with Isabelle Kenyon:
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Isabelle: Probably about 13, and it was a mix of short stories, comedic comics and poetry! My Granny Olga inspired me to write and help me submit my work to young adult anthologies. At that age I was reading widely so I guess my first influences were writers like Malorie Blackman and JK Rowling. Poetry reading was something I got into after the age of 18. Probably because it is so badly taught in schools!
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Isabelle: Probably Miranda July or Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, although I do tend to name book titles rather than authors. Both have a distinctive style and I remember their characters years after reading their books.
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing?
Isabelle: In New Mills, Derbyshire, although it is such a sleepy place I hope it hasn’t influenced my writing! Occasionally I write something about Stockport, the general area where I went to college, but I probably wouldn’t write about my school experiences. I don’t believe you always need to ‘write what you know’.
Q4: Have any travels away from home influence your work/describe?
Isabelle: My first poetry chapbook was Digging Holes To Another Continent, which was entirely written during the three weeks I spent in New Zealand in 2017. It was my first book publication with Claire Songbirds Publishing House in New York, and I remember that moment being so exciting, realising that my writing could be good enough to be published, especially by a non-UK publishing house!
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Isabelle: Anything that I’ve done writing wise has been for fun and so I don’t think there’s been a pivotal moment, it has just always been something I enjoy experimenting with. Same with becoming a publisher, I wanted to do something in which I worked with like-minded people, and fell into having an imprint and publishing other writers!
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Isabelle: On the whole, anyone who truly knows me knows I don’t relax… But theoretically salsa dancing, going on a walk with the dog, or going to see a play, maybe an art gallery! I relax when I chat with friends.
Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?
Isabelle: I’m doing a publishing workshop for Cheltenham Poetry Festival in July which should be a lot of fun and I recently did feature slot at Dragonfly Spoken word night. It was great to feel supported by an international audience!
Q8: What is one of your favorite lines from a poem of yours or others or favorite art piece?
I find the work of Tracey Emin very powerful. Her quilt work arts is actually the size of a vast room and it’s really powerful to see in person.
Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?
Isabelle: I think it is Monday Night Group, which is currently an online feedback writing group based in Manchester, has helped me vastly because the critique allows me to keep myself on track (prepping my work to read weekly) and have an outside perspective on my own editing! Also Haley Jenkins from Selcouth Station is an excellent editor and I really enjoy her feedback service as she brings out elements which I have not yet considered developing such as character complexities and logic of the story world queries!
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Find Isabelle’s latest poetry chapbook ‘Growing Pains’ with Indigo Dreams Publishing check it out here!