And now for the interview:
1. Why did you start writing poetry?
I started writing poetry because I became interested in it. I found it as a great way of expression, not only using words but using them in such a way that I could transform anything I saw around me, read or wherever inspiration came from I took it and turned it into a poem. It was a way for me to express my feelings openly and I feel that poetry was a great way for me to expand on my creativity and take my feelings and imagination and combine them all together to create works that people could come to enjoy. I found a sincere appreciation in reading poets such as Robert Frost, Shakespeare. Langston Huges just to name a few. After reading them and trying out poetry I knew that this was something I would enjoy, I knew it would become something to which I am passionate about.
2. Where do you get the ideas to write your poems from?
As I stated above, I get inspiration in many different ways. From what take in around me, from what I hear, see and sometimes even smell. I get inspired from the thoughts already stored up in this brain of mine, though when I take something around me it’s usually good to go whereas if it’s in my brain I have to go over it and figure out if it’s worth being made into a poem. Odd concept I know but that’s how it works with me. I can be inspired from pretty much anything, from hundreds of flowers in a garden to seeing the Pillsbury Doughboy on television, it really doesn’t matter and if I see the slightest hint of a possible poem, I take it in and do my best to make it into something beautiful.
3. How did you come up with the title: Like a Box of Chocolates?
Well the poems within the book are all of different genres and all about very interesting topics. Some of them relatable, some of them on point and some of them just completely absurd and all over the place. When you read one poem after the other you really don’t know what your going to get and that is why the book is called Like A Box of Chocolates. I played around with a few lesser catchy titles such as The Mixed Book of Goodies, The Mixed Poem Series but they just didn’t sit well with me and were catchy enough. It wasn’t until I really sat back and examined the poems for what they were and came up with the title.
4.What are your ambitions for your writing career?
To be successful, enjoy what I do and hope that others will be entertained and enjoy my work. I realize that as an Indie author the road ahead is only going to go as far as I am willing to go and that only I am capable of my unlocking my own potential. I haven’t set the bar high for myself but not because I don’t believe I will reach it but I want to be realistic and take things slow, take it one step at a time. I want to enjoy putting as much effort and skill into my work to the best of my ability and then and only then will I be ambitious enough to present that work to others so that they too can experience it.
5. What research, if any, do you do before you write?
I definitely do research before writing. Not only do I do this for short stories but poems as well. I do the basic research on the topic even if I know what it is. If it’s something I don’t know much about or might be controversial, I tend to do more research on it. I look online, read up on it, really just basic steps that helps me acquire the right information on what I am writing so that it’s not only well written, eye catching and creative but accurate as well.
6.When did you decide to become an author?
Back in 2010 I made up a list of things to do such as find a job, become more social, learn to drive just a list of common things one can do. The fifth thing on the list just for the heck of it since I wrote was to write a book. After attempting to do the first four and either checking them off the list of giving up on them I came to the fifth one. I stared hard at the paper, I remember it as clear as day. As I was about to put a line through it I stopped and thought, why not? Is it really that farfetched of an idea? I mean heck I have plenty of work, I’m young, eager and if it doesn’t work out then it doesn’t work out but by god I’m going to do this. I am going to write a book and become an author. It was then that I started on my first book, The Macabre Masterpiece. After that there wasn’t a clear intention to further my writing but at the same time I didn’t want to be a one hit wonder of it either. Inspiration hit me again when I took on my second book and it was then that I realized I had checked off the hardest thing on the list, the most unlikely thing on that list. I became an author.
7.Do you have a specific time during the day when you write? or no?
Nope, not at all. Sorry to seem boring. I usually go on my computer between 12-2 and stay on for a few hours. If I am in my room and inspiration strikes, I run to my dresser grab and pencil and paper and write or I run to my computer and get started. Day, afternoon or night it doesn’t matter as I will write if I feel I want to or the ideas are there.
8. What is the hardest thing about writing?
Being satisfied with it and making sure it’s just right. I can’t tell you how many times I will go over my work to make sure it sounds right, or if I want a certain scene or sentence in there. The hardest part of writing is my indecisiveness. Sometimes it gets the best of me but the best thing to do is to just write, write and write some more and go over it after. I d my best to believe in what I do and when I am satisfied it is only then that I feel as I have gotten over the hardest part. I would say editing is also quite a hard part about the writing process.
9. Do you ever get writer's block? If so, how do you get over it?
Yes, I am human like everyone else and I get the dreaded writer’s block. If it’s not too bad I’ll just wait a few minutes stay seated and then try again. If I’m really hurting and have a big mental block then I will go do something else and try to come back when I feel I have something. A lot of time I will also have an idea and then forget to write about it and then later on when I go back and think oh I had the best idea, oh thats right I didn’t write it down. I find that to be the worst kind of writer’s block because I know the idea is there somewhere but now I gotta think long and hard and hope to get it back.
10. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Believe in yourself and do what you love. Write, write, write. Don’t let negative reviews get you down, don’t take them personally. Also look into submitting your books to more then one publisher whether it be traditional or self-published. Also don’t be disgruntled if you get rejected, that’s the business, that’s life it’s going to happen. Try to remain come, gather yourself and go onto the next one and always believe in yourself and your potential.
And that was all the questions we were able to do but I would like to thank Justin for agreeing and taking time to do this interview. So thank you Justin and I wish you a lot of success.