A Conversation with Synovia Roberts

Interviewed by Tabatha Miller a Fiction Editor at Chaotic Merge

Tabatha Miller: What is the most difficult part of your writing process?

Synovia Roberts: I think the most difficult part of my writing process is sitting down and writing. I have ideas all the time, and I try to keep them all in my notes app, but it’s hard to find time to just sit down and write. And even if I do have the time to write, sometimes the inspiration just isn’t there. If I’m completely honest with you, as soon as inspiration hits, I just try to preserve the vibe of the idea; it’s the only way I can get myself to write. I play music that helps maintain and even expand to the idea, and that usually helps keep me inspired.

TM: What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?

SR: Usually, the characters come to me first. I play a lot of dungeons and dragons, so I’m constantly filling out character sheets for characters that I’m actively playing as well as characters for the stories I write. I get the idea for a character, and when I’m filling out that character sheet, it’s easier to flesh out their background and their goals because I already know what they’re capable of. 

TM: What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused? 

SR: Now, I know I mentioned music before, but I don’t actually need it to write. I use music as a way to preserve ideas that I already have. The most important thing for me when I’m writing is silence. And I don’t even mean total silence. If I’m listening to music, that music can’t have lyrics; I can’t have people talking to me; things like that. For me to put words on paper, I need a lack of words in my space.

TM: What’s your favorite writing snack or drink?

SR: I don’t usually snack when I’m writing, but if I am, it has to be something crunchy and sweet. Not necessarily candy, but cookies, Kit Kats, wafers all work. And for drinks? As a rule my drinks either need to be water or carbonated, and it can’t be both. If I’m not drinking water, I’m drinking ginger ale or sparkling apple cider. 

TM: What made you want to write “Fixations” and how do you think it’s evolved to the version it is?

SR: Ok so, What made me want to write “Fixations”? Fixations came from a place of insecurity. It was originally a short essay about how my fixation with Aotearoa might be perceived by the Māori people. For me, I was just learning, but what if it was seen as some weird obsession? The essay I wrote was basically me apologizing for how obsessed I have gotten with this culture and these people. It morphed into “Fixations” completely by accident. Amara and Reomata were originally set in a fantasy world, and were meant to explore Amara’s unfamiliarity with her own body. But the more I wrote, the more that essay weighed on me. Was Reomata just an extension of my weird fixation? So, I let my worries bleed into Amara‘s character. I let my worries become her worries, and thus “Fixations” was born. 

Who is Synovia Roberts?

Synovia Roberts (she/her) is a queer, Jamaican American trying to infuse her culture into the literary world around her. Her favorite stories to tell are the ones that make you heartache, even if you’re smiling. She has previously been featured in Purchase College’s Gutter Mag and Brown Sugar’s debut issue.

Read Synovia Roberts’s Work In Issue 3

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