Meet a NYFA Artist: Meredith Cole

Meet a NYFA Artist: Meredith Cole

NYFA speaks with 2004 Playwriting/Screenwriting Fellow Meredith Cole.

NYFA: Hi Meredith, Please tell us what are you working on and what’s coming up for you.

MC: In 2007, I won the St. Martin’s/Malice Domestic Best Traditional First Mystery Award, and my first book, Posed for Murder, will be published by St. Martin’s Minotaur in February 2009. I will be touring with the book in the spring, appearing on panels at conferences and libraries, and going to the Virginia Festival of the Book. I’m currently finishing my second book, and have already started outlining a third.

NYFA: What does being an artist mean to you?

MC: To be an artist means to live life as creatively as possible. I am a great stealer of time–away from work, chores, my family and sleep–in order to find the time to create. Other people dream of exotic vacations: my husband and I dream of three uninterrupted months where I can write and he can paint and draw.

NYFA: How do you start on a project?

MC: My stories often start as dreams. A situation or an image pops into my head and I can’t get it out. I use my journal to refine and stretch the idea before I sit down at the computer. I outline all my stories as a way to flesh them out, and I often do that for months before I begin writing actual prose.

NYFA: Tell us your most memorable art experience growing up.

MC: My parents made sure that our lives were full of books, and we also sang together regularly. They never had a lot of money, but we went to art museums, dress rehearsal performances of Gilbert and Sullivan and Shakespeare, and concerts a lot. Art was a wonderful and valuable part of our lives.

NYFA: Where do you go to experience the creative work of others?

MC: Luckily I live in the creative community of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. There are lots of galleries here, and art projects pop up on the street all the time. I also visit the library a lot to keep up with my voracious reading habit.

NYFA: Where is your favorite place on earth?

MC: My favorite place on earth is at the river on my parents’ property in Central Virginia. There is a large cliff towering over the water, and trees all along the bank. It has to be one of the more peaceful places on earth.

NYFA: What role has the Fellowship played in your life?

MC: I received the fellowship just three months after the birth of my child. All my projects had halted, and I was feeling quite stunted creatively. I used the money to hire a babysitter and pay for a spot in The Writer’s Room so I could carve out some quiet time to write. Receiving the fellowship gave me the confidence to tackle a novel, and was a real shot in the arm just when I needed it.

Meredith Cole grew up outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. She majored in Women’s Studies and minored in Film at Smith College. She wrote and directed the documentary “We Grew Up on a Commune” as her Smith Scholar Project senior year and went on to receive her Master’s degree from American University in Film and Video Production where she was a Teaching Assistant and Master Scholar. She wrote and directed the dramatic feature, “Floating”, about a group of friends growing up and apart. It premiered at the New York Film and Video Festival in 1998, and received a Kodak Film grant. Her second feature, “Achilles’ Love”, was a romantic comedy shot on 35mm. She won the St. Martin’s Press/Malice Domestic best traditional first mystery contest with her book “Posed for Murder” and it will be published by St. Martin’s Minotaur February 17, 2009. Her short stories have appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and the anthology Murder New York Style. She is a member of both Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, and currently serves on the board of the local New York chapters.

For more information on Meredith Cole, visit her website.

Amy Aronoff
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