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Finding Inspiration from Velma in Scooby-Doo: an Interview with Abigail Putnam

Over an Iced Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks, we sat down with Editor-in-chief Abigail Putnam for some caffeine fueled conversations about what things inspire her.

Q: You have a master’s degree in creative writing. What inspires you as a writer?

A: I’m inspired by the fact that people are the strangest creatures in existence, and I like exploring all their weird quirks and insecurities, and exploring their deepest darkest thoughts.

Q: What do you look for in a good short story?

A: It has to pull me in with the first sentence or the title alone. I have to be interested in the character; I have to feel something for the character.

Q: Describe your happy place.

A: I have so many. Usually, any Panera, any coffee shop, any bookstore with a comfy chair, any weird place to find things—I love flea markets, thrift stores, and weird museums.

Q: Who is your role model?

A: My role model is probably Velma from Scooby Doo. She has it together. She mans a group of loveable goofs who don’t know what they’re doing, and solves mysteries by herself.

Martha: that sounds like the Penultimate Peanut.

Abi: Velma has got it going on. I want to be her. She’s always got a Scooby Snack, she’s always losing her glasses, and yet, she gets it all together in the end. My real-life role model is, of course, my mom.

Martha: I’m writing that down. Bonus points for Abi.

Abi: She really gave us a love of reading and learning, and has made us kinder people. It’s one thing to entertain people, but to take that one step further and use it to do some good in the world is even better.

Q: What is your favorite cheesy 80’s movie?

A: (Laughs) There’s so many. I love, of course, Labyrinth. I also love the movies Clue, Willow, Gremlins, Alien, and of course, Princess Bride.

Q: How many different instruments do you own, and which one is your favorite?

A: Oh gosh, I own at least five ukuleles. One I gave to a child I babysit. I own one cello, three pianos—two of them are toy pianos—a pennywhistle, a concertina, and a kazoo. My favorite is definitely the concertina, because I found it at a flea market and haggled it down from sixty dollars to thirty. And also a tiny little piano I rescued from the thrift store for fifteen dollars.

Q: What is your reading recommendation?

A: I’m reading a sci-fi series right now, and the first one is called The Everything Box. It’s about an angel who loses the doomsday device, and a thief who has to find it and steal it multiple times, and a demon-worshipping cult in close pursuit. It’s hilarious. And then short stories: anything by Amelia Gray, and Amber Sparks. We glimpsed her at a writer’s convention in DC. And of course, Gavin Pate, who just had a story come out in Nightmare Magazine. He’s amazing; he is my mentor. He gives me lots of advice that I don’t follow.

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