A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Antonia Wang

with Antonia M. Wang

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Antonia: I started writing in high school at the request of friends who wanted to impress their love interests with romantic letters. You could say I was their “ghostwriter.” I continued to do this over the years. My early influences were the very love stories that inspired me to write. In a sense, I’ve always been an empathic writer, in that I’m able to portrait someone else’s feelings as my own. In 2007, I founded www.biteslove.com, a site that hosts most of my early poetry and exploration with language, both in English and Spanish.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Antonia: My biggest influence is my life experience, the places I’ve lived, the people I’ve met, and the many books I’ve read over the years, ranging from fiction to philosophy, self-help, and poetry. My 17-year yoga practice, and yoga teacher training also inform my writing, particularly on self-love, self-discovery, and mindfulness. Common themes in my writing are romance, philosophy, and reverence for the natural world. My poetic style has been compared to Dylan Thomas’ but this is coincidental, as I had not read his works until recently.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Antonia:

I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, in the beautiful mountain town of Jarabacoa. Living in the heart of the Cordillera Central, surrounded by mountains, rivers, and lush vegetation, I developed an acute appreciation for beauty in all its forms. There is a rich tradition of oral “décimas” (10-line rhyming verses) in the Dominican countryside. I grew up listening to my parents recite these often philosophical, mostly humorous verses.

I went to college in the United States and later returned to the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo before moving to California at age 27. I have lived in five states and have traveled extensively within the United States and abroad. Some of my favorite sites continue to be gardens and national parks. It is from this natural well that I draw inspiration, in addition to the experiences of being a wife and mother, which can be powerful muses of their own.

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work that you’ve done creatively so far?

Antonia: That would be In the Posh Cocoon, a luscious collection of poetry and full-color photography from my travels near and far. The poems are untitled, brief, and full of inspiration. The work has been described as unique, healing, and uplifting.

https://amzn.to/36KT6HT

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a poet/writer?

Antonia: I have been writing poetry for a long time, but never called myself a poet until I encountered the Writing Community on Twitter, particularly the #vss365 and #BraveWrite prompt organizers and participants. Playing with writing prompts and having a captive audience for words motivated me to publish my first poetry collection, Love Bites, in 2019.

https://amzn.to/36QqfBM

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Antonia: Yoga, reading, and hiking. I also love to cook and share my favorite Caribbean, Asian, and fusion recipes at www.biteslife.com.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Antonia: Hindsight 2020 is my most recent poetry collection. It explores the range of human emotions during an unforgettable year. Like many around the world, I lost my share of loved ones and was forced to rediscover myself amid grief, during a series of lockdowns. The book also includes romantic poems, and the philosophical insights I was able to glean from moments of introspection and meditation. It can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08Y16SP28.

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Antonia: “Words are never new. Thoughts are not original. Verses are light beams colored by experience, projected through unique vectors that intercept our angles, our tender spots, our dark.”

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Antonia: The #vss365 prompt organizers and participants, my friends and family, and the people who follow my writing and inspire me to continue on this creative journey.

2 Poems by Antonia Wang : “Waterfalls”& “Absence”

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Lucy Holme

with Lucy Holme:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Lucy: I started writing as a child, mainly short stories typed or printed out on that old fashioned green-lined computer paper with perforated margins. I wrote mad escapist dramas set in Greece about teenage detectives searching for runaways and penned a rather earnest poem called ‘Everest’ which won a competition at school and saw me receive an autographed copy of a Roger McGough anthology, one of my most treasured possessions as a child. 

I read Nabokov’s Lolita probably too early and loved Sylvia Plath as a teenager and as well as Hardy, D H Lawrence and English classic novels like Middlemarch and Pride and Prejudice. I really loved the war poets like Siegfried Sassoon and Robert Graves for the brutal, bleak realities of war and loss but I also had a huge love of my mum’s holiday novels – devouring Jilly Cooper, Jackie Collins, Jaqueline Susann et al and had read all of my sister’s Stephen King collection such as Carrie, Firestarter and The Shining and her quartet of the Virginia Andrews Flowers in the Attic books while I was still quite young. Alice Walker’s The Color Purple was the book that probably made the biggest impression on me as a child.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Lucy:

I am influenced and inspired by brilliant poets who have carved their own path and projected strong, singular voices weaving narratives of protest and injustice into their poetry like Eavan Boland, Claudia Rankine and Natalie Diaz, as well as the wry inventiveness of poets like Caroline Bird, John McCullough, Geraldine Clarkson and Rachel Long. I love anything which really speaks of its cultural heritage and poets who wrote the most beautiful verse against all odds in the most difficult of circumstances so if I had to pick one main poetic hero it would be Marina Tsvetaeva. I also adore the fiction and commentary of Zadie Smith and Deborah Levy.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Lucy: I grew up in Kent in the UK and went on to study English Literature at Manchester University encouraged by my brilliant school teachers at my fairly traditional girls’ school, including an amazing woman called Mrs Scholfield who was from the Czech Republic and spoke fluent Czech, Russian, French, German and English. I was so inspired by her dedication and in-depth knowledge of the Brontes, Austen, TS Eliot, Oscar Wilde and Dickens. She made me feel at a young age that anything was possible when it came to learning. I also had an incredible art teacher called Mr Griffin from whom I learnt a great deal about the merging of art and literature.

After uni I travelled to France and then began working in the private yachting industry. I did a circumnavigation onboard a private yacht and did many Atlantic crossings travelling all over the Caribbean and Europe and this has really influenced my work. In twelve years I accumulated a lot of experiences being in that sometimes dangerous, shifting and unpredictable world. 

I met my partner at sea (a Cork man born and bred) and moved to Ireland in 2013. I am endlessly inspired by Cork City and the stunning coastal areas which are so easily reached.

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work that you’ve done creatively so far?

Lucy: Probably the pamphlet I am working on at the moment which explores the precariousness of girlhood and also encapsulates the experiences of young women working and living at sea in a still very patriarchal maritime structure. I have collated many different accounts from women I knew, and still know now, from those years and it has become a record of the strange mix of loneliness, freedom, exhaustion and reckless abandon which characterises the life of a seafarer. 

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Lucy: I always knew it was there in me and spent many years frustrated by my own inability to make it happen and actually call myself a writer. I had three children in fairly quick succession and for many years my life was consumed by their myriad needs. I had no time to put pen to paper! By the time I went back to part time work in the wine industry I knew I was buckling under the weight of my own creative impulse. In the summer of 2019 I gave up a wonderful job I really did enjoy because I knew it was now or never and began writing then in earnest. In October 2019 my father died suddenly which was a terrible shock. Thankfully I had begun sharing my writing with my family that year and he was incredibly encouraging along with my mother. It was a source of great pride to him so that has definitely spurred me on to keep going and improving.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Lucy: I have three still quite young children and I need some time on my own to reset so I really like a long walk every morning or evening with our two dogs. I read a lot, love swimming and enjoy drawing and painting although I do not get as much time to do this as I would like.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Lucy: I am proud of all the poems I have had published since I began submitting last May and particularly of the Irish print journals I have been published in recently. I have had poems featured in Cork’s Crossways and Sligo’s The Cormorant Broadsheet and have poems forthcoming in Galway’s Tír na nÓg, Dublin’s The Liminal Review, and An Cappall Dorcha, and will feature in the next issue of the Munster Literature Centre’s Southword magazine. I was also delighted to have a visual poem accepted by Michelle Moloney King of Tipperary’s amazing avant-garde experimental journal Beir Bua. I would love to explore creating more visual poetry in future projects.  

I am also fond of a poem I wrote based on the ancient skellig lists of Cork and Kerry and published in the folklore themed issue 2 of Tether’s End Magazine.

https://www.tethersendmagazine.com/poetry-lucy-holme

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Lucy:

A line I like for its mystery and depth is from a poem I wrote called mezzaro genovese which is part of a series of poems about time spent living in the Italian city of Genova.

She zigzags uneven ciottoli which threaten to trip;
Feet, hearts, switches.
Puts a coin in the slot to light the electric candle.
Bows in the shadows to deceased saints.
Walks ahead while history scurries close behind.’

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Lucy: I have met many poets through the twitter community who have been incredibly supportive and encouraging but in terms of hands-on help I was fortunate to receive a mentorship with the poet Grace Wells through the Munster Literature Centre and the extent to which she has guided me to fine tune my poetry cannot be overstated. She is the most generous, knowledgeable and sensitive reader and it has pushed me to write poetry I don’t believe I would have written otherwise.

Links:

https://poethead.wordpress.com/2020/05/12/cipher-and-other-poems-by-lucy-holme/

https://porridgemagazine.com/2020/11/04/one-poem-lucy-holme-roberts/

https://humag.co/poetry/the-haunted-kind

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Neel Trivedi

with Neel Trivedi:

Q1: When did you start writing and first ifnluences?

Neel: I started writing from a very early age when I was around 7 or 8 years old. Because I was born with severe asthma and other medical complications, I wasn’t able to play football or freeze tag with other kids in the neighborhood. To compensate, I would play by myself with my toys and make up back stories for my action figures. That’s how the basic creative spark in me was born.

My earliest influences were children’s authors Louis Sachar and R.L. Stine. When I look at some of the short stories I write in my adolescent years, I can see their influences all over my writing.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Neel: Being involved in the online writing community for the past 3 or 4 years ago has introduced to all kinds of independent writers, some of whom I’ve even had the privilege of becoming friends with. Strangely enough, at this point, they remain my biggest influence rather than a mainstream author. It would be impossible to list them all but names that immediately come to mind are are Neil Clark, Jana Jenkins, Negeen Papehn and DeRicki Johnson.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Neel: I was born in Stamford Connecticut and lived there till I was 8. After my family moved to Texas, where I’ve been ever since. I can’t say the locations themselves ever really influenced me. But my circumstances definitely did in a big way because as I stated earlier, when other kids were involved in physical activities, I would sit and read or write something. Those moments gave me lots of time to hone and sharpen my imagination that later proved to be highly advantageous in my writing.

I can’t say travel has influenced me in any major way. There is one period of my life, however, that stands out. In 2001, right after high school, I took a 6 month trip to India to visit my family over there. I was staying with my grandmother and I discovered many old books of my grandfather’s, who had passed away years ago. That was when I discovered a whole bunch of Indian authors like Bharati Mukherjee and British authors like James Hadley Chase who’s works weren’t so easily available in America back then. I also discovered these really old anthologies of works compiled from the Alfred Hitchcock Magazine from the 1950s and 60s. That also was a huge influence in my writing afterwards.

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work that you’ve done creatively so far?

Neel: I think there are a couple of pieces that stand out. One is a short story called RX: Ear-Twist. That particular story stands out for 2 reasons. Firstly, it was the first time I wrote fiction with Indian characters, which despite being Indian, I had never done before. And secondly, that story was rejected by 5 magazines but eventually appeared both in a digital publication as well as a print anthology. It taught me never to give up in work I believe in.

The second story that gave me a lot was a story called Blueberry Waffles & A Side of Poignancy. It was published in Elephants Never magazine and earned me a Pushcart nomination in 2020 which, until then, I never thought I’d ever be capable of. It was also the first time I took a real life incident, the passing of my dad, and weaved a fictional tale around it. https://elephantsnever.com/blueberry-waffles-a-side-of-poignancy/

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Neel: While I started writing at a very young age, I only started taking it seriously in my early 20s. So perhaps it was around that age.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Neel: I love watching movies and TV shows. No particular genre, just anything that stands to me personally. Another activity I love is taking long walks while listening to music or podcasts. I love doing that because it’s my time alone, which I always cherish.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Neel: I just recently started co-hosting a podcast called the Daily Wisdom Words Podcast which can be found on YouTube. I’ve done 3 episodes so far and it’s been a blast. Link: https://youtube.com/channel/UCD0W0UduUYQgauLwmTxQlCQ

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Neel: There’s a poem I once wrote called “The Invisible Aura” which talks about what my depression is like. A couple of stanzas from that poem are:

This is my universe where:
Depression is not a mere mood swing
It’s an actual chemical imbalance

My facial expressions are not always
Gateways to the feelings of my heart
Sometimes they are merely decor

Obviously this is subjective because I’m the writer but even objectively, many who have read the poem told me that those stanzas very effectively sum up a major aspect of any mental illness.

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Neel: This might sound like a cliché but all the publications that showcased my work because they gave me the confidence to keep writing. Just some of them are Fevers Of the Mind, Elephants Never, Mojave Heart Review, Dodging The Rain and most recently The Bitchin K in which I have a poem coming up sometime next month.

Links:

Poems from Neel Trivedi from Fevers of the Mind & Avalanches in Poetry Anthologies

3 poems from Neel Trivedi in Fevers of the Mind Issue 2(2019) “the Invisible Aura” “Soul Whisperer” & “the Midas Scratch”

2 new love poems by Neel Trivedi : Then Aroused, Now Devoted & Casket to Universe

https://dailywisdomwords.com/members/neelt2001/

https://dodgingtherain.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/neel-trivedi-rx-ear-twist/

Bio: Neel Trivedi is a writer, editor and artist and in the advertising business in Dallas, TX. He was a Pushcart Nominee for 2020 and has been published in several online magazines as well as several print anthologies. He can be reached on Twitter @Neelt2001.

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Joseph Fulkerson

with Joseph Fulkerson:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Joseph: I started writing seriously about ten years ago. I had just gone through a divorce and found it helped to write down the wide variety of emotions I was experiencing. That and bourbon.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Joseph: It’s always been Charles Bukowski and always will be, but there are some great contemporary writers out there as well; whether poetry or fiction. Frank Bill, Brian Evenson, Donald Ray Pollock, Jonathan Shaw, Ron Whitehead, John D. Robinson, A.S.Coomer, Rudy Francisco, just to name a few.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from influence your work?

Joseph:

I grew up in Western Kentucky, which is in the “Bible Belt.” My parents were real religious, so when we weren’t going to church, it was tent revivals, Bible studies, and prayer meetings at people’s houses. I was homeschooled all through middle school, then I attended a Christian high school. It took a while to figure out what I actually believed, versus what I was taught.

I say all that to say I tend to write from a place of cynicism and enjoy laughing at things that probably shouldn’t be laughed at.

A couple years ago I took a trip to Phoenix to visit a friend and we drove up to Southern California. We visited Charles Bukowski’s grave. It was an amazing experience.

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?

I enjoy writing poetry, haiku, and I’ve been dabbling in short fiction. It is great watching a project take shape, whether that be a poem or an entire book. I started Laughing Ronin Press earlier this year because I love the entire process of writing and wanted to help bring to the forefront great writing that pulses with authenticity.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Joseph: Not just one moment, but a series of moments. The feeling of accomplishment after that first publication, submitted on a whim, was pretty great. Getting to know other writers like myself, who value the word as I do, was both affirmation and confirmation that I was going in the right direction.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Joseph: Watching films, reading, taking my doggos to the park. A good glass of bourbon.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Joseph: Yes, as I said I started Laughing Ronin Press  this year. It’s been both thrilling and exhausting.

I have a quarterly journal, Seppuku Quarterly, coming out August 1st. So many great writers in this first issue.

I’ve released a few chapbooks as well. In the fall, Kevin Tosca has a great collection of short stories about his time in Romania coming out titled Ploieşti.
I also have a full-length collection of poetry coming out in the fall titled Snout Chasing Tail.  You can find these on the site as well as my social media accounts.

Www.LaughingRoninPress.com
Fulkersonscorner.bigcartel.comIG- @laughingroninpress      @josephfulkerson 

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Joseph:

The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

  Answer.

That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.  ~ Walt Whitman

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Joseph: I can’t thank one person as it is a continual collaboration between everyone in my life. My brothers/sisters in arms are constantly challenging me to reach higher, and I’m humbled to be counted in their ranks.

https://myscreamingtwenties.com/tag/joseph-fulkerson/

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A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Lynn-Cee Faulk

with Lynn-Cee Faulk

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Lynn: I first started writing when I was around eight. I wrote a poem about trees coming to life that was largely influenced by C.S. Lewis and the Chronicles of Narnia

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Lynn: My fellow indie authors, Logan Ryan Smith, Cassondra Windwalker, and Micah Thomas just to name a few.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing?

Lynn: I grew up in southern Georgia. I like to talk about some of my experiences growing up in my poetry but it doesn’t influence my fiction as much

Q4: Have any travels away from home help influence your work?

Lynn: Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to travel much but I hope to change that in the future.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Lynn: I think I always knew but I had no doubt after I wrote that first poem.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Lynn: I would like to be a television writer so I like to spend time watching television for inspiration.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Lynn: My latest release, Blood on the Vine, is a poetry collection available through amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Blood-Vine-Lynn-Cee-Faulk-ebook/dp/B08PT521C7/ref=sr_1_18?dchild=1&keywords=blood+on+the+vine&qid=1624917071&sr=8-18 

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Lynn: “Listen – the thrumming drumming silence of nonsense taken with a teaspoon of water.”

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Lynn: Micah Thomas has been my creative partner on numerous projects and always pushes me to do my best work.

https://www.lynn-ceefaulk.com/