I am pleased to welcome Jess Kristie to Warrior Wednesdays this week. As promised at the beginning of the Warrior Interview series, I would feature all types of creative individuals in this series. Jess is a published poet. That is her first love. I understand this as poetry is my first love. But Jess is not just a poet, she is a creative writer who is working on a novel. So make yourselves comfortable while I sit down with Jess and discuss Poetry, Creativity and writing.
girl with a quill: Tell us a bit about yourself. Who is Jess Kristie?
Jess: I am many things and depending on the day, I might have a different answer for you. What I am most proud of is being a mother, a friend, an honest person and a writer.
girl with a quill: When did you decide that you wanted to be a Writer?
Jess: I have been writing since I was ten, so it seems to have always been there. As far as for a profession, it was only in the last several years that I put my heart and soul into it.
girl with a quill: You identify yourself as a poet in this sentence from your website: “Poetry is my heart, anchors my soul and documents my journey.”. Publishing poetry can be a difficult road. Can you share with us how you got to the point of having a published book of poetry?
Jess: It is definitely a difficult road to say the least. Poetry feels to be lost in so many that it is notoriously difficult to market. Publishers tend to not want to go down that road or if they do they only publish a handful of books every year along with their other books. It takes determination and heart to keep going. I made a conscious decision to make a manuscript and to query it out. I was honored to find a publisher and an audience who is interested in my work.
girl with a quill: Many people in 9-5 jobs have a water-cooler space where they go to talk with their colleagues about work issues. Do you have a “water-cooler” group for your writing life?
Jess: My water-cooler is mainly in my head. If I have an issue I do the research to fix it or find the answer. I am lucky to have had several kind people reach out and give me advice or support. We all need a form of community as struggling artists and there is a lot of support out there, you just have to look for it.
girl with a quill: Who or what is the greatest influence on you as a writer? and Why?
Jess: Probably more the what than the who. I tend to pull my inspiration from all forms of life and the lifeless. I try to open up so that all things can inspire and therefore influence my words. If we can reach in and find something beyond the surface, then we can also find a uniqueness to every situation, object, or even person.
girl with a quill: Tell us about the place that you write? What do you fill that space with?
Jess: Sometimes music, sometimes silence, but always a window.
girl with a quill: Are you working on any fictional or non-fiction MS at the moment or do you want to remain focused on your poetry? If you are working on fiction, what genre will it be in?
Jess: I feel it is important for all poets to branch out beyond poetry to grow their writing skills and find what other areas they may be good at writing in. I have my first fictional novel in the works that falls primarily into the drama genre. I am developing an idea right now for my second novel as well.
girl with a quill: Tell us about your writing process from that magical moment when the idea / character voice interrupts your thoughts…what happens next?
Jess: When it comes to poetry I spin pretty quickly. If I have an inspiration my pen will just flow. Sometimes it is magic and sometimes it needs some touching up. I believe heavily in revisions and editing but have learned that there is a fine line between editing and picking apart. I have had to learn to let go and just let things be sometimes.
girl with a quill: Can you tell us a bit about the book you have published?
Jess: Dreaming in Darkness is a contemplative collection of poetry that takes you on a journey of passion and anguish, and makes you feel the acceptance and regret that life imposes on us all. My hope was that every reader would feel the validation of their pain and discover empowerment through understanding.
girl with a quill: Why do you write?
Jess: To heal, forgive and understand.
girl with a quill: How would you describe your poetry in 5 words?
Jess: Raw, honest, heavy and heartfelt.
girl with a quill: Do you have a common theme or Omni-Premise that threads its way through all your writing? If so, what is it?
Jess: My themes run through the constant dissection of human emotion. I am captivated by not only my feelings and reactions but also those around me. Writing about these things always brings some greater level of understanding.
girl with a quill: If you found a golden lamp with a genie and he told you he could either make one of your stories come true or that you could become a character for a short time in another author’s book, which option would you choose and why?
Jess: Definitely the character in another’s book. My poetry often runs on a darker road and whether it was through another’s eyes or my own, in a sense I have already lived it. It would be nice to take a break into someone else’s imagination for a change.
girl with a quill: What is more important to you: Story or Character? Why?
Jess: That is a tough question because with successful books they both seem to take center stage, if not each developed equally as strong. This doesn’t mean that one does not take precedence over the other, but each has to play its role powerfully and effectively.
girl with a quill: If you could throw a dinner party and invite 5 famous creative people, who would they be and why?
Jess: Maya Angelou, John Stewart, Eminem, Pablo Neruda, and Tom Englund. This group encompasses the musical, political and poetically artistic genres. They hit hard and are beautifully creative.
girl with a quill: If you could give you yourself one piece of advice at the beginning of your writing career, what would it be?
Jess: Research all of your options, know your market and be prepared for a lot of hard work!
girl with a quill: What is the one piece of writing advice you could give your future self, 10 years from now?
Jess: Don’t give up, no matter what.
girl with a quill: What do you want your lasting legacy, as a writer, to be?
Jess: That I wrote with honest integrity, and with grace.
girl with a quill: Where can we find your book for sale?
Jess: Dreaming in Darkness is available on Amazon and will be reaching paperback in the next few months.
girl with a quill: Finally where can we find on the web?
Twitter: @JessKristie http://twitter.com/jesskristie