Sharing the tips I've learned about writing and publishing.
Interview with Author, Debra Ann Elliot, on Poetry and Prose
You’ve now written two books with the first being, Life Through the Rearview Mirror, which is a reflection of your life. What made you decide to put your life in print for all to read?
I had a lot of poetry gathering dust and when my mother-in-law passed away I had written a poem about her death and decided I wanted to create a lasting memory for my words and thoughts. The book was put together for myself, but I was thankful that others did want to read my honest words.
This book is about the brutal honesty of life. Life isn't all a bed of roses, it's also the thorns. And those thorns make a person stronger and I hope that's what this book did or will do.
Your website lists it as only 57 pages? Is that correct? How did you decide to price the book?
Yes, the publisher only required 50 poems and I didn't set the price as I didn't self-publish.
I see it is published by Publish America. What was your process in choosing a company to publish your book?
I chose PA because I wanted to set my words to print. PA is not a self-publisher. I didn't pay them, but they are almost like a POD(Print-On-Demand) publisher. I really didn't have much say in the process.
You also have a 2nd book called Turning Leaves which isa book of poetry. I’m always in awe of those who write poetry as I wonder about how you handle meter and all the rest that goes with writing in a poetic style.
Turning Leaves was completed over a year ago. I had more poems I wanted to put together in a book and PA afforded me the opportunity to do so. I don't really have a 'magic' formula per se as to how I write my poetry. I write what's in my heart and soul. I was blessed with a God-given talent and I just write. Sometimes I do say a word out loud to find a rhyme for it. I like to use off-beat words to make my words flow.
I see you’ve also contributed to several anthologies. What advice would you give others who might consider writing a piece for one of these type books?
My advise is to write what you feel. I don't follow rules. When I sit down to write the words just flow. My rejections do outweigh my acceptance, but that's part of the writer's life and I am O.K. with that aspect.
I also see a link to “Oasis for YA.” Are you considering writing for the YA genre?
I had been considering that genre, but now my plate is full with life and I no longer work on it.
You also have a COEXIST side banner on your blog. I’ve always thought of that as being the thinking that all religions have equal value and worth. That one is just as true as another. What does it mean to you?
I think all peoples should coexist, whether it is religion, culture or community. We all came from the same place and we all are looking for the same things (peace and freedom). One of my favorite poems that reflects what it really means to coexist is “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus which is on a plaque at the Statue of Liberty.
What do you do to promote your books?
I was never active in promoting by book except through word of mouth and my websites. Writing is a funny business and I wish I had paid more attention to the business aspect.
What writing tips would you like to share with others?
Buy books on your craft. Write what you know, but also what you feel.
Thank you for the interview. If you would like to learn more about Debra’s writing, here is a link to her blog.