What are you studying?
I am majoring in creative writing with a minor in psychology and loving both! My focus streams under the creative writing umbrella are fiction, poetry, and publishing. Some of my favorite courses have been genre fiction with Susan Juby and free verse poetry with Sonnet L’Abbe. Abnormal psychology is one of my main interests in the psych field.
What do you like to write?
Fiction! I like to dabble in a little bit of everything – romance, realism, Y/A, fantasy, and more! I want to publish long-form works, but the short story form is growing on me. I also enjoy writing poetry – usually free verse, and usually sad. I tend to write about nature, love, and heartbreak. I love working with shape and writing short and long forms.
What are you working on now?
I am writing a paranormal romance novella – essentially, a ghost love story where one lover is alive and one is a ghost. It’s presented some unique challenges, but I’m excited to see it start to manifest. I have also started to work on more short stories. The newest one I’m working on tells the story of a girl’s life from a river’s perspective. I’m continuing to refine my poems for publication, two of which will appear in this next issue of Portal!
What are your favorite genres to read?
I like to read fiction in general! I do tend to read more literary fiction, historical fiction, crime, dystopia, and fantasy (gotta love books with dragons!), and I usually gravitate towards the young adult section. I grew up on Tolkien, C.S Lewis, Christopher Paolini, Madeline L’Engle, and Nancy Drew. And, of course, I like to read poetry!
What do you think makes a good story?
Firstly: engaging characters. This doesn’t mean likable! They can be engagingly wonderful or engagingly awful! A compelling writing style that uses unique descriptions and techniques will also make a good story if paired with a strong plot and cast of characters. At the end of the day, a good story should either make me smile, laugh, or cry.
What movie could you watch over and over?
Tangled, hands down. I love a sweet love story and a happy ending.
What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?
Iceland. There are so many places that are beautiful in different ways, including our beautiful British Columbia, but Iceland took my breath away. Its waterfalls, geysers, volcanoes, and vibrant flora and fauna were off-the-charts stunning. You can read about the time I spent in Iceland in “Global Summer” in Portal’s next issue.
Kiara Strijack is the Art Director and a Fiction Editor for Portal 2019. She writes fiction and poetry, and enjoys editing and photography. She is in her third year at VIU, pursuing a major in creative writing and a minor in psychology. She has been published in The Nav, and her photography has been published in Portal. She received the Meadowlark Award for fiction in 2018.