Q&A with IWR’s 500th Participant

Q&A with IWR’s 500th Participant

We are proud to have recently signed up our 500th participant since we began in 2014! Read our Q&A with our 500th participant Ghislaine Genevieve Patthey below.

There are still some spaces available to attend the Iceland Writers Retreat. Click here to sign up.

How did you find out about Iceland Writers Retreat originally? 

I was feeling frustrated as a writer and wanted to find a course or a conference as a treat to myself. It needed to fit my schedule and feel right. I searched a few online writing blogs for recommendations and came across IWR on one. The timing was perfect, and it felt right. I can’t remember which blog it was, sorry.

Have you ever participated in a similar kind of retreat? If yes, how did the experience benefit your writing? 

I have participated in a couple of writing conferences and found them helpful, but have not yet attended a writing retreat. I have experienced a couple of retreats in my role as an educational researcher and educator, and found them inspiring, a way to recharge the batteries. I think a writing retreat could do the same for me.

What are you most looking forward to about the Retreat?

I’m hoping for inspiration, enough for me to feel energized. I feel that my style and my interests as a writer do not serve me well in the USA and even less in Los Angeles, where I live, but that I just have to deal with it. I’ve also gotten stuck with one story, and would like a chance to talk through some of the issues with it, and some ideas I have about where to go with it. I’m hoping an international conference may include different approaches to stories and story structure.

What and/or who do you find inspiring?

Stories that touch me are inspiring, but I am a very ecumenical reader, and I also appreciate playfulness and some experimentation (I have to get it, and I don’t always). I’ve recently re-read three of Octavia Butler’s books, and found myself so impressed with her ruthlessness. I think that’s one of my failings as a writer, or maybe a limitation: It’s hard for me to write ‘mean’, to write characters that are both complex and convincingly horrible if not evil. The emotions that wreck the lives of her characters are familiar and completely believable, and at the same time malevolent in a way that scares me, and I am just awe-struck by her ability to write characters like that.

Of course, Butler is awesome in many other ways.

I’ve been inspired by many writers of speculative fiction, like William Gibson, Frank Herbert, Margaret Atwood, Ursula Le Guin, Suzanne Collins … and I am Trekkie for life.

How has writing influenced your life? 

For me reading stories is where it starts. I read all the time, in different genres, sometimes in different languages, and I’m often in storytelling mode as a result. As a slow writer, and one busy with other commitments, I frequently don’t get to write. I know I’m never going to stop writing, but my mind is always way ahead, so in a sense writing has taught me patience, temperance, perseverance, endurance. I hope that makes sense.

What do you find to be your biggest challenge in your writing life? 

Prioritizing it over all my other duties and obligations. Making time for it and then sticking to it as the priority, regardless of all the other fires that have to be put out.

Any final comments you’d like to share with our followers? 

I’m looking forward to a great experience. I’m a little worried that I’ll be the only older person around, but if so, well, I’ll just have to deal with it.


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