Featured Member Interview- Julaina Kleist-Corwin

Julaina Kleist-Corwin

Julaina Kleist-Corwin

Written by Catharine Bramkamp

WNBA member Julaina Kleist-Corwin is an active teacher and writer. In the last few years she has combined the two with the publication of the Las Positas College literary anthology: Julaina contributed to the last four anthologies and encourages her own students at the college to also submit their work.

 “Each year the college offers a one unit class focusing on the process of publishing. The literary anthology is the final product. Submissions include artwork, fiction, essays, and poetry and it is open to the public. This year, the anthology staff received 400 entries and the teaching staff selected 129. The anthology does not announce the theme until the unveiling. The collection launched in May 2015 is titled Impressions.

Anthology Winners“I encouraged my writing class members to participate so they could see their work in print. This year seven members in my class had their entries published. One of those seven was awarded first place.”

You coached your students to submit, and seven won a place in the collection.  How did you coach them?

 “My writing class through the City of Dublin continues through the year in eight-class series. I present new writing information in every class and give homework that includes what new techniques I have taught. During the last third of my class time every week, I encourage students to read their stories or essays for feedback from other members and me. Anyone, including me, who knows of calls for submissions and contests, share the sites and about a third of the members enter their work.”

She has a few hints on how to submit to a collection or anthology, although there is no magic method. “Since I have published an anthology, Written Across the Genres, with stories, essays, and poems written by writers, I know the main concern is for the writer to follow the guidelines. Word count should not be one word over what is stated for the maximum to be accepted. Check the format requirements: font size, double spaced, digital only or print, and check spelling, grammar, punctuation, plot and character arcs. Make the submission as flawless as possible.”

Julaina’s impression of Impressions:

“In LPC’s Impressions, the color artwork and photos equaled a third of the book while prose and poetry each had a third. I liked the color visuals although they made the anthology more expensive to print. Fortunately, the sponsors and other donations covered the extra cost this year.”

Her favorite piece in this year’s anthology, written by fellow CWC member (Tri-Valley Branch) Patricia Boyle is  “Pathfinder,” that won the Honorable Mention Prose. Set in the future, it centers on a man who attends his wife’s funeral, is manipulated by his rich mother-in-law, yet yearns to pursue his magic.

Julaina’s short story, “Waiting,” also won an Honorable Mention. Her story, written in the first person, is about a woman in San Francisco who misses her brother who lives in Connecticut. “They haven’t seen each other or had any contact since he was five and she was seven, due to their parents’ divorce. The father raised her brother and their mother raised her. Some years have passed, her mother dies, and the woman receives a surprise package and letter from her brother.”

Julaina explained how she is now able to devote her time to writing and teaching creative writing classes with such good success.

“After twenty-five years of teaching elementary grades, high school, and county special education classes, I gave up the five days a week routine and many hours of planning and correcting papers. Now, I am a part-time field supervisor for teachers working toward their teaching credentials. My schedule is flexible so I have more time to write fiction and to teach creative writing classes for adults twice a week.

I have won seven awards in short story contests, and editors of several anthologies published my short stories and essays. You can find “Enough Time for Christmas” and “The Crumpled Card” in Harlequin’s 2012 and 2013 Christmas anthologies. “Fried Chicken Talks” is published in the 2013 California Writers Club Literary Review. The Las Positas College 2012 Anthology published “His Seeds” and the 2013 edition included my “Stepping Stones.” The 2014 edition published “George W. Did It.” I’ve had short stories accepted annually in the City of Oakland Anthologies since 2006.

Visit her blog: http://timetowritenow.com

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