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Editor’s Note: our Former Contributors Interview Project showcases former contributors of Stone Soup and the wonderful things they’ve gone on to do.

Siena DeBenedittis’s story “Illuminated” was published in the March/April 2015 issue of Stone Soup.


SS: What are you doing now?

SD: I’m majoring in Environmental Studies and English at Brandeis University.  College is great because you get to study the topics that most interest you (and in my case, that means reading many wonderful books), but it’s also a lot of work, which allows me less spare time to focus on my own writing.  When I do find time to complete stories, though, I try to submit them for publication in various literary magazines.  I’m also an editor of one of the lit mags at my school, so I get to see the publication process from the other side, which is really fun.  It’s awesome and inspiring to read submissions from other university students around the world and to have a hand in putting together the journal every semester.

SS: What did Stone Soup mean to you? 

SD: Being published in Stone Soup was definitely one of the most defining accomplishments of my life up to that point.  The magazine already meant a lot to me; I had been reading it for years before I started submitting stories, and then I submitted many stories before I actually got published.  Because I tried so many times before one of my stories was accepted, it felt even better to finally receive the acceptance letter, because I knew that I had really earned it.  It was proof that my writing had improved and now, people would get to read it.   (My college roommate actually also subscribed to Stone Soup as a young adult, so she probably read my work WAY before we even met, which is so crazy!)  Looking back on it, Stone Soup taught me how to learn from rejection, and about how thrilling it is to have your work out there for people to see!

SS: Do you have any advice for current readers, writers, and artists who contribute to Stone Soup?

SD: Keep submitting!  Rejection is an opportunity to improve.  Also, after I aged out of Stone Soup, I didn’t know of any other opportunities for young people to be published, so even though I didn’t stop writing, I definitely slowed down, and I stopped pursuing publication.  Don’t do that.  Those opportunities exist!  They’re out there!  And if you’re anything like me, there’s nothing like the feeling you get when you know other people are seeing your work.  Remember that feeling and work towards it, let it motivate you more than you let rejection discourage you.

Are you a former Stone Soup writer or artist and interested in being interviewed? We’d love to hear from you! Please reach out to sarah@stonesoup.com for more information.

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