We had the good fortune of connecting with Claire L. Fishback and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Claire L., why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I have been artistic and creative my entire life. From the age of six, I started writing stories about my pets and other animals. Short stories that I also illustrated. I loved to do both, but writing has always been my passion. When I graduated high school, I went to the Art Institute of Seattle (briefly) for Animation Art and Design. At that time, I wasn’t writing as much, if at all. I took a creative writing class as an elective (crazy to think art school has electives, I mean, aren’t all the drawing classes electives? haha!), and it rekindled my love of writing. My work received a lot of praise from fellow students in the class, as well as my teacher, who wanted to use my final project in future classes as examples. I ended up dropping out of art school after that to work on my writing. I never in my dreams imagined I would be a finalist for a Colorado Book Award twenty years later! Writing and drawing are part of who I am. I’ve always identified as: Writer, Artist, Twin. Now I’ve added Wife and Dog Mom to the list.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
January 9, 2020, I sprinted toward my dog Kira’s frisbee, racing her to get to it first. My foot hit the ice rink our backyard had become, my feet flew out from under me, and I landed right on my head, suffering my fourth concussion in twelve years. During the first couple months of recovery, I had limited screen time, so I decided to start writing by hand. I wrote a bunch of short stories (due out this October in a collection called THE DOLL ROOM). The first concussion I had took away my ability to write metaphorically. I thought my writing career was over. But I managed. When I hit my head the fourth time in January, I worried something similar would happen. However, I was able to pen around thirty short stories during my recovery. I feel like writing (and cooking, oddly enough) helped me feel normal during a time when I had constant headaches, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, among other issues related to the damage in my brain. I’m super proud of THE DOLL ROOM, and I can’t wait for my readers to read it. It was a feat of–maybe not miracles, but something like it–to finish it. I’m excited to share it with the world.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My favorite museum is the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. I love the animal dioramas. There are a few restaurants I really like, too. Spuntino, Safta, Cholon (omg the soup dumplings). The Denver Zoo has a special place in my heart. My mom and I used to run the Mother’s Day 5K in City Park together, and afterward we would go to the zoo, get a hot dog, get attacked by Canadian Geese… We both don’t really run much anymore, plus COVID-19 closed down the big gatherings this year, so I don’t think they even had the race anyway. I’d probably take my friend to the mountains, really. Rent a place to stay in, go hiking, breathe in the fresh mountain air… Salida and Crested Butte are a couple of our favorite mountain getaways, but for a day trip we’d probably go into Evergreen or Indian Hills for some “lower altitude” hikes (a lot of my friends are from sea level).

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to dedicate my shout out to all the people who believe in me. To those who pushed me to get my books out into the world. All those who encouraged me, boosted me up when I was down, and cheered me across finish lines. You know who you are.

Website: www.clairelfishback.com
Instagram: @clairelfishback (for author stuff) or @mrsfish2009 (for my drawings and digital artwork)
Facebook: facebook.com/clairelfishback

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