If you could spend time with one author from the past, who would it be and why?
Henry David Thoreau. I am a huge fan of his writing and feel like we have a lot of similar interests and viewpoints that would enable us to enjoy each other's company immensely. I can totally see us getting lost in deep conversation and also just as easily enjoying nature in silence.
What are some of your favorite books, and why?
(not in order of preference)
any/all books by J.E. Glaze, because his poetry is excellent and significant to me in a way no other poetry has been
7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess -Jen Hatmaker, because its message is humbling and challenging
If You Feel Too Much: Thoughts on Things Found and Lost and Hoped For -Jamie Tworkowski, because its message is important and resonates deeply with me
Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World -Bob Goff, because it is beautiful and inspiring
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking -Susan Cain, because its information and message are necessary, relevant, and powerful.
The Scarlet Letter -Nathaniel Hawthorne, because its themes are powerful and insightful
The Secret Garden -Frances Hodgson Burnett, because it speaks to the tremendous power of nature
Veronika Decides to Die -Paulo Coelho, because it is unique commentary on mental health, life, and beauty
Walden -Henry David Thoreau (pretty much anything by Thoreau, really) because of the focus on simplicity and nature
What are some of your first memories of writing?
The first memory I have of a particular work of writing was when I wrote a story in 2nd grade that was published in the local newspaper. It was about how cats got whiskers, and my take was that a cat fell asleep on a pile of sticks that "melted" into its face somehow. Thankfully, my poetry is better than any of my other writing over the years!
As far as poetry, I distinctly remember my first interest in poetry being during our 8th grade poetry unit. That was when I first began to write poetry, and I enjoyed it. My freshman year of high school was when I first started writing poetry voluntarily on my own, as a way to process life.
What are the joys of writing for you?
It's an outlet of expression; it helps me process thoughts, experiences, emotions, etc. Also, it's a double-bonus that in doing so, I am also creating something that did not before exist. Furthermore, I am creating something that has beauty and significance (even if just to me!).
This is the case regardless of the means of inspiration, which is another favorite thing about writing (particularly poetry). I never cease to be amazed at how different poems are birthed in such different ways.
Some poems are obviously very personal and true to specific experiences. Others start at a point of personal experience or observation (nature, a movie, a song, or a thought) but then become their own thing entirely separate from actual personal experience.
Still others, the really fun ones, seemingly come from out of nowhere! These astound and humble me and are often some of my very favorite poems.
What are your 10 favorite animals?
(not in order of preference)
blue heron cat deer dog frog goose owl turtle whale wolf
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Other than a teacher (yay!), I had "secret ambitions" of becoming an astronaut and a radio deejay.
What has Smashwords meant to you in your publishing?
Well, I am still very new to Smashwords. However, already I am so thankful for the opportunity Smashwords provides. If it weren't for this free service, I probably would have never published anything.
It's not just that it's free, either. The Style Guide was super helpful and easy to follow. I had my doubts about doing all the formatting myself (especially since it's poetry), but it was really pretty painless because of the guide! I had no issues with it not uploading correctly or anything; I was really pleased with the process.
For someone like me who was just publishing to get it out there and see what happens, I am really grateful for how good a fit Smashwords has been for me!
What is the story behind your latest book?
Well, the title and idea is based on a favorite quote from Renoir, the famous painter: "The pain passes, the beauty remains." This was said in reference to Renoir's determination late in life to continue painting even when it was very painful due to arthritis.
That has stuck with me since I first came across it, and the quote seemed to fit well my purpose and message for the collection of poems. No matter what life brings our way, there is always beauty. For me, there is beauty in the process of expressing, in the poetry itself, in the way I can choose to see and remember events of the past and present circumstances.
What is your all-time favorite poem?
"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost. My high school senior year English teacher (mentioned on my Dedications page in my book) can attest to this, believe me! I'm not sure she knew quite how to respond to my extent of analysis on that poem!
What is your favorite song?
I claim "Bring It On Home" (Little Big Town) as my all-time favorite, but there are many close second-favorites!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm a teacher, and most of my time is spent on teacher-related activities. This is not a complaint; I enjoy my job a lot and feel very blessed to be where I am and doing what I'm doing, so that is awesome. When I'm not doing teacher stuff; my time is split between my family, church, friends, writing, reading, photography, going for walks & hiking, and other odds and ends.
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