in northern Vermont, adventured around the Rocky Mountains for a while, came back to New England, and eventually back to northern Vermont. You could say it has a pretty good grip on me.


    Where did you study?

    I studied both nonfiction and fiction writing at the Stonecoast MFA program with Rick Bass, Cara Hoffman, Breena Clarke, Susan Conley, Aarong Hamburger, and a host of other fabulous faculty. I also have a Master’s of Education degree from the University of Vermont, and a BA in English Literature with a minor in Environmental Studies from Saint Michael’s College.


    How did you get your start as a writer?

    When I was in high school, words captivated me—the power they held, the images they could conjure, the worlds they imagined, the feelings they inspired. That sounds like I’m talking about poetry, but it has always been prose for me. Things got serious when I managed to get into the Breadloaf Young Writer’s Conference, scheduled the same spring weekend as the prom. The decision was easy. Years later, after a few years teaching high school and scribbling away when I could, I asked a family friend and writer for advice on how to break into a writing career. He recommended building a writing portfolio by blogging. That led to a regular column in the local newspaper and a few features which led to a bigger statewide newspaper and then a quarterly magazine. Little by little things began to build. I started writing book reviews, wrote a bad novel, wrote a decent one, and eventually felt it was the right time to go deep and entered an MFA program. Now, I juggle my own writing projects, editorial work, and teaching.


    Who are some of your influences?

    Annie Dillard, Terry Tempest Williams, Annie Proulx, Doug Peacock, Ed Abbey, Toni Morrison, Richard Russo, Rick Bass, George Saunders, Tim O’Brien, Howard Frank Mosher, Gary Snyder.


    What is the hardest part of writing for you?

    Focusing on proofreading. I get distracted by revision ideas and then all of a sudden I’m making big changes to the text instead of polishing things up.


    What’s the last book you read and what did you think of it?

    Carmen Maria Machado’s In the Dream House. It’s not exactly the last book I read, but it’s one in the last six months that has really stuck with me. Her style—a mosaic of lyrical vignettes using the house as a construct —is a beautiful and honest and cutting exploration of a toxic relationship. I’ve recommended it to everyone I know since finishing it.


    Any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?

    Keep going.


    Interested in working with Darcie? Request a free consult now