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I am doing research for my third book, and I was curious as to the widely held beliefs on this topic. You can just answer the poll or answer and expand on your answer in the comments!
Thank you for participating!
On the off chance you don’t follow me on Twitter, you have missed out. The hilarious, intelligent, and oftentimes dirty banter between the following author and I runs long and deep. (That’s what she said) Hear what Poet Robert Zimmermann has to say about books, blogs, and Mary Poppins in what is his first interview, but most certainly won’t be his last.
How old were you when you began writing?
I was, um I need to actually think about this. I was in eleventh grade. It was late September or early October, 2004. So I was…..opens up calculator on computer…fifteen? I think that’s about it. Sorry, those days are a blur and I never really pay attention to age.
Why have you chosen poetry as your medium over novels, or short stories?
Damn, you’re really trying to make me work here. Oh well. I need a good mental workout anyway.
I chose poetry because it comes easy to me. There’s more to it than that, but above all it’s easier for me to write poetry than another other form of writing (and I’ve tried). I think another reason is because it is what I first started doing when I began writing. One day (a day in Sept/Oct 2004) I walked into school and my then girlfriend handed me a poem she wrote for me. Something in my mind clicked. “I can write poetry as well.”
Who were your favorite poets growing up?
This is a funny question. I don’t think I had my first book of poetry until I bought one my freshman year of college. I only had a small amount of knowledge about poets from probably a week’s worth of lessons in some English class.
So let’s change that to “Who were your favorite poets when you became a big kid in college?” Yea that sounds better.
My answer: Robert Frost, Jim Morrison (for those who don’t know, read his books not just his lyrics,) Walt Whitman. Those were some of my earliest purchases and I still enjoy reading them all.
Who are your favorite modern poets?
I don’t know what you’re definition of modern is. When I was taking classes it was basically Whitman & Dickenson to today’s poetry. You can also think modern is just contemporary I guess. (If you haven’t noticed I like to question your questions. I’m just cool like that.)
As I said in the previous question, Frost, Morrison, and Whitman. There are some more great poets who I think I enjoy even more and have influenced me greatly as well. Sylvia Plath is a big one. There are also poets here and there that I’ve read a few poems of but would like to read more. So I can’t say they’re my favs.
Aside from the typical answers I just gave there are a few poets that just blow me away. One’s my favorite professor from my last few years of college, James Allen Hall. He has one book out and I think reading it helped me learn even more than just what he taught in his classes. Through Hall I was introduced me to Jericho Brown’s book Please. I had the pleasure of meeting him at a reading as well.
To finish up this long answer, I’d like to say that one of my top favorites now is Marie Howe. Simply put she’s amazing to the point that I sat in the college library on two consecutive occasions to read her book. (That’s a big deal because I don’t like libraries, especially because of the tease of reading a book but not being able to keep it.)
If you had to choose one poet, whose work you idolized, who would it be?
ONE poet? Are you mad? OK, we know you are a bit, but who isn’t.
It’d be a close race between a few of the poets listed above. To choose one, I think I’d go with James Hall. This is very much due to the way he helped me develop my own poetry. I don’t think that if I had another professor for my poetry workshop, that I would have turned my poetry into what it is today.
For that experience and his poetry in general, I’d idolize him. I’m not sure if I’d frame his picture and kiss it every night before bed, but he’ll be in my thoughts when I’m struggling with a poem.
Why do you hate Mary Poppins? She is practically perfect in every way.
Ok to explain this to the readers who don’t follow us on Twitter (how dare you, people at least follow Jess. You don’t NEED to follow me, but it’d make me smile a bit if you did): There was a conversation about Disney movies, etc recently. It got to the point where I stated I didn’t like musicals. Mostly this is musicals on movie form. I don’t like Mary Poppins because of this, and it’s too long of a kids movie. I can’t sit down for a movie unless it’s REALLY ENGAGING. Most of the time I’ll start it and watch the rest later if I can’t sit still long enough.
The character of Mary Poppins, I have no problem with. I want to (if I ever find them) read the Mary Poppins books. So I stick my tongue out to you because I don’t hate her. I just loathe the movie.
What topic do you find yourself writing about most?
Early on, my poetry was basic “boy figuring out love” stuff. Writing poems about love and what I felt at the moment. There was some other observational stuff about the world. Most of it though I don’t know, it’s just what it is.
Recently, I find myself…OK not recently because I finally wrote my first poem in over a year…writing about my life. Mainly my father comes up as a topic. With that the overall broken family situation.
Sounds like a great uplifting read doesn’t it? Well, it’s not but it’s the emotion I seem to thrive on and so far with the small collection of that stuff I have, I feel that it’s helped me figure out things inside my own mind better. It was sort of a therapy, better than anything I could have gotten from avoiding the topic (which I think I did for too many years).
How do you feel when it comes to rhyming in poetry?
DON’T DO IT!!!!!
Let me summarize that last statement…DON’T DO IT!!!!!
Ok really this time. Rhyming has its place in poetry. A majority of that place was back in the eighteen hundreds. Also it has a great place and necessity in children’s books.
I think that most people who rhyme in their poetry don’t have an understanding that it’s not necessary. If you ask someone when they are first starting out, to write a poem (in my experience) the first question they’ll ask when needing help is: “What can I rhyme with the word coffee?” That’s just a random word, if they are good enough to put coffee in a poem (yum I love coffee) then they probably aren’t rhyming.
Back to my point. It can be pleasing to the ear to read rhyme, but normally for me I get caught in the pattern and forget the rest of the word on the line. I want something much more engaging than a poem that’s pleasing to the ear. I don’t want to fly through the rhyme and miss the meat of the poem.
For those who do rhyme and do it well, more power to you. I look forward to enjoying those poems.
So bottom line, do it at your own expense. Don’t do it because you think poems need rhyme, because they don’t. Do it because the poem you are writing will benefit from it.
Have you ever written a poem for someone? If so, who?
I have about 300 written for a “someone.” A few people technically. Those were mainly for girlfriends. As I said my early work was all lovey dovey (shitty).
With my newer stuff, the work I’m actually proud of, you can also say I wrote it for someone. I wrote one as a letter to my father. A few others also seem to be directed to him. They weren’t really written for him though. It was more he’s the subject, but not the audience I aim to get the words to. I don’t know really how that would go if he did read them…I won’t even get into that though. Ultimately I wrote them for myself. Through writing the poems, I gained insight into my feelings, my past, and who I really am as a person.
What is your favorite part of your blog?
I really just started blogging, so there’s not much to be favorited (new word?)
What I enjoy most about doing a blog is really just all of it. I’d be reading books anyway. By doing the reviews I have opened myself up to a world of new writers and great people. I also like that with the other random posts and the new “Authors I Love” series of posts I’m doing, I get to share who I am. It’s cool to be able to get myself out there and find people like me. The comments are also a great thing about blogging. Discussing something after it’s been posted and read by people around the world, that’s very entertaining and rewarding.
Who are your favorite current writers? (Aside from me of course)
Yes, for sure you’re one of my favorite current writers Jess. I’m not just saying that because you are so kind to let me review your book AND interview you…then in turn interview me. It’s true, you’ve written a great book.
Other great writers I’ve recently fallen in love with:
Rebecca Hamilton: She’s the author of The Forever Girl. It’s a great book, and the beginning of what will turn into an equally great seven book series (along with novellas).
S.M. Boyce: She wrote the first book of her Grimoire Trilogy, called Lichgates. It’s a great book taking place in the beautiful and treacherous world of Ourea. Check it out, the trilogy will be EPIC…also one word needs to be said: FLICK!
Ok, let’s speed this up. I don’t need to keep advertising for great writers, their work tells it all. Brandon Luffman, Noree Cosper, TL Tyson, Karina Halle, and J. Scott Sharp.
I have been introduced to many great writers recently, so I’ll just stick to those names right now. If you need more check out who I follow on Twitter, there are SO MANY.
Do you ever worry that your massive collection of books will crush you to death one day?
Well this is a great question. It’s just so great of a question that I’ll share a tiny widdle itty bitty story with you. A few weeks ago I was either searching for a book in my various shelves or just reorganizing, doesn’t really matter which I guess. So I was looking through the hardcovers and put a few stacks on the top shelf to clear up the lower ones. All of a sudden I hear a noise and look up just in time to have a stack of five nice sized hardcovers crash onto my face. I think it made me prettier at least. There was no blood luckily, don’t want to ruin the books. It was just a sore face and a look of disbelief that my books attacked me. It lasted only a few minutes.
That’s the only near death experience with my books…so far. Aside from that, I don’t think it’d be easy to be crushed by them unless I lie on the floor and wait for the shelves to give way. Even the ones at the foot of my bed will only crush my legs. So I’m good, I think.
If you could take one book with you to a deserted island, what book would it be?
Easy, I’d look up (before I willingly get put on the deserted island…since well if I can take a book with me I have enough time for Google and a trip to the store. Or Amazon. Do they ship to deserted islands?) the best guide to surviving fucked up predicaments like living on a deserted island. I’d be an expert by the time someone came to check up on me since it’s the only book I’d be able to read there.
Do you want a more “typical” answer? I’m sure you do. One book to choose for a stay on a deserted island would be Stephen King’s The Stand. I was going to say War and Peace or some other insanely epically lengthy classic, but I’ll stick to the King. There are others that are my favorites, but I’m going to be there for quite a while. I need something with a massive amount of pages. This way I can forget the beginning before I get to the end. Each time I read it, it’ll be like reading it for the first time. It’s also because it’s one my TBR list for this year and I really want to get to it. OK I should probably grab that right? I see hear a helicopter in the area, I’m guessing your men are on their way for me.
Ok got it, I think I have time to answer one more question before they kidnap me.
What is your favorite thing you have ever written?
Oh, all this favorite crap. Can’t people just be happy to write, haha. To be honest I don’t know what my favorite thing I’ve written is. I know it’s something in the collection I’m working on. I have a few favorites in there. Basically there was a favorite, then I wrote another and I loved that one, and so on.
If you really want me to pick one, I would go with a poem called Your Blue Suit. It’s one of two I wrote with my grandfather as the main subject. He passed away the May before I wrote this collection and this poem was REALLY hard for me to write, but it helped me deal with a lot of things. So, yea, that and the other one about him Stuck would be some of my favorite pieces.
Who am I? That's easy, I'm me. Oh yea, more about me. Well I can be identified as a poet dabbling in fiction here and there. I also love books and read as much as I can. I run the blog, A Life Among The Pages where I review the latest books I get my hands on. I also post some poems or stories I work on along with random book related posts.
I'm the proud owner of two pointless college degrees (A.A. Humanites & B.A. Creative Writing). That means I still live at home. But I'm surrounded by numerous books and a strange but adorable puppy named Deuc.
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I have had the privilege of meeting tons of cool people on Twitter. Among them I have found a select few who love and appreciate Oscar Wilde to the extent that I do. He was a brilliant man, who was far before his time. I can't even express how much his writing effects mine.
One of these awesome people goes by the name T.L Tyson. She has a great blog and wrote the following. It is an Interview with Oscar Wilde told from the perspective of an eager young writer.
Follow her on Twitter for updates. You won't regret it!
I love this, it was fantastically written. Not to mention it won the contest.
An Interview With Oscar Wilde Read it here!!!
Here is something that many readers take for granted. Writing. Is. Hard! Especially if you intend your book to be part of a larger series, you must plan for every character, every place, your timing must be perfect like a fine waltz. It’s nearly impossible to do so seamlessly, and can often be tedious for the reader. The writer struggles oftentimes to bring characters to life and work them into the world we all know.
Yet there is always an exception.
I bought the novel Lichgates (Book One in the Grimoire Trilogy) about two weeks ago. All I knew at the time was the brief synopsis given on Amazon, and that I liked the author, S.M Boyce very much.
Here is the tale, and I warn you now, I cannot do it justice in one measly paragraph:
“Kara Magari is just a regular girl on a hike. One day she chooses to take the way less traveled by (not always the best idea Mr. Frost) and stumbles through a Lichgate. What is a Lichgate you may ask? It is a portal, wormhole, trapdoor in this world, leading straight through to another one. The world of Ourea. She finds herself in a library, and curiosity prods her to investigate the one book that will change her life forever. The Grimoire. The note attached seals her fate.
“From the moment you read these words, you will be hunted.”
Kara begins the journey through Ourea. Quickly meeting Braeden Drakonin, a Blood Prince to an Evil King. Braeden is looking for a way out, a true escape from his father’s grasp since he has been lying and hiding since he was twelve years old. “
My immediate thought, ‘here we go, another forbidden romance’.
I’ve never been happier to be wrong in my life!
Kara is strong. She has been through a lot but is never a wilting flower. She accepts her new role, but not so readily a completely new destiny. People get hurt, people die, and sometimes the bad guys get the upper hand. Instead of a romance novel, we get a love story. An honest to God, love story played out in every facet possible. Kara and Braeden struggle with having lost the people they loved most in their worlds. At its core, Lichgates is about loving your Kingdom, your home, your family, your people, your ways, and figuring out how to love yourself when you feel broken beyond repair.
This book is very fairytale-esque but not of the Disney kind. It is fast paced, a constant adventure which is exceptionally rare for a first novel. Hell, it’s rare for any novel at all! It splinters into so much detail that I wouldn’t truly know where to begin describing the trials the characters must go through.
Together Kara and Braeden take a heroic journey. The story is an epic tale woven intricately and exceeding all expectation. I was instantly transported to my childhood bedroom. Reminded of the first time I ever read of the Great Aslan and his land of Narnia. The moment when I was nine and decided, I would cure my fear of water, for one day I would be The Lady of the Lake, and know Arthur and his Knights.
This story is rare, and I found myself feeling blessed to have gotten to read it. I truly believe it will be considered a ‘Classic’ in years to come. I have no trouble imagining my daughter one day wanting to be Kara, keeper of the Grimoire, as I once yearned to be Viviane of the Lake. To know there are writers out there still capable of producing such legends, simply makes me believe in the magic that books fundamentally are.
I tip my hat to Boyce, and I beg her to hurry up with the second installment!
I hope there are Unicorns.
Get your copy here!
The gorgeous Rebecca
After reading The Forever Girl by Rebecca Hamilton I had the privilege of getting to know her. Aside from being intelligent, clever, and downright riddled with awesome, she was kind enough to answer some of my lingering questions about her, and her kickass book.
Hey Rebecca! You are awesome for taking the time to do this, I really appreciate it! As you know I loved your first novel The Forever Girl. Why don’t you give a brief summary of the story?
Thanks for having me here, Jess :) I think YOU are the awesome one. And thank you so much for the compliment on The Forever Girl.
The Forever Girl is about Sophia Parsons’, a young Wiccan woman cursed with a hissing noise in her head that makes it hard for her to concentrate. She’s shunned by the town she lives in and, in many ways, even shunned by her own mother. She thinks a Wiccan spell might silence the static shhing through her skull, but instead the noise turning into whispers. When this leads her to look into her family history, she discovers an ancestor was hanged during the Salem witch trials and that the body went missing before burial. This sets Sophia off on her adventure to find out what really happened, in hopes that solving the mystery will end the family curse. Instead, she discovers a world full of vampires-like creatures, shapeshifting elementals, ghosts, supernatural grim reapers, and children ruled by the element of fire. Charles, an elemental with a dark past and many secrets, remains by her side as she clings stubbornly to her goal to unveil the truth about her ancestor. At first, he only wanted to help her, but soon he caves into his desires to do more than that. In the end, Sophia’s discoveries only thrust her further into this strange, dark new world.
Your book centers on the Wiccan Religion. Are you Wiccan, or did you do intense research on the subject for your novel to get such accuracy?
I’m not Wiccan. I was when I was younger, if that counts, but I’m non-religious. I think there is a lot of beauty in many religions, but there are a few religions (such as Wicca) that are painted in such an inaccurate and poor light, which is why I wanted to draw from that for this book (and most of this series). With all my books, I hope to help readers uncover the truth and beauty of the unknown. And that’s really what it comes down to. People don’t know what Wicca really is, and their assumptions are so far from the truth it’s scary. Hollywood doesn’t help with that. I guess they think the only way Wicca can “sell” is if it’s some dark evil craft. I say boo to that.
The Forever Girl takes place in a very small town. Did you grow up in a small town?
I didn’t grow up in a big city, but not really a small town, either. Maybe you could say I grew up in a big town?
Did you write a lot of yourself into the main hero Sophia?
Sophia has some traits similar to me. For example, reasoning things to the point of being unreasonable. Over-thinking things. Not always saying what she’s really thinking. In other ways, we’re not quite the same. I prefer coffee to tea (actually, my coffee tastes more like hot cocoa…). I’m also not as brave as she is and I’m decidedly lazier. I’d say every character I wrote has a piece of me in them, whether it’s a trait they got from me, or I used a trait within myself to create an opposite trait for them, or even if it’s just a trait I’ve observed in someone else at some point in my life.
If you could be one of the characters in your book, who would it be?
Are any of your characters based on the personalities of real people in your life? (Supernatural abilities aside of course)
As I said before, I think all my characters reflect something I’ve experienced in some way or another, so in that sense, yes. I don’t think I really wrote any of my characters with anyone in mind, though.
What is your favorite book? What books have inspired you?
The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard: This one challenged me to think outside the box on a story-level. The way the plot is woven together is ingenious and the occasional “rolling POVs” (that’s what I call them) break the rules in all the right ways. It goes to show that writing can still be creative and effective. It doesn’t have to be some color-by-number approach that we see when writers try too hard to stick to the newbie writing advice people like to shove down writers’ throats. Though this does mean that because I’ve intentionally opted to use these techniques, I occasionally get people who throw the “rule book” at me for my “newbie mistakes”. I just smile, though. The reader who reads for the sake of reading…they don’t have this problem.
What made you interested in writing Fantasy over another genre?
No idea. It just happened. And it’s fun to write. But I still have major interests in Horror and Literary Fiction (which make peek through my fantasy writing sometimes, too).
When writing, do you ever picture particular actors/actresses playing certain parts? If so, who?
No. My characters come to me as their own person. I have to “cast” them after the fact (when people ask me this) and it’s always hard because I’m thinking … well, they’d be great at playing themselves LOL. Problem is they don’t really exist. I have noticed, however, that it’s most fun to imagine all my male leads as Jensen Ackles.
What do you find to be the most difficult part of the writing process?
Rewriting. I know it needs to be done and I don’t mind having to do it. It’s the actually doing it part that I struggle with. I feel like my brain has to remember the whole story all at once, every step of the way, in order to rewrite. It kills me. Now, revising, editing, all that jazz? I don’t mind. I’m not married to my words or my story, but it’s easier to break up with the wording than it is to shuffle around and break up with and make new connections within the story. Brain hurts just thinking about it.
You are very active on Twitter. What is your favorite part of the Twitterverse?
Meeting cool people :) There’s so many friendly and talented people out there, and Twitter as opened up the world to me so that I can find more of them.
When can we look forward to the second book in The Forever Girl series?
The actually second book in the series? I’m aiming for January 2013. And with three kids and a full time job … I’m just hoping I can pull that off.
What was your favorite scene in The Forever Girl to write?
*****SPOILER ALERT KIDS, SPOILER ALERT*****
The Samhain scene, with Thalia and the rest of her Cruor coterie in the alley on Basker Street. I really enjoyed meeting Thalia in that scene. It was the first time I met her and I totally fell in love with her there, even if she is a baddie!
Thanks Rebecca! As you can see, she has excellent taste (especially about Jensen Ackles) Look for her on Twitter and pick up your copy of The Forever Girl today!
Since receiving my shiny new Kindle just a few months ago, I’ve been opened to the awesome world of new novelists. It has been a rocky adventure of books. Oftentimes awesome reads have sucked me in for days, other times I curse the heavens (in that very dramatic, TV movie sort of way) and then erase them from my Kindle immediately.
I’d seen some tweets concerning The Forever Girl by Rebecca Hamilton, but hadn’t fully sought it out. The cover was pretty, and the author’s tweets were fun. Finally, last week, after stumbling across the book for the millionth time, I took it as a sign. This book was intended for me.
I can say now, my only regret is that I didn’t buy it sooner!
I won’t give you too much back story. Partially because you can read the synopsis, but mostly I don’t trust myself with spoilers.
The bones of the tale are this: Sophia is an average girl, living in a painfully small town. She is very much the ‘Boo Radley’ of the neighborhood due to her Wiccan religion, and a very overzealous Christian woman who hopes to rid the town of her evil. As if being stalked by a crazy lady wasn’t enough, Sophia must deal with a constant hissing, a buzz that rattles around in her brain 24/7. She managed to go to college, and now hold a job, but the constant noise never leaves her mind. Curing her curse is her number one priority. That is until she meets a whole host of supernatural beings, some dangerous, some carrying very human burdens, and one downright sexy. She finds herself embroiled in a centuries old battle, first to find out about her own ancestry, then to save those she loves.
I loved this book, and I’ll give you just a few reasons why although I could probably come up with dozens.
I was a Wiccan for fifteen years. Rebecca Hamilton has been the ONLY fiction author I have ever read who described ritual, as well as Wiccan beliefs accurately and completely. For her insight and research, I applaud and respect her.
The main character Sophia drew me in from the beginning of the book. She has a crazy mother (who can’t relate to that) and is trying very hard to live her life, despite her hardships financially as well as medically (the constant noise in her head) As the book evolved my only complaint was Sophia’s fear of her own power and her raging self doubt. More than once, I wanted to hop into the story, shake her like a ragdoll and tell her she was strong enough to do anything! (There is also a sex scene I wouldn’t have minded hopping into as well. I’m telling ya, buy the book!)
Keeping the storyline moving was the lovable Charles. He is a member of the supernatural realm, and I don’t want to say too much on that, but he oozes sex appeal. He added some much needed humor to the extremely serious Sophia, and helped to keep the story moving at a good pace. Not to mention he sounds drop dead gorgeous, and there are a few scenes not intended for children in the book.
I have to tip my hat to Hamilton for my favorite line in the book. I don’t know if it was an intended knock on the ever popular yet poorly written Twilight series or not but as Charles pops up at Sophia’s window one night, she crossly asks him if he’s spying on her.
His response? “You’re not so interesting that I came to watch you sleep, darlin’.”
Rarely does a line literally make me laugh out loud as that one did.
Hamilton also manages to put together an excellent “supporting cast” of characters, including Sophia’s best friend Ivory, and Charles’s best friend Adrian. The characters are not only rich and welcoming additions, but they end up having very deep and meaningful backgrounds that assist in tying the entire story into a neat little bow. Personally, I love neat little bows, and so I was in reader heaven.
All in all the book was great. It wrapped up nicely while still leaving a few questions unanswered for the next books in the series. Those books I will not hesitate to buy. As I clicked The Forever Girl from my To-Read folder over to my Modern Classic folder, I stuck my kindle on my overflowing bookshelf, propping it next to the framed picture of my Grams and her pet cardinal from so many years ago, and smiled.
Don’t worry, you’ll understand everything, the book is only a click away!