Shannon Connor Winward

Apotheosis, poetry, Issue 17, December 1, 2011

June 13th, 1977

When did you start writing? In the womb, I think, but I had trouble keeping track of pens, so I used to scratch story notes with my fetal finger nails on whatever was handy:  Kidneys. Heart. That kind of thing.

When and what and where did you first get published? I was first published at age 10 in Creative Kids Magazine, with a poem about toys and war. I took a hiatus, then began publishing again at 18 in a variety of 90's poetry zines and broadsides that you'd be hard-pressed to find today. Seriously--if anyone could find them for me, I'd be most grateful.

What themes do you like to write about? Fantasy, dreams and spirituality lace almost everything I write--I'm fascinated with themes of life and death and rebirth; transcendence. I've also been known to write about love and feelings, coffee and cigarettes and, you know--stuff.

What books and/or stories have most resonated with you as an author? In my blog I just elected The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley as my favorite book because it's the only one I've read more than twice, but I've read and resonated with more fiction than I can possibly list. Neil Gaiman's American Gods, Juliet Marillier's Sevenwaters series, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold are the first titles to come to mind, but my influences are numerous and varied.

I suppose I should also make a shout out to Stephen King (The Stand is one of my first favorites). He's the reason I turned to writing in the first place, as a weird, bespectacled little kid with too few friends and too much time on her hands. 

Why? How do these stories and their characters find expression in your work? I suppose I am especially drawn to stories where magic and otherworlds are a given. My favorite characters tend to struggle with more than mundane concerns. It doesn't have to be a global struggle, as in The Stand or American Gods; Alice Sebold's novel is about a spirit coming to terms with her all-too-short life. It recognizes that the ties of love between people go on even beyond death. It's a small-scale story, but universal. I believe that the next world is as real and relevant as this one. I think each life has meaning, that suffering has a purpose and what is precious about human beings does not crumble into dust when the body dies. I'd like to think my writing echoes the ideas explored in my favorite stories, by my favorite authors. I'd like to think my stories add to the conversation.

Shannon Connor Winward is an American author of literary and speculative writing. Her stories have been published or are forthcoming in Psuedopod: Artemis Rising, Gargoyle, Stupefying Stories, Scigentasy, Flash Fiction Online and PANK, as well as in genre anthologies on both sides of the Atlantic. Her poetry appears widely in such venues as Pedestal Magazine, Strange Horizons, Fairy Tale Magazine, Literary Mama, Hip Mama, Star*Line, Illumen, Ideomancer, and Dreamstreets, and in the SFPA’s 2012 Anthology of Rhysling Award nominees.

A Semi-Finalist in the Writers of the Future Contest, Shannon was also runner-up for an emerging artist fellowship in literature by the Delaware Division of the Arts in 2014 and 2015. Her debut poetry chapbook, UNDOING WINTER, is available through, Finishing Line Press, or through the author: visit