Interview: An Interview with Poet Sarah Nichols

Book Name and Description: She May Be a Saint

2016-11-26 14.28.39

She May Be a Saint is a chapbook of centos (poems which use lines and phrases from the work of other poems to create new poems), which use the work of C.D. Wright and Sylvia Plath as sources. It was published by Hermeneutic Chaos Press in December, 2016.

This Book is Available on Hermeneutic Chaos Press: Click Here

 

What gave you the idea for She May Be a Saint?

I discovered the work of C.D. Wright in 2013, while reading the Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry. There was an excerpt from her book One Big Self,  a project in which Wright traveled to Southern prisons. She utilized the voices of inmates for this book, but also used her own. When I read, a line, “I had a head full of bees,” jumped out at me. I thought of combining her words with words from Plath’s “Bee Sequence” poems that appear in Ariel. I started with the one poem that came from that encounter, and every now and again I’d decide to create more Wright/Plath poems, but most did not have my voice in them—they belonged too much to Wright and Plath. In May or June of 2016 I submitted some of these poems to Hermeneutic Chaos (the journal), but they were also turned down. However, the rejection letter from the Editor in Chief, Shinjini Bhattacharjee, was so loving and encouraging. Ironically, that message cleared the way for me to write more poems; ones that sounded like me.

 

What got you writing in this genre? 

I’ve wanted to be a writer since childhood, but I never saw myself as a poet, and, I think, there is still that part in me that says “what are you doing ?” In 1998, I entered a college writing contest with a poem about Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. The results were posted in the cafeteria, and I had won first prize. I was stunned. I had a creative writing teacher at the time who encouraged me to go forward with poetry. That was the beginning.

 

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since childhood. I don’t have any stories or poems or journals; I destroyed a lot of what I wrote in adolescence, and I regret that. Keeping a journal as a teenager sustained me. I don’t keep a journal now. This is something that I’ve wanted since I was 10 or 11. I wanted to see my books in libraries; to be published. It took a long time to figure out how that happened, and once I did, getting through the fear of sending work out. I remember I sent a short story out to a magazine when I was 16 or 17, and it was rejected, but it was encouraging; the editor told me to keep writing.

 

Tell us about your past books and stories?

My first chapbook of poems, The Country of No, published in 2012, came from a dark and wounded place in me. It’s a chronicle of loss, I think, and it’s hard to look at those poems today. My second chapbook, Edie (Whispering): Poems from Grey Gardens, was published in 2015. It’s a collection of found poetry taken from the transcripts of the 1975 documentary, Grey Gardens, which chronicles the daily lives of Edith Bouvier Beale, and her daughter, also named Edith. They were the aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy, and they lived in a decrepit East Hampton mansion known as Grey Gardens. It was also occupied by raccoons and cats; uninhabitable. But there they were, living their lives, and being filmed. The way these two women spoke and interacted with each other, and spoke to the camera alone has a cadence. It sounds like poetry. This is a movie that I’ve known for a long time, and it came to me while watching it: I have to do a book of poems on this. It was the easiest thing I’ve ever written.

It didn’t feel like work at all. I don’t have stories, but I do have flash essays that were written for an ongoing online project, The RS 500, which is a collection of micro essays and stories inspired by, or in direct conversation with, Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of all time. I’ve been lucky to write on some of my favorite albums and artists, from Depeche Mode’s Violator to David Bowie’s Low. I started writing for it in 2016, and I will have other essays with them. I had never written about music (but I had wanted to) before then. The project’s editor, Brad Efford, gave me a wonderful opportunity. I have also, sporadically, been a film critic.

 

What is the writing process like for you? What is your writing day like? What have been the biggest influences on your writing?

I would say that my process is haphazard. I metaphorically throw things at the wall to see what sticks. If I find something that I can work with, I tend to get obsessed. I have to step away. I would also say that a typical writing day looks like writing in long hand, making notes, looking for the right line or word. I don’t plan to have a writing day; it’s more when it strikes, and I have to be there, and use it. My biggest influences on my writing so far are seeing other women writers do the work of telling their stories. This ranges from being a part of a community of contemporaries, to looking at Emily Dickinson’s or Sylvia Plath’s work and processes.

 

What is your favorite book (other than your own book, of course) and why? What book disappointed you and why?

This may be the most difficult question !  My favorite book is Revolutionary Road, by Richard Yates. It is his first novel, and it is perfect. It is so tightly written. It is also an extremely painful book. Yates condemns the demands of mid-century American culture, setting it in 1955 Connecticut. He writes about the absence of love, and the missed connections of damaged people. In some ways it reminds me of Ingmar Bergman’s movie Scenes from a Marriage, where this seemingly happy, bourgeois couple fall apart under a seemingly merciless camera eye. You need to be in an okay place in your head to read it. It never gets stale.  There have been many, many books that have disappointed me, but I’ll go with one; The Humbling, by Philip Roth. I find myself in a curious position of being a feminist and yet liking a great deal of his canon. American Pastoral is one of the great American novels; however, The Humbling is a failure after a brilliant first paragraph. It is self pitying and miserable, and asks the reader to believe

problematic (at best)  sexual situations that are laid out. I want to warn people away from reading it, that’s how much I hate it.

 

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I still write about parts of myself or my life all the time, but I come at it differently than when I started. I use persona in my poems. As one who writes a lot of found poetry, I look at other authors’ words to write my experience. I have a forthcoming book that is all ekphrastic poetry, using the work of Diane Arbus as inspiration. I think I’m more determined to see a project through. The Arbus book, for example, had been brewing in me for a long time. I would look at her photographs, and wonder about the way “in.” I felt like it would never unlock for me, but then it did, and it got finished. I did not write any poetry from 2002 to 2007. That’s a long time to be silent. I take breaks between projects. I experience burn out, just like everyone else, no matter what they do. I’ve gotten better at knowing when to stop.

 

What is the best advice you ever received from another writer?

In high school, I was able to meet the novelist Mary-Ann Tirone Smith, who lived in my hometown. She inscribed one of her books with this: “Write all the time even when there is no time.” I don’t know that I understood it then, but I understand it now. I’m writing in my head, or making notes on my phone; bits and scraps that somehow turn into a poem. I might not be doing the physical act of putting words on paper, but it is happening.

 

How do you market your own work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

I market my work largely through social media. I belong to several writing groups on Facebook, and I share links to recently published work, or my books, which have been published by small presses. I’ve gotten better at promoting my work through Twitter. I think the next step is creating an author page on Facebook, or a website. I actively seek out people to review my work. That, I think, is the most difficult part of promoting my own work. I have a feeling of “who would want to review my work, and what if they don’t like it ?” I did nothing to promote my first book. No reviews; nothing. That has changed as I’ve gone forward.

 

What piece of your own work are you most proud of?

In 2015, I had a poem accepted for the anthology Emily, which was published by Porkbelly Press, and was inspired by, and in conversation with, Emily Dickinson’s work. My poem, “Recipient Unknown,” is a found poem in three parts, using Dickinson’s “Master” letters as source material. I revere Dickinson. It made me happy to have a connection to her. It was a poem that resonated with others; writers and people close to me who aren’t poets. It’s a gorgeous book, not only for my piece, but also for the other writers included in it.

 

What are you doing next?

My next project, which started today (October 1st) is a month long collaborative project called The Poeming. It is the second year that I have been a participant and an administrator. This year, 35 poets are making found poems out of the novels of Anne Rice (there is a writer for every one of her books.) It is entirely online, using Tumblr and Facebook. Last year, we used the novels of Stephen King as source material, and the results were incredible. One writer made gorgeous erasures using collage. Another used glitter to make erasure poems. So many of the poems written in that have been published. I can’t wait to see what this year brings.

 

What advice would you give other writers?

Tell your story. If you are true to it, it will come out in some way. Don’t be in a rush to get a book out. It’s wonderful when it happens, but it’s better to build solid work. It will be ready when it’s ready. It’s not going to adhere to your timetable. It has its own.

 

Bio:

Sarah Nichols lives and writes in Connecticut. She is the author of five chapbooks, including Dreamland for Keeps (Porkbelly Press, forthcoming, 2018) and How Darkness Enters a Body (Porkbelly Press, forthcoming, 2018). Her third chapbook, She May Be a Saint (Hermeneutic Chaos Press, 2016), was selected for the Chapbook Exchange collection associated with the Poetry Center at San Francisco State University. She also serves as co-editor of Thank You for Swallowing, an online journal of feminist protest poetry. Her poems and essays have appeared in Luna Luna Magazine, Rag Queen Periodical, Thirteen Myna Birds, Calamus, Rogue Agent, and the RS 500. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2015.

 

Links:

She Maybe a Saint on Hermeneutic Chaos Press

Edie (Whispering): Poems from Grey Gardens on Dancing Girl Press’s shop, a small press that publishes only women writers.

Sarah’s Essay on David Bowie’s Album, Low, at the RS 500

The main Tumblr blog for the Poeming project, going on for all of October, 2017.

 

© The Literary Librarian 2018

 

Interview – Martin Willitts Jr. – How to Be Silent

Book Name and Description: How To Be Silent

 

This is a collection of meditative spiritual poems. Martin Willitts, Jr. lives by the simple Quaker principle of “God is everywhere, in everyone,” seeing both the good and bad, but also the awe of waking every day. He turns inwards with silent meditation and outward with his own version of psalms. He knows the small objects are just as important as the large for our own survival. This book will be appreciated by people who like poets such as Rumi, Hafez, Thomas Merton, Emily Dickinson, Lalla, Rilke, Dogen, Yeats, Mary Oliver, Wendell Berry, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Blake, Kabir, Mirabai, St. Augustine, William Stafford, George Herbert, Meister Eckhart, Li Po, St. Teresa of Avila, Simone Weil, St. Francis of Assisi, Kahlil Gibran, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Thomas Aquinas, Julian of Norwich, and D. H. Lawrence.

Psalm by Martin Willitts, from his book, How to Be Silent

All day, inside me, your voice was saying,
wake up. But I was not sleeping.

Wake up, you insisted. But I continued
to nibble at life.

At night, your voice would not let me sleep.
Someday, I will rest, but not today.

I am stirring. Your voice is gnawing inside me.
I have been rowing in circles and did not know it.

Can you tell us about your books? 

I had several books that came out within a year of each other. Each one was different. “How to Be Silent” (FutureCycle Press, 2016) was spiritual poetry like Rainer Rilke or Denise Levertov. “Dylan Thomas and the Writer’s Shed” (FutureCycle Press, 2017) was about my trip to Swansea, Wales after winning the 2004 International Dylan Thomas Poetry Award, where I was able to see Dylan Thomas’ birthplace. “Three Ages of Women” (Deerbrook Editions, 2017) is poetry based on paintings about women or paintings by women, arranged by youth, middle age, and elderly, interrupted by sections about Georgia O’Keeffe and her desert paintings, and Andrew Wythe’s paintings of his nude neighbor. By the way, it is the 100th anniversary of Andrew Wythe’s birth, and his model, Helga Testorf is still alive in her 80’s.

You’ve won several awards. Can you tell us about them?

The first award was the 2013 Bill Holm Witness Poetry Contest. It was a contest to write a series of five ecology poems, and I was judged on all the poems, not  just on a single poem from five submitted like most contests. This was an unusual contest.

When I won the 2014 International Poetry Dylan Thomas Award, it was a one year contest for

Dylan Thomas’s 100th birthday. The prize included tickets to his birthplace in Swansea, Wales, plus $3,000 and a large engraved bowl (the college judging the contest is famous for teaching glassmaking), and a poetry reading.

I won a Central New York Individual Artist Award and provided “Poetry On The Bus” which had 48 poems by children and 20 adult English As Second Language students writing in 7 different languages. The poems appear inside local transit buses. It began as a one year grant, but it is so popular that it has been approved for its third year.

My full-length collection, “Searching for What You Cannot See” (Hiraeth Press, 2013), won a National Ecological Award. I recently won the Turtle Island Editor’s Choice Award for my chapbook, “The Wire Fence Holding Back the World” (Flowstone Press, 2016). Both poems are about nature.

During our earlier conversation, I discovered you have a very interesting background. Could you share some of the highlights?

As a child, I lived in a city, and every summer I worked on my Mennonite/Amish grandparent’s farm until I was 17 years. I know old-time work like blacksmithing, what it is like to be without electricity or working a hand plow or slaughtering animals. When I was 10 or 11, I went with my father in the 1960’s to register Blacks to vote during Civil Right. The bus was firebombed while we were in it. I still have teeth missing from being hit with brass knuckles. I played classical piano for a local orchestra when I was a child. I was a Conscientious Objector who went to Vietnam as a Field Medic. I was a Children’s Librarian for about 40 years.

What attracted you to writing?

I never took a course in poetry writing, but I write poetry  anyway. I published a lot from 1974-1982 and walked away from writing when my son was born. I was encouraged to write some poems for a 9/11 anthology, but the editor also asked me if I was still alive. That comment stuck with me as ironic and also as a wake-up call that I needed to start writing again.  I am extremely prolific, so I really do not seem to have a choice: either I write and submit, or I go stir crazy.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

The best I can suggest is follow the submission rules. If they say a limit of 3 and you send 4, that could be an automatic rejection. If the rule says a line limit of 40 lines, do not send a two page poem. Some magazines do not accept multiple submissions. Read each rule carefully.

There are thousands of magazine and there are thousands of poets, but each magazine has a limit how many poems they accept and how often they are published. Each magazine can see about a thousand poems a year.

I am a poetry editor for Comstock Review. We only publish twice. One is an open submission, and the other is a national contest; plus we have a national chapbook contest. Since there is more than one person reading the poems, a poet has to impress the majority of the editors. Other magazines operate differently. If a poet gets rejected by a magazine, the poet has three choices: keep sending to another magazine; edit the poem; or reconsider getting rid of the poem.

Bio:

Martin Willitts Jr is a retired Librarian living in Syracuse, NY.  He has been a professional musician, oral storyteller, field medic in Vietnam, worked on over one hundred Habitat For Humanity houses. He is the winner of 2013 Bill Holm Witness Poetry Contest; 2014 Broadsided award; 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Award; and, Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge, June). 2015, Editor’s Choice. Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge, Artist’s Choice, November 2016. He won a Central New York Individual Artist Award and provided “Poetry On The Bus” which had 48 poems in local buses including 20 bi-lingual poems from 7 different languages. He has over 20 chapbooks including the winner of the Turtle Island Quarterly Editor’s Choice Award, “The Wire Fence Holding Back the World” (Flowstone Press, 2017), plus 11 full-length collections including National Ecological Award winner for “Searching for What You Cannot See” (Hiraeth Press, 2013), and recently “How to Be Silent” (FutureCycle Press, 2016), “Dylan Thomas and the Writing Shed” (FutureCycle Press, 2017), “Three Ages of Women” (Deerbrook Editions, 2017). His forthcoming full-length collection is “The Uncertain Lover” (Dos Madres Press).

Links:

How to Be Silent on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/How-Silent-Martin-Willitts-Jr-ebook/dp/B01AUPHW3M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516464505&sr=8-1&keywords=how+to+be+silent+Martin

 

© The Literary Librarian 2018

 

 

Interview – Victoria Howard – Romantic Suspense Author

Book Name and Description:

The House on the Shore

Heartbroken Anna MacDonald leaves Edinburgh to find peace at the edge of a Scottish loch. Safely ensconced in her late grandmother’s cottage, she can finally heal her heart and write the novel that has burned inside her for years.

Her peace is short-lived. When debonair artist Luke Tallantyre’s yacht gets stranded in the loch, he seeks help at the nearest residence – Anna’s croft. She finds him annoying. He instantly dislikes the stunning but cranky hermit.

But there’s indisputable evidence that a hit man is on the prowl in the village. Is he after Anna? And what is Luke keeping from her that could deepen the danger? Against their wills, they join forces and embark on an adventure neither ever imagined…including a chance at true love.

Ring of Lies

Daniel Elliott dies in a single-car accident one rainy English night. His wife, Grace, is grief stricken. Although their marriage was imperfect, sheltered Grace doesn’t relish the future alone.

She soon learns how little she knew about Daniel. There are secrets: an alias, a strange list of numbers, a house in Florida – and a mistress who’s a dead ringer for Grace.

Terrified but determined, she flies to Florida. Underworld figures stalk her…and so does the other woman. To her surprise, handsome FBI man Jack West takes the case. Grace has a past with the troubled agent. Despite her efforts, she finds herself falling for him all over again.

With danger around every curve, Grace and Jack navigate the criminal world of south Florida to find the truth behind the Ring of Lies.

Three Weeks Last Spring

Friday Harbor, a picturesque small town in the Pacific Northwest, and a haven for fishermen and yachtsmen. For Skye Dunbar, it is a
place where she can overcome the pain of a broken heart and put her life back together. Renting a cabin by the shore, the last thing she expects is to be accused of computer hacking.

Jedediah Walker is investigating the dead marine life washed up on the island’s beaches. When he discovers the fish contain a high concentration of toxic chemicals, he suspects someone is deliberately dumping them in Puget Sound. Swift to jump to conclusions, he suspects the auburn-haired woman renting his cabin is somehow involved.

Skye tries to ignore him, but necessity throws them together as they struggle to find those responsible for the environmental atrocity.

 Interview Questions:

What gave you the idea for The House on the Shore?

I always wanted to set a book in Scotland, especially as I had lived on a croft in rural Aberdeenshire for twenty years. At the time, I managed a small company involved in the offshore oil and gas industry and worked part-time as an administrator on a local estate. I used my knowledge of the offshore industry and the difficulties of managing a large estate as the basis for the plot of The House on the Shore.

What got you into writing in this genre?

I’m a voracious reader – historical novels, crime, and yes, romance.  When I was younger I read a great number of Mills and Boon and Harlequin romances, but these are only 55,000 words long and have a shelf life of three months. Rather than write a boy-meets-girl romance where they fall in love, fall out of love and fall in love again, I decided to write a romance with a much stronger plot. Romantic suspense fit the bill as it combined my love of romance with a mystery that my characters have to solve.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve always enjoyed writing, although I think my English teacher might be surprised by that statement!  As I child I found the task of writing essays on a given subject boring, and it was only when I started writing to friends, sharing travel adventures with them that the idea of writing a novel came about.

Tell us about your past books and stories?

I’ve written three novels and am working on a fourth.  The House on the Shore, a 2009 Joan Hessayon Award finalist and 2009 London Book Festival Honourable Mention: Fiction, Ring of Lies, and Three Weeks Last Spring.  I’ve also written several short stories that have been published in various anthologies.

What is your writing day like?

I try to write each day, even if it’s only a few hundred words. We have a small office in our home – large enough to hold two desks, computers, and all my reference books. My Border collie usually lies in the doorway, keeping me company and ensuring I have peace and quiet to concentrate! I also think she likes to make sure I don’t forget to take her for a walk.

What is your favorite book (other than your own book, of course) and why? What book disappointed you and why?

There are so many books that I read and re-read!  Where do I start? Susanna Kearsley, Diana Gabaldon, Mary Stewart, Valerie Fitzgerald, Daphne Du Maurier, Milly Johnson, Katie Fforde, Ken McClure, Ian Rankin, Lee Child, as well as Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte.  I could go on, but the list would take up too many pages.

As for favorite books, I would have to put Daphne Du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’ near the top of the list, along with Susanna Kearsley’s Slains series.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?         

Apart from a good dictionary and thesaurus, the ability to listen. Ideas are all around us, you just have to let your brain absorb them.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

The first draft is just that and is not ready to be published. Do your research, especially if you set your novel in an actual place or are considering writing a crime novel.

What piece of your own work are you most proud of?

That’s a difficult question to answer as most authors will respond by saying their last book.

For those who haven’t read any of your stories, what story/book of yours do you think best represents your work and why?

The House on the Shore. I travelled extensively while living in Scotland and know the area well. It’s the reason I set Anna’s cottage on the shore of Loch Hourn. In 1975 Howard Doris was granted permission to use Loch Kishorn, the loch to the south of Loch Hourn, for a deep-water construction facility for the production of oil platforms for the North Sea Oil industry, which gave me the idea for The House on the Shore

What are you doing next?

I’m currently working on another novel set in Scotland.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Learn your craft.  If you are able, sign up for one of the many writing courses available both online and locally. Read ‘how to books’, on structure, characterization etc.

 bio:

 Victoria Howard lives in South Yorkshire, with her partner Stephen, and her 8 year-old Border collie, Rosie. She is the author of three romantic suspense novels; The House on the Shore, (a 2009 Joan Hessayon Award finalist, and London Book Festival Honourable Mention: Fiction), Three Weeks Last Spring (a Pushcart Prize nominee), and Ring of Lies. Several of her short stories have appeared in anthologies, including the Kindle short, A Little Protection.

Although born in Liverpool, her heart is always in the Scottish Highlands. She lived on a remote croft for twenty years, managing a company involved in the offshore oil and gas industry.

During those rare times when she isn’t writing, Victoria can be found curled up with a book, gardening, designing knitwear, walking Rosie, or travelling the world.

Victoria is a member of Romantic Novelists’ Association and Sheffield Authors

Links:

Website:   http://www.victoriahoward.co.uk

Twitter:    https://twitter.com/VictoriaHoward_

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Victoria.Howard.Author/

 

© The Literary Librarian 2018

 

 

Book Review – Ring of Lies – Victoria Howard

A Romance with Dimension

Ring of Lies is a suspenseful romance with strong character development and an engaging plot, making this a very satisfying read.

We start the story with Grace as she says her final goodbyes to her husband, Daniel. What she doesn’t know, however, is she is also saying her final goodbyes to the illusion she was living. Her life was based on lies created by Daniel, and on his death, the lies fall away like a house of cards.

Until this point, Grace has led a simple life, although not necessarily a happy one. Her husband was a controlling man, making her doubt her own ability to function. Despite this, she is pushed out of her comfort zone as an intimidating stranger begins to harass her and new facts come to light (such as the fact her husband bought an expensive vacation home without her knowledge). Grace decides she must unearth the truth. Frightened and still suffering from a damage ego (again, thanks to her controlling husband), she reaches out to a man she met who works for the FBI, Jack. The two met when she was on vacation, and they very nearly ended up having an affair. Grace was unhappy at the time, but being a highly ethical person, she did not follow her desires.

As you can imagine, being forced to go out in the world and face many unsettling and frightening things, she begins to grow as a person and learns to trust herself more and more. But one of the most intriguing things I found about this character was what did not change: her strong moral compass. This is why she did not have the affair, this is what drives her to search for the truth when her life falls apart, and this is why her husband despised her. The man had controlled every part of her life except this one thing, which also happened to be the one thing he lacked himself. In my opinion, this made Grace remarkably strong, even though she did not know it; as much as she loved her husband, as much as she handed over so much of her life to him, she never let that part of her be altered or even touched. And this core strength comes in handy, because Grace soon learns her problems are bigger and more complicated than she ever imagined. I’ll let you read the book to see what I mean by this, but my main point here is that it is this contrast between being weak, yet not weak that made her one of my favorite characters.

Her love interest, the FBI agent Jack, was also a very likeable and complex character. His life is a bit screwed up when Grace asks for his help. He has a girlfriend who has recently given birth to a daughter. Jack is trying to do the right thing, providing for his girlfriend and his child, but he has a HUGE problem: The girlfriend hates the baby. What a terrible problem to deal with when you are trying to work a day job as an FBI agent. And then here comes Grace, the woman he’s still in love with. He’s having one heck of a week.

Another aspect of this book that I loved was the setting (once the investigation begins): Florida. It felt almost like going on a tropical vacation. The backdrop just added another satisfying layer to a highly enjoyable read.

Bottom line, this book was top-notch, and I highly recommend it.

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Ring-Lies-Victoria-Howard-ebook/dp/B009BA0WLW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1518975027&sr=8-2&keywords=Ring+of+Lies

 

© The Literary Librarian 2017

Interview – Mansu Edwards

Book Name and Description: Emojis Vs. Punctuation Marks: Battle Of The Keyboard. The Punctuation Marks are feeling neglected and unwanted in a digital world controlled by the powerful Emojis. They are trying to stay relevant in this new age. A war occurs. An African American girl, Danna, and her family are caught in the midst of the conflict.

 Interview Questions: 

What gave you the idea for Emojis Vs. Punctuation Marks: Battle Of The Keyboard? I was in one of those writing zones and the idea popped in my head while sitting in the kitchen. It was an idea from God. He used me as a vessel to create the story.

What got you into writing in this genre? I choose stories to write and and decide if it’s worth publishing. I don’t think about the genre.

How long have you been writing? I’ve been writing for 9-10 years.

Tell us about your past books and stories?I’ve written “The Disappearance Of Hate”, “Mental Diet”, “Biscuits And Yogurt Vol. 1”, “Texting In New York City” (1st and 2nd Ed.), “Vertical Algebra” and “Exotic Ignorance: Ep. 8 Camouflage Pizza. Each book is different. The themes range from poetry, personal development, a self esteem cookbook, a satirical self esteem handbook, sci-fi personal development and a dating forum mystery.

What is the writing process like for you? I’ll write for a certain amount of time. I don’t give myself a set amount of hours. I go with the flow and try not to force the creative flow.

What is your writing day like? I’ll spend time writing and reading. I try to be in a relaxed state. I’ll eat a meal and write during the day or at night.

 What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers? The tools I feel that are must haves are pen, paper, pc, phone, tablet, imagination, fearlessness and ambition. I believe you can’t write and publish anything without ambition, fearlessness and imagination. You have to believe in yourself before you write or type a word, well at least if you want to become a successful author.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author? The best piece of advice I received was from a book entitles killing the sacred cows of publishing by Dean Wesley Smith. He mentions the importance of writing fast and not being bogged down with writing one novel. It keeps writers from obsessing over reviews and writing the perfect novel.

What are you doing next? I’m working on the novel: Can I Help You Please?

What advice would you give aspiring writers? Believe in your gift and never be afraid to add your unique spin to storytelling. Keep writing and read everything.

bio: Mansu Edwards is a prolific artist who continually challenges art forms with boldness and creativity. He delights in using autonomous monikers to signify a transformative experience when engaging in innovative artistic creations. In 2016, Mr. Edwards produced, wrote and directed his first short film, “Texting In New York City”. A work inspired from people’s responses to the street marketing of its paperback (text) edition. Later on during the year due to positive feedback from the Harlem Writer’s Group in regards to the movie script, he released a literary screenplay version of “Texting In New York City”. A film trailer would soon follow. Past works by Mr. Mansu include; The Disappearance of Hate (2009), Mental Diet (2010,2011), Biscuits And Yogurt Vol. 1 (2014) and Texting In New York City (2014,2016). He has appeared on Manhattan Neighborhood Network’s Max And Natalie LIVE! and several podcasts including: The Citizen Heroes, Julio And Dr. Chan, The Curious World Of Vandal Truong, Lawrence J. King’s Book Talk Radio and Let’s Talk Books With Lady Essence. He’s currently working on the experimental novel, “Can I Help You Please?” and a multitude of book projects.

 

Links: 

  1. https://payhip.com/b/0puH
  2. https://www.amazon.com/Emojis-Vs-Punctuation-Marks-Keyboard/dp/0692068457/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519592260&sr=8-1&keywords=Mansu+Edwards
  3.  https://www.wattpad.com/story/139743377-emojis-vs-punctuation-marks-battle-of-the-keyboard
  4. instagram: Mansu Edwards
  5. www.twitter.com/ohassa
  6. www.facebook.com/mansuedwards
  7. www.facebook.com/textinginnewyorkcity
  8. https://www.goodreads.com/search?utf8=&search%5Bquery%5D=Mansu+Edwards

 

© The Literary Librarian 2018

Interview – Holly Lyn Walrath – Glimmerglass Girl

Glimmerglass GirlBook Name and Description: Glimmerglass Girl

Glimmerglass Girl is about femininity and feminism, how we negotiate our past as women and our present, how we other ourselves into creatures and what we pass on. VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts calls this book “. . . an intersection between ethereal loftiness, humorous speculation, and poignant consideration . . . a collection of poetry and images that encourage readers to be more than they perceive themselves to be.”

Interview Questions:

What gave you the idea for Glimmerglass Girl?

The title of this book comes from the lead poem, “Espejitos,” (appears in Isacoustic: https://isacoustic.com/2018/04/14/person-holly-lyn-walrath-one-poem/) which refers to the Spanish name for the glass-winged butterfly and translates to “little mirrors.” When I started to research this butterfly, I discovered that although it appears to be delicate and fragile with transparent wings, it’s actually quite poisonous and capable of pulling up to 40 times its weight. I thought this was a fitting metaphor for womanhood because women are often expected to be fragile or more sensitive when, in fact, we are quite resilient. Butterflies also have a long tradition in folklore as being representative of the souls of the dead, so this mascot appealed to my love of dark things.

 What got you into writing in this genre?

I’ve written poetry since I was in high school. Poetry is my first love, and my friends can tell you that I will try to convert anyone I meet to the cult of the poetic. Poetry wraps all my favorite things about writing into a neat package: lyricism, imagery, voice, sound, rhythm, and concise word choice.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve worked at a jeans store, as a financial advisor, at an ice cream shop, at a print shop, as a receptionist, any number of odd jobs. About four years ago, I told myself I was going to commit to my writing. It just happened to happen at a time when my life was shifting and I was able to quit my job. I started freelancing and writing full-time. I don’t regret that decision at all, I just regret that it took me so long to get there.

What is the writing process like for you? What is your writing day like? What have been the biggest influences on your writing?

My writing routine changes all the time because my schedule as a freelance editor is constantly shifting. On a good writing day, I sit down to read on my patio and get some inspiration from books I love. Then I’ll write for an hour or so, sometimes working from prompts or just playing around. There are times where I write every day, but for the most part I have to take the time for my work. It’s not easy to juggle all the demands of the world. I also like to play with writing every day in NaPoWriMo and NaNoWriMo.

What is your favorite book (other than your own book, of course) and why? What book disappointed you and why?

One of my favorite books is The Lord of the Rings. When I was a little kid, my mom would read The Hobbitto me and do all the voices. In middle school I got obsessed and read the whole series, but I was so devastated when Gandalf “died”! Now when I look back on those books, I realize that they have shortcomings too. These days I’m reading more women’s voices and trying to widen my scope of reading experience. But I still have a soft spot for Gollum . . . my precious.

What piece of your own work are you most proud of?

One of my favorite stories that I’ve written is “The Joy of Baking,” which first appeared in Luna Station Quarterly and is available in audio version on my website. (http://www.hlwalrath.com/thejoyofbaking.html). I wrote this story for my spouse, who is a physical therapist in a cardiology unit at a children’s hospital. He deals with death, and in particular the death of children, on a daily basis. I like to bake and James will often help me out in the kitchen. One day, I was looking for a new story idea and he begged me to write a story about baking . . . which quickly evolved into a little tale that answers the question: What if purgatory came with free cake?

What are you doing next?

I’m working on several projects at once because I get bored easily. My ongoing project is a series of erasures of male canonical authors like Hemingway and Cormac McCarthy. I’m also working on a series of tiny poems, trying to compress my writing as much as possible. And of course, I’m always working on short stories in the science fiction and fantasy realm.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

I love the writing advice of Chuck Wendig, “You do you.” I think being yourself and advocating for the things you love is one of the best ways to approach writing. We all want to be successful, to get our names out there, but if you’re not doing what you love, what’s the point? Even though the things I write are often cross-genre and intersectional, combining art and words or realism and the fantastical, I don’t mind that these are considered “experimental.” I write what I love, what excites me, what feels true. That’s the best advice writers can follow, as corny as it sounds.

bio:

Holly Lyn Walrath’s poetry and short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Fireside Fiction, Luna Station Quarterly, Liminality, and elsewhere. Her chapbook of words and images, Glimmerglass Girl,will be published by Finishing Line Press in 2018. She holds a B.A. in English from The University of Texas and a Master’s in Creative Writing from the University of Denver. She is a freelance editor and host of The Weird Circular, an e-newsletter for writers containing submission calls and writing prompts.

Links:

Author’s Website: http://www.hlwalrath.com/

Author’s Twitter: http://twitter.com/hollylynwalrath

Author’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/holly__lyn/

Order Glimmerglass Girl: https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/glimmerglass-girl-by-holly-lyn-walrath/

© The Literary Librarian 2018