Meet Our Fall 2019 Interns!

If you’ve ever met one of our wonderful F(r)iction staffers, you’ll quickly learn that almost every one of them was once an intern in our Publishing Internship Program.

This program is run by our parent nonprofit organization, Brink Literacy Project. While our publishing internships are a great way to get a crash course in the literary industry, they can often provide a path to what can become a long and rewarding professional relationship. For more information, please visit 
https://www.brinklit.org/education/internship/.

Ally Geist

  1. What is your favorite place to read?  
    Curled up by the fire in the dead of winter, with a mug of hot chocolate in my hands. But definitely when we’ve been snowed in for a couple of days and the outside world has slowed down for a while. 
  2. You’re walking down the street and suddenly spot a key on the ground! What does it look like? What do you do with it?
    It’s an old Victorian key. It’s ornate and looks like it belongs in a museum. I would knock on the closest door to see if someone lost it. If I couldn’t find its owner, I would put it on a chain and wear it as a necklace or hang it on the wall above my writing desk. 
  3. How do you take your coffee? If you don’t drink coffee, describe your favorite beverage ritual.
    It really depends on the day! Usually I’ll have a cappuccino with cocoa powder, or a dark roast coffee with milk and cinnamon. My favorite beverage ritual, though, is my nightly cup of tea with my family. 
  4. What is your favorite English word and why? Do you have a favorite word in another language?
    My favorite English word is “apricity.” It means “the warmth of the sun in the winter.” I think it’s so poetic and beautiful. Ever the studious little Canadian, I also speak French; my favorite French word is mot-valise, which literally translates to “word suitcase.” A mot-valise is when you combine two existing words to make a new word (e.g., “brunch” is “breakfast” and “lunch” put together). 
  5. You’re on a deserted island. You have one album and one book. What are they and why?
    I’m going to cheat a bit on this answer because I just can’t decide! The one book I would keep with me is Little Women, with some pages of Rudy Francisco’s Helium bound into the book as well. They both tug on my heartstrings in such perfect ways. The album would definitely be something by Sara Bareilles or Michael Bublé.
  6. If you could change one thing about the literary industry, what would it be?
    I envision a literary industry where all books are intersectional. I also want every young child to see themselves in mainstream/popular books. I want the heroines and heroes children read about in schools to reflect the diversity and interconnectedness of the world today. 

Abi Mechley

  1. What is your favorite place to read?  
    My favorite place to read is in bed right before I fall asleep.
  2. You’re walking down the street and suddenly spot a key on the ground! What does it look like? What do you do with it?
    The key I see is a small, tarnished key (once shiny and brown, now darkened by oxidation). It’s one of those old keys that only has two large ridges to unlock a door, and the handle is twisted in a vine-like design. I put it on the shelf next to other things I’ve picked up (pebbles, buttons, a few nuts and bolts). I forget about it in approximately two weeks and one day.
  3. How do you take your coffee? If you don’t drink coffee, describe your favorite beverage ritual.
    I generally don’t take coffee, but the occasions I go out with friends I order it black with room for cream. I also order a small cup of ice separately. I put two or three packets of sugar into the coffee along with a few ice cubes to cool it down faster. I never add cream.
  4. What is your favorite English word and why? Do you have a favorite word in another language?
    I really like modern internet slang (e.g. the verb “to rick-roll,” the study of “memeology”), but I’m not sure what my favorite word is. Let me get back to you on that.
  5. You’re on a deserted island. You have one album and one book. What are they and why?
    Really the deserted island depends on whether I want to leave. If so, I’d have a burned CD of Weird Al songs (including “Word Crimes,” “Albuquerque,” “Bohemian Polka,” “Amish Paradise,” and “I Bought It On Ebay”) that would be fun to listen to at first but gradually grate on my nerves until I had no choice but to escape my depressed state and try to make my way back to civilization, along with a book on survival techniques and using primitive technology (or even How to Build Your Own Boat from Scratch by John E. Traister). If I wanted to stick around for a while, it’d probably be My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade/Living With Ghosts (The 10th Anniversary Edition)—though I’d miss the song “Planetary (GO!)”—and maybe the book Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand so I could mentally write literary criticism completely tearing down the utopian depiction of selfishness in the novel (and when I’m done with that, I’d use the many, many pages as a template for drawing animations or making black-out poetry when I’m bored).
  6. If you could change one thing about the literary industry, what would it be?
    If I could change anything about the industry, it would be enforcing anti-trust laws against the big five publishing houses. I love their books, but both monopolies and greed without regulation have a way of hurting artists and editors alike.

Jaclyn Morken

  1. What is your favorite place to read?  
    Really anywhere quiet, warm, and cozy, but my absolute favorite would probably be in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park. I’ve gone there with my family almost every summer since I was a kid, so it’s really become one of my favorite retreats. Sitting in a lawn chair with my feet up, or at a picnic table beside the loch, with the early morning sun filtering through the tall trees to remind me I have nothing to do but enjoy the book in my hands—that is the greatest place to read.
  2. You’re walking down the street and suddenly spot a key on the ground! What does it look like? What do you do with it?
    It’s one of those long-handled, old-fashioned ones, half-buried in a patch of dirt alongside the sidewalk. I pick it up—it’s a bit rusted, with an engraving on the head that I can’t quite make out. It’s quite heavy, though it’s no bigger than my palm, so I brush off the rest of the dirt and tuck it in my pocket until its lock appears. If I’m lucky, it’ll be a small chest that no one can open, filled with unfamiliar family heirlooms. Or the stubborn wooden door in the basement of a museum, opening into a room packed with books and documents no one has bothered to look through in decades. The key will lead me somewhere secluded and strange, with just the right combination of history and mystery to make it feel magical.
  3. How do you take your coffee? If you don’t drink coffee, describe your favorite beverage ritual.
    I’m not a coffee drinker, but I am a hot chocolate lover. I use a milk chocolate mix, then fill the mug ¾ water and ¼ milk. It’s best enjoyed before bed—in my favorite Mary Poppins mug—while I am curled up under a blanket on the couch by the fireplace, with a favorite movie ready to go on the TV. I generally avoid marshmallows or other toppings, but a café near where I live likes to top off their hot chocolate with chocolate whipped cream, which I can never refuse.
  4. What is your favorite English word and why? Do you have a favorite word in another language?
    I don’t have a favorite word in another language, but for English, without a doubt, it is “susurrus.” It came to mind immediately. It refers to a whispering, murmuring, or rustling sound. I love how it sounds like what it means. Plus, it feels a little bit eerie, a little bit mystical—I find myself using it everywhere I can.
  5. You’re on a deserted island. You have one album and one book. What are they and why?
    The book would have to be The Lord of the Rings. It is complex enough—and certainly long enough—that it would keep me occupied for quite a while. Plus, it’s been a while since I last read it, so I think I’m due for a reread! As for the album, I think I’d like to have Garth Brooks’ The Hits (1994), an album I grew up listening to. It has songs to fit my every mood, and I’ve listened to it so many times already that I don’t think I would get tired of it.
  6. If you could change one thing about the literary industry, what would it be?
    That’s a tough one, and I’m not sure I have a realistic answer. One certainly stressful aspect of the industry is its fast-paced, competitive nature, in that writers might think they already need to be great to “make it.” Emerging authors in particular don’t always get the attention they need to hone their craft and break into the industry, as editors don’t necessarily have time to focus on submissions that need a lot of work, because not every press has the time or the resources to offer detailed feedback to writers.

Viengsamai Fetters

  1. What is your favorite place to read?  
    I spent much of my childhood curled up with a book in my parents’ big green armchair—my limbs fit differently in it than they did when I was six, but different is not bad. It’s where I gravitate to while in my parents’ house, and it’s one of those rare places where feeling like a child again is comforting. 
  2. You’re walking down the street and suddenly spot a key on the ground! What does it look like? What do you do with it?
    A key! It’s nondescript, pretty much identical to my house key. I pick it up and check my key ring to make sure that I still have my own keys, then consider taking it with me—perhaps I could find the owner or give it to someone whom the owner might think to ask. Then I put the key back on the ground in a slightly more visible location than the one I found it in. 
  3. How do you take your coffee? If you don’t drink coffee, describe your favorite beverage ritual.
    I like coffee! My family would disagree, though—they’d say I just like cream and sugar. Technically they’d be right, but I also put coffee in the cup, so I say it counts. 
  4. What is your favorite English word and why? Do you have a favorite word in another language?
    I like the word sheep. It’s a good word with a good mouthfeel, and the word makes me smile to say, which I think is a good enough reason to be my favorite. 
  5. You’re on a deserted island. You have one album and one book. What are they and why?
    This is a really hard question. I’d probably have a copy of Rachmaninoff’s piano concertos, just because I like them and every time I listen to them I hear something new. As for books, I would probably bring Infinite Jest, which I haven’t read, but could probably take me the rest of my life (especially given my survival skills on a deserted island) to read. 
  6. If you could change one thing about the literary industry, what would it be?
    I feel like I don’t know enough to answer this question well—perhaps I’ll change how much knowledge I have! That’s why I’m in this internship, after all.

Venus Davis

  1. What is your favorite place to read?  
    Under a nice big shady tree! I love being outside where the space feels open and free. So, reading outside is very peaceful. Also, not to sound like a vampire, but I prefer to admire the sunlight from afar! So finding a shady spot to read is very important to me!
  2. You’re walking down the street and suddenly spot a key on the ground! What does it look like? What do you do with it?
    The key is bronze and a bit rusty. It’s one of those old keys you might see in an antique shop or on the cover of some old book of fairy tales. The key has these extravagant loops on its head that look like the headboard for a comfortable queen-size bed. In the middle, there sits a garnet gemstone. I pick the key up and examine it. There’s no way this thing can still fit into a door. The bottom half is chipped. I pull a string of yarn out of my pocket and string the key around my neck.
  3. How do you take your coffee? If you don’t drink coffee, describe your favorite beverage ritual.
    Black and iced! I am a big fan of iced coffee and I am way too lazy to figure out how much sugar I take with my coffee. So, I’ve just started drinking it black and it turns out that I actually love black coffee!
  4. What is your favorite English word and why? Do you have a favorite word in another language?
    Junoesque! I think the word is very flattering and powerful and underutilized. I don’t have a specific word in another language that I like. However, I love the idea of words that can’t be expressed in English but describe very specific emotions. I think that’s why people should be more willing to learn other languages. You can only learn so much within your own language. With words that just can’t be translated to English but describe a very specific emotion, you can broaden your perspective of the world!
  5. You’re on a deserted island. You have one album and one book. What are they and why?
    Be the Cowboy by Mitski and On Writing by Stephen King! Be the Cowboy is such an important album for me. I saw Mitski live on her Be the Cowboy tour and I haven’t stopped thinking about that show since. She is amazing and her lyrics mean so much to me. I find bits and pieces of myself in every emotion that she describes in that album. I am very emotional person. So the music I listen to has to have a wide variety of emotional elements. Mitski’s music does just that! So, I’d bring Be the Cowboy because it is my favorite album of hers and the album deals with emotions in a way that I can directly relate to.  As for On Writing, it’s my favorite book! I could read it over and over and always have some new information to take away from it. Reading the book over and over again on a deserted island would allow me to continue to hone my craft!
  6. If you could change one thing about the literary industry, what would it be?
    I would try to find a way for more people without degrees to be involved in the industry. I think times are changing but I know that for people like me, it is still difficult to find a way in without college as a prerequisite. I think there are plenty of unique voices that should be heard regardless of their education.