My next interview is with the prolific poetess, writer, reviewer, Founder of The Review Board, and blogger Queen of Spades. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of the excellent new All Authors Magazine. Queen of Spades and her work can be found on the following websites:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/authorqueenofspades
Blog (A Queen’s Ramblings): http://aqueensramblings.blogspot.com
Website (Queen of Spades, Life Writer): http://www.authorqos.com
Details of all Queen of Spades’ works can be found by clicking the link to her Amazon.com author page below:
1. What is the happiest memory from your childhood?
It’s hard to pinpoint just one, so I will just take these combined to form a huge ball of happy:
(a) The day I received my first typewriter
(b) The times I would help my grandfather in his garden
(c) Riding alongside my grandfather when he would run errands
(d) Buying my very first book
2. Which person did you most admire as you were growing up?
The two people are my grandparents. I do believe most of my characteristics come from them. Call it the whole “skipping a generation” action, if you will.
3. Looking back from the maturity of an adult, are you able to forgive those of whom you write about so bitterly in Private Pain: Amidst These Ashes?
In my perception, I don’t think the tone of Private Pain: Amidst These Ashes was as bitter as it was “situations told in a passionate manner”. For example, if someone were to destroy your writings in a fire, you’re not going to write about that person in a “let’s give peace a chance” type of tone. You’re going to be peeved that someone destroyed something that is priceless to you. It’s emotion, at its most honest.
The very first poem (Rationale: Introduction) in Private Pain: Amidst These Ashes answers the question you’ve posed perfectly:
I do this not to hurt, but to heal:
To be able to look at the past and take away its power.
I do this not to hate, but to be able
To look at your face in the morning And still love.
4. Congratulations! One of your poetry collections, Private Pain: Amidst These Ashes, is a bestseller on Amazon. Does this go somewhat towards making up for the bad times you had to endure as a child?
Thanks for that. I don’t think there’s anything that can fully make up for the experiences during those times. Yet I do hope the publication of Private Pain: Amidst These Ashes helps others who have (or are currently going through) the type of situations outlined in the works.
5. Do you hope that the people you write about in some of your poetry (like Reflections of Soul and Private Pain: Amidst These Ashes) see your excellent reviews on Amazon?
If they do, fine. If they don’t, fine. That aspect I don’t really care about. I don’t write poetry as a jab of “I told you so” or “Look what I’m doing”. (Imagine a little girl sticking out her tongue.) I write because it feels as natural to me as breathing. Writing has been my catharsis from the jump, so forgive me if I laugh at the questions regarding my thoughts on “what others I could be writing about” must be thinking. It’s NEVER been about them. If I cared about what those people thought, I would have never published my work.
6. Have any literary agents contacted you regarding your bestseller status on Amazon?
No, not so far but I wouldn’t turn the prospect down.
7. Do you have a good relationship with your siblings now that you are all adults?
I cannot say that I do but that does stem from the fact that I’m the oldest and the only one raised by my grandparents. All the rest were raised in a difference place as well as environment so there is a big disconnect there.
8. If you could live your life all over again, which one thing would you change?
I would have been more pro active in my health. Some of the things are due to my genetics but other things I should have paid more attention to. I’m trying to rectify that in the present but I cannot help but imagine how things would have been if that element was changed.
9. Tell me more about your work as editor-in-chief of the excellent All Authors Magazine. Are sales increasing?
As editor-in-chief of the magazine, I do a variety of things. For one, I double check once the articles come in to make sure they don’t exceed word count. Although Y. Correa is the primary architect in terms of graphics and layout, I do go in and fine tune in terms of placement, spacing, adjusting hyperlinks and what not. I also assist in terms of themes for the magazine (the ones for 2015 have already been picked out) and deliver input on cover concepts for the magazine.
With anything that is new, steady as it goes in terms of sales. We have been getting terrific feedback from readers and fellow authors alike in terms of how much they love the contemporary nature and vivid colors of the magazine.
10. In your spare time you also write reviews for The Review Board. Do you feel guilty if you have to give a book a one-star review?
Guilt isn’t exactly the right word, simply because when a one-star review is given, it’s not given maliciously. It’s given because the work is substandard. The challenge does lie in the ability to deliver the suggestions to improve the work without the author taking professional suggestions as a personal attack. In my opinion, not saying anything not only takes away from a learning opportunity for the author but also the full gambit of reviews for the potential reader to look at and decide. The closest word to describe my feeling is “That’s unfortunate”, particular with a work that presented a strong blurb or story line that was executed horribly.
11. In the grand scheme of things, do you think there is an ultimate reason for our existence?
I do believe there is but some of us like taking the scenic route to get there. On this, I am guilty. I’ve had some type of creative ability dating back to when I was eight. I did draw before I got into writing but because of outside pressures (ranging from family to the environment), it gets programmed in you that if it doesn’t generate tons of money then it is useless and shouldn’t be pursued.
I have not gotten to the stage where I can retire and just live off my words, yet I no longer have those nagging clouds that fuss at me for “writing”. My purpose extends beyond me and I know there are people who have been touched and helped by what I write. To me, that is a wealth that cannot be topped.
12. Do you believe in an afterlife when our work on the Earth is done?
I’d like to hope so. I can see myself helping my grandfather with his garden in Heaven. Yet I am honest enough to admit that I have questions.
13. Where in the USA do you feel most at home?
Always in the South— particularly the Southeast.
14. Where would you like to travel to if you had the time, and money was no object?
Wow! That is a tough one because I can’t really pinpoint just one location. Canada and Mexico, for starters. The, off to visit Europe, particularly various parts of England. I’d love to visit France, Italy and Spain. Also various parts of Africa and Australia, too.
15. What is your all-time favourite book?
I don’t really have one. To choose just one would involve way too much pressure.
16. What is your favourite piece of music?
No particular favorite, thought there are certain types of music I listen to more than others. I’m a fan of rhythm and blues, rock, alternative, certain types of hip-hop and classical.
17. Have you started work on a novel yet? If so, what is it about?
Giggles…I am crawling before I walk, so to speak. I am enjoying the journey—the transition from doing primarily poetry to incorporating more of my short story muse. I am going to let the stories stream before diving into novel writing. If it is meant to be, it will be.
18. Are there any more writers’ projects that you are part of?
In April, I was part of a poetry anthology called “Words of Fire and Ice”. Then, in May, I was invited to submit pieces to MJ Holman’s book “The Sea of Conscience.” Just recently, I shared two of my short stories to a short story anthology entitled “Summer Shorts II: Best Kept Secrets” which came out June 21st.
19. Do you have any plans for the future?
Two emerging writers, Synful Desire and Da’Kharta Rising, are a part of my upcoming short story collection, Continuous Drips. I am anticipating a winter 2014 release date for it. All Authors Publications and Promotions are also putting together a short story anthology that will launch in 2015. No title has been given as of yet but the connective thread is unity.
In other words, writing, writing and more writing!
20. Do you have any advice for other Indie authors eager to make the bestseller lists?
(a) Presentation is paramount. Make sure that blurb and cover are enticing enough to grab attention.
(b) Have something about the work that stands out, particular if in a genre that is fiercely competitive. Stay relevant and stay authentic to yourself.
(c) Go beyond fly by networking. In some cases, there are authors who just connect with another person during a promotion, giveaway or blog blitz but don’t go beyond that realm of networking. Take time to get to know people that you network with. One may never know what connections that other person has. You may just gain an advocate of your work and even better, a friend.
(d) Utilize places one is already a part of. Koobug has served as a great resource, not only to really connect with people who appreciate my work but other great writers whose work is similar to mine. One prime example of that is my participation in MJ Holman’s book The Sea of Conscience, which is a best seller on Amazon UK.
(e) Do a promo to get people interested but continue to talk about your work after the promo is over. There are people who will buy your work (promo or not) if it is good work.
My thanks goes to Queen of Spades for agreeing to be interviewed, and for giving such candid answers.