Thursday, October 30, 2014

Interview with Corbyn (Hanson) Hightower

I interviewed freelance writer, website content creator, social media guru and copy writer Corbyn (Hanson) Hightower. Here are her unedited answers to 5 questions I asked her:

1. You have a really cool blog. Did you design it yourself?

You mean Ha! That blog is insane-looking, according to my design-y friends. It looks a lot like my colorful house, which is full of whimsy, color, fairy lights, and tacky antiques. I used WordPress, and then threw every noodle at the wall. I wanted abundance, click-y goodness, and for it to reflect my artistic personality. It's not what I would call my "professional" blog. When I'm wooing a more serious client, I point them to my LinkedIn and my more impressive publications, such as my pieces for The New York Times and Chevrolet.

2. You also have a really cool name. What is its origin?

Not to bring out the hankies here, but my biological father came up with it . . . and he died in a one-man, slow-speed motorcycle accident when I was three months old. Factlet: it's derived from "corvos," which means "raven or crow" in Ancient Greek. (It holds similar meaning in several linguistic iterations, including Gaelic.) As it turns out, in some Native American traditions, the crow/raven is "The Communicator." Fitting for a writer/storyteller/raconteur/fearless-public-speaker.

3. How did you first get work writing marketing copy?

*Specifically* marketing copy? Because I did get a lot of paid work writing lifestyle and confessional blog-type pieces before doing heavy marketing copy. My friend, Gareth, was editor of MAKE Magazine at the time, and he passed along a request from Chevrolet to do some moonlighting writing freelance for their new "Chevy Lifestyle" concept, focusing on short, cutting-edge science pieces for their hybrid-electric Chevy Volt demographic. I did quite a few stories for them, until the middlemen they were using (Federated Media,) were released from their contract. Big drag, because I loved it and it was much better money than most writing jobs.

4. What paid writing gig has given you the most satisfaction?

Paid? Well, likely my piece for More! Magazine, if only because it paid in the four digits. Other pieces I've written have given me surprising pleasure, such as the aforementioned Chevy gig, and an intense memoir piece I got into The New York Times called "Memories of a Father's Rage."

5. In the best-case scenario, how does it play out for you as a writer (your dream come true)?

My quotidien wish would be to get in good with some corporate accounts--maybe tech-related, who knows--who will give me reliable, well-paying work. I get a lot of personal satisfaction from my *creative* writing through my website and my vast Facebook following. I can write a status update like a mo-fo.

I have had big-time literary agents and at one point, hoped for a deal with a major publishing house for my (completed) memoir. Got *soveryclose* once, and that soured me enough to just go ahead and put out a compendium of short pieces, combined with art from a collaborator whose work matched mine in tone and tenor, and (through immense effort--who knew?) put out a sort of coffee-table "collector's" book via CreateSpace on Amazon. It's called, Woolgathering: Bedtime Stories for Wayward Adults. (Cursing the lack of ability to italicize or underline, but . . . )

My ultimate personal writing fantasy? To read a piece on NPR's "This American Life." Ira Glass is my homeboy. 

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