Katrina Pridgeon: Thanks for this opportunity! Glad to have a chance to learn about First Comics News and the work you do.
I grew up in a small town: Revelstoke, British Columbia. As much as I love the Maritimes, where I’ve been for eleven years now, the Rocky Mountains still inspire me and stories from that town still influence so much of my writing. For those who haven’t been to BC – I definitely recommend taking the chance.
1st: When did you first get interested in writing?
Katrina: It was actually my grade five teacher. I believe her name was Mrs. Just, but I can’t remember her first name now. We started doing poetry, and that was really when I started writing.
1st: Who are some of your influences in writing?
Katrina: So, the classics – James Joyce and Hemmingway for fiction. Emily Dickinson, John Donne, and T.S. Eliot for poetry. As for contemporaries, I’m hugely inspired by queer Canadian poets right now. Ali Blythe, Matthew Walsh, Arielle Twist. And of course one of my very best friends, Jenna Lyn Albert. I’m a little behind in contemporary Canadian fiction.
I’m also hugely inspired by the famous medievalists: Marie de France, Chretien de Troyes, Chaucer, and Thomas Malory.
1st: Are you a writer, artist, or both?
Katrina: I’d call myself a writer. I do some digital and traditional art as well – which I’ve been considering selling prints of, but I can’t say when or vouch for how good I really am at it.
1st: If you could hang out with any creator, who would it be?
Katrina: Definitely Guy Gavriel Kay. I did a bit of my Masters work on his Fionavar Tapestry series. I’m awestruck by his writing. I’d love to meet Arielle Twist. There are some musicians I’d love to meet, too, but I fear I’d be no good around celebrities.
1st: What was your first published work?
Katrina: Technically, I did all the artwork and some of the writing for a children’s book in elementary school… I don’t think that counts though! My first would have been with Vox: UNBSJ’s Student Arts Annual. I believe the poems published were “Heat” and “Mornings”.
1st: Poetry or prose, which do you prefer?
Katrina: I prefer to write poetry, just because it comes easier to me. But I do write both, and I do enjoy both. I think poetry and prose are accomplishing different things in different modes, of course, so depending on which story you’re trying to tell and how the mode matters.
1st: Katrina, you are a member of the Fog Lit Literary Festival. What can you tell the readers about that festival and your involvement?
Katrina: I am not working with Fog Lit Festival at the moment, however working for them was a wonderful experience and I learned a lot. I think Fog Lit is a really valuable addition to Saint John.
1st: Katrina, among your many accomplishments, is an English Literature degree from UNB Saint John and a Master of Letters from the University of Aberdeen UK. Can you please tell your fans what a Master of Letters is?
1st: One of your many projects is Katrina Pridgeon Editing services. What can you tell the readers about that service?
Katrina: Yeah, so I’m also a freelance editor here in Saint John. My prices are pretty standard for an editor, but I have a variety of different editing services I offer and I’m always willing to discuss price with clients. I’ve usually got a discount you could take advantage of if you ask. My website can be found at Kpeditingservices.com.
1st: How can the reader contact you if they are interested in some of the services you provide?
Katrina: So I can be contacted either through my Facebook page or through the contact form on my website. Otherwise, I can be contacted at Katrina.firstname.lastname@example.org.
1st: Katrina Pridgeon Editing Service has partnered up with Dark Attic Enterprises. That must be exciting, what can you add about that partnership?
Katrina: Absolutely! The CEO, Julie Ashford-Smith, is really a wonderful person to work with and I really love what she’s doing with her company. I think it’d be great to have a local publisher here in Saint John, and working with her to help put the amazing Saint John writers back onto the map of Canadian (or Maritime) literature is a big goal for us both.
1st: Congratulations. I have been following your posts about Katrina Pridgeon Editing Services Magazine. It is was launched at the International Culture Fest 2019 October 12th at Harbour Station Saint John NB. What can you tell your fans about your new magazine?
Katrina: The Zine is definitely a pet project for myself and Julie. We really put a lot of work and time and love into this little publication. Pieces of Us is a collection of Canadian art and writing, all produced, printed, and sponsored locally. They can be purchased for $10 to help support local arts, culture, and local creators. It’s got a bit of a spooky fall vibe to it, perfect for an October launch.
1st: Katrina Pridgeon Editing Services Magazine has some amazingly talented creators contributing to it, Andrea Thornton-Kikuchi, Julie Ashford-Smith, and Brian Conoley to name a few. What can you tell your fans about these creators and who else is involved in this project?
Katrina: Yes, they are all really wonderful writers. Each piece in the zine has been hand-picked to put the best foot forward of all of our artists and writers. We’re honestly so honoured to have them be a part of this project.
1st: If a reader wants to get a copy or multiple copies, how can they get them?
Katrina: Definitely get in touch with myself or Dark Attic Enterprises on Facebook or chat us up in person. We’re also going to be looking into some wonderful local retailers who’ve offered their invaluable support on this project. Their locations will be announced and boosted, of course, on social media.
Katrina: PRUDE Inc. is absolutely incredible, and they do so much good for the city. PRUDE stands for Pride of Race, Unity, and Dignity through Education. We want to educate and inform about diversity and inclusion of all people regardless of gender or sexual identity, race, culture, or religion. We’re a non-profit charity organization, and so all of our newcomer services are free. Actually, coming up on November 22, PRUDE is having its 4th annual Diversity Champion Awards event to recognize individuals, businesses, and organizations for being leaders of diversity and inclusion in Saint John. Tickets are on sale now, so definitely check out PRUDE’s Facebook page or website at Prudeinc.org, or visit us in person to learn more.
1st: Katrina Pridgeon, is there anything else you would like to mention that we haven’t covered in this conversation?
Katrina: All I’d like to say is just how happy I am to see the creative culture of Saint John continuing to grow and evolve. Arts, literature, drama/theatre, music – we have so many incredible and talented people in this city and we’re really starting to see arts & culture come into the limelight.
1st: Are there any upcoming projects you would like to share with the readers?
Katrina: Now that the zine is launched, all my efforts will be going into my personal writing – a novel and a poetry collection.
1st: Any shout outs, links you want to share?
Katrina: SO many, if you don’t mind. First – a shout out to my poetry mentors, Anne Compton and Robert Moore, both of which made me the poet I am today. Also my Honours advisor at UNB, Adam Hutka, who was always supportive and made me a better researcher and writer. Then of course to Jenna Lyn Albert, Fredericton Poet Laureate and BFF, at JennaLynAlbert.com, and of course Dark Attic Enterprises at DarkAtticEnterprises.com. And a big shout out to our public arts and culture organizations: The Saint John Free Public Library, Saint John Arts Centre, Imperial Theatre, and all the local galleries and bookstores. Also to all our incredible zine sponsors. Go check them out and support local and support our non-profits.
1st: What advice can you give to anyone interested in getting into the creative world?
Katrina: Just do it! As cliché as that phrase has become, everyone can be a creator. Explore and experiment, find the things you enjoy and do it. Whether you want to make it a career or just a casual hobby – and I especially don’t think we should talk down on those who create casually – just do what you love and enjoy it. Find groups on Facebook or here in Saint John to be a part of. There’s so much to value and enjoy about being part of a community, and Saint John really has so many wonderful ones.
1st: Thank you so much, Katrina, this has been amazing. You are an inspiration to many. Amazing things are happening 2019, keep on creating!
Katrina: Thanks so much, Peter! So happy to be a part of this and honoured for the chance at this interview. Same to you!