I’m very pleased to introduce my readers to a fantastic writer and a serious Social Media soldier fighting for exposure for artists and writers everywhere. Robin Kalinich and I met online before we realized we were both Southwest Writers members. Since then, we’ve gotten to know each other and I can’t be more pleased with my new friendship.

Author/Artist/Social Media Guru: Robin Kalinich

I had a chance to ask Robin Kalinich, author of Cutting Your Losses and Social Media guru for artists and writers alike, a few questions. She talks at length about what she writes, how she writes, and why she promotes other artists/writers all over nearly every Social Media platform available.

      Tell us a little about yourself: as an author, an artist, and as a person.
I took the circuitous path to finding my creativity.  I’ve been a reader since as far back as I can remember, and have written in one form or another for many years – journals, lists, poems – but I never took myself seriously as a creative person. It sounds strange to me now, but I was exceedingly embarrassed to admit to anyone, even those closest to me, that I wanted to write. It made me feel exposed and vulnerable. My then-husband once found a writing notebook of mine in a drawer and I remember feeling physically ill. I was living a different sort of life back then, and these types of creative endeavors just didn’t seem common or practical.  About ten years ago, my life crumbled in upon itself. For various reasons, there was virtually nothing left of the life that I knew and I stood in the center of the wreckage at an important decision point. I made a choice to pick up the important pieces and leave the rest behind and it was this choice, this lesson in flexibility and change, which eventually allowed me to understand and acknowledge my urge to create. You can read more details about that transformation here, in a personal essay called Emerge, You Glorious Creature!, so I won’t go into too much detail here.
In my new incarnation, I am an author and an artist, and I’m not afraid to shout it to the world. It feels invigorating and freeing to be out of the closet. After many years of struggling to understand why I didn’t feel quite comfortable in my own skin, I’ve found my authentic self. It’s a wonderful place to be and I highly recommend it.
      Let’s talk about your short story collection.  I’ll ask you the same question that gets asked of me often: Why are all your stories so dark? And why can’t you write a Happily Ever After?
I’m glad you asked this question because I’ve wondered about that myself.  I’m not sure if I have a definitive answer for you, but I have some thoughts on it. I didn’t start out with the intent to write dark stories, and in fact the first time I heard someone describe my work as ‘dark’, I was honestly surprised. I tend not to put a label on it; it’s just my writing and I suppose the darkness creeps in along the way.
A wise woman recently gave me some feedback on my writing and during that conversation she mentioned that while the world can, indeed, be a dark place, she thought my writing could use an injection of hope. I think she’s right.
Believe it or not, I think my story collection, Cutting Your Losses, does offer hope. It’s slim and subtle, but it’s there. For the record, I do believe in happy endings. My own life is an example of happily-ever-after, but I’ve worked my ass off to get here and I expect there are many jolts and bumps that I’ve yet to encounter along the way.  Life’s just like that.
      How long have you been a writer? What possessed you to start writing?
I remember writing a story which won a contest in sixth grade and I loved the idea of being an author.
I would say I’ve been writing seriously, with the intent to publish, for about two years, maybe a little less. In that time, I’ve published numerous short stories and poems, fictional essays, and editorial interviews in online lit mags. My recent self-publication of a short story collection was a huge personal success for me and I expect to release some materials aimed at helping creative people get organized and use social media very soon.
      What spurs your creative juices flowing?
Life. People. I rode the Central bus here in Albuquerque to and from university and work for years, mostly so I could have more time for reading in my life. Often I became so fascinated with everything happening around me that instead of reading, I would record scraps of conversations in a small notebook. I loved to engage in conversation with people, the more different from me, the better. Just yesterday I had a very cryptic conversation at a hotdog counter with a man who introduced himself as three different people in the course of twenty minutes.  To me, these are the seeds of a story or a character.
      Are there plans to venture into full length novels next? If so, care to share any details?
Yes, I’m currently working on a novel, tentatively titled Spitting Sparks. It’s set in the future and the heroine is a bad-ass supercharged vigilante. I’ll also be participating in NaNoWriMo 2013 and expect a draft of a novel to emerge from that exercise.
      Tell us a little about your current social media platform. You tend to promote everybody but yourself. Why is that?
Once I’d made that important decision to create, I realized right away that I wanted to surround myself with other writers and artists. I wanted to immerse myself in interactions with people like this so that I could fuel my own creative fire. I thought that being around other like-minded people would open up their worlds to me.  I was right.
I love that Albuquerque has such a vibrant creative community and I do try to attend local events such as SouthWest Writers, and host salon-type events in my home, but I quickly realized that there are incredible opportunities for growth and promotion online. As I began talking to people, both artists and writers, it became clear that many creatives have a gap in their ability to effectively promote themselves online. The reasons vary from not understanding the process to not having the time or inclination to devote to it. Most of us have day jobs and it’s difficult enough finding time to write, let alone time for social media.
I believe that self-promoting is part and parcel of today’s creative market and I work diligently to help others achieve success in this area. I publish a newsletter which includes resources to assist in this area and maintain a website and a Feature program for both artists and writers. These activities are intended to promote their works, as well as serve as a guide and example so others can learn and begin to promote themselves.
I do promote my own work sometimes, but I find that self-promotion need to be done subtly or it can come off as crass and annoying. I believe in reciprocity, and while none of the creative people I feature and promote are obligated to promote Ink & Alchemy or More Ink, I secretly hope they shout my name from the rooftops.  (Hint! Hint!)
      Everyone who writes likes to know what other writers read, so tell me, what’s been on your book reading list lately?
My reading is usually of two types – reading for pure pleasure and reading as research for my writing. I like to expose myself to different genres in an effort to widen my interests and understand the current market.  I few books I’ve read and enjoyed recently:
·         Blue Blazes, by Chuck Wendig
·         The Outlaw Album, Daniel Woodrell
·         Donnybrook, Frank Bill
      Anything else you’d care to share that we didn’t discuss?
I’d like to extend an open invitation to your readers. Please join me in my quest for world dominance via social media and creative euphoria.  
I’d also like to thank you, Rene, for the opportunity to talk about my work. It’s very kind of you. I’m grateful for those in the creative community, both locally and in cyberspace, who give freely of their time and talents to enable and encourage others. You are one of those people.  Thank you for all that you do!