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by Kira Jane Buxton

Q and A with Kira

1.)What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve always loved writing. The first story I ever wrote was about an overweight dragon (it’s possible I peaked too soon?). I ended up attempting a career in acting, but failed spectacularly and ultimately came back to writing when my husband bought me a short story class at Santa Monica College. I was so petrified to attend that I deferred for a year, but was then fortunate enough to be taught be Monona Wali who is a wonderful writer and a Hedgebrook alum! Once the spark had been rekindled in that class, I couldn’t stop. I’ve written almost every day since. 

2.)How did the idea of Hollow Kingdom come to you?

I am fascinated by crows and the corvid family and wanted to write about them for years without knowing how. I read about crows voraciously and ended up befriending two American crows who still visit me daily. They’re incredibly intelligent birds who leave me gifts and accompany me on walks around the neighborhood. Finally, one morning an idea hit me—what if I wrote from the perspective of a crow who was talking about us, about humans and ourextinction? What if, instead of being dark and depressing, it is filled with hope and heart? I combined my love for humor writing, conservation and reverence for nature to write a funny dystopian novel. I wrote it in a joyous fever. I call it my love letter to the natural world and my hope is that it reminds us of how gorgeous and diverse our home planet is, and how it deserves our protection. My two crows have informed a lot of the behavior of S.T. (my crowtagonist). Honestly, it’s the most fun I’ve had writing and I’m so excited to share it!

3.)One question I think our community would like to know is how has the Vortext experience impacted your writing?

Ah, Vortext. I often refer to it as my secret weapon! The very first time I called myself a writer was in the farmhouse of the Whidbey Institute at the first Vortext in 2012. I’m lucky enough to be a repeat offender who has gone back every year since. The Hedgebrook staff bend over backwards to make these weekends absolutely magical. I go back every year because of the camaraderie (my husband jokes that I “collect friends” there, what can I say, I meet the most incredible women through Hedgebrook!), the generosity of the mentor authors, the so-good-you’ll-slap-your-mother-food, and to be surrounded by inspiration in one of the most beautiful places on earth. One of my favorite parts of Vortext is the open mic nights—I am consistently inspired and blown away by the caliber of the writing that’s shared. I’ve had the good fortune to attend several writer retreats and conferences, but Vortext remains my favorite. I really do coast on the glorious inspiration of a Vortext weekend for a whole year.

4.)You thanked several Hedgebrook community members in your book, what is about this community that you find important?

Writing is, for the most part, a solitary endeavor. The community that Hedgebrook has built, through their residencies and their intensive workshops and the Vortext weekends is transformative and groundbreaking. I get so excited to think of the ripple effects this sort of radical hospitality and empowerment will have. Year after year, I jump on a ferry to Whidbey Island and am greeted by the Hedgebrook family with hugs and genuine enthusiasm and encouragement. They have supported and encouraged me from when I was barely confident enough to call myself a writer to when I first emailed them about landing an agent. They are the real deal. To be part of the Hedgebrook family means to be lifted and empowered by a network with the deep and curling roots of a Douglas fir. It means you are never alone. What a thrill to imagine all the women writers currently wading through their words in the cocoon of a Whidbey Island cabin. What a thrill to cheer each other on and see the bright spine of a brand new novel and to know that it was written by a Hedgebrook author. What a thrill to think of how many lives Hedgebrook will have touched and inspired even in just five years from now. This is just the beginning. 

5.)We hear you’re coming to Equivox in March! Are you excited for that gathering of amazing women and ideas?

I’m tremendously excited to be going to Equivox! Equivox is a delicious dose of Hedgebrook’s magic—a gathering of women to raise each other up, a day of good food, incredible company and essential storytelling. It is a celebration of the strength and stories of women. I’m reminded of a Malala quote—“There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a third power stronger than both, that of women.” I’ll just be humbled to be around brilliant women and genius trailblazers. And hello, Janet Mock is the featured speaker and I can’t wait to hear her! I hope to see you there! 

KiraJane
About KiraJane
Kira Jane Buxton's writing has appeared in The New York Times, NewYorker.com, McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, Huffington Post, and more. She calls the tropical utopia of Seattle home and spends her time with three cats, a dog, two crows, a charm of hummingbirds, and a husband.

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