N.L. Shompole was born in Kenya. She is a multi-platform artist whose written and photographic works have been featured in various print and online publications including Words Dance Publication, Maps for Teeth, Invitation Annual, Kinfolks Quarterly and The Rising Phoenix Review. Her latest collection Spectre Specter Blue Ravine was released November 2015.
1. How important is accessibility of meaning? Should one have to work hard to “solve” the poem?
Not too hard. What the reader brings to the poem is constantly shifting, so at one point a poem may have spoken to certain experiences, and at a later time the poem speaks to different experiences.
2.How do people react when you tell them you’re an author?
After the initial –what have you written question, people respond with curiosity about writing and the writing process.
3. What inspires you to write poetry?
Life. I write in order to process what’s going on in the world, both internally and externally. For that reason, writing allows me to think critically and express broad ideas and themes of what I see going on around me.
4. What are you trying to communicate with your art?
I want my work to move the reader to think about things and ask questions. Whether they’re directly or indirectly drawn from a poem or a some of my other works.
5. What makes a poem “good”?
Good is so subjective, but if a poem makes you want to come back to it, for whatever reason, then I think it’s good.
6. What is a measure of success as a poet?
This goes with the –what makes a poem good question. I think if you are able to create something that keeps not only the reader returning to it, but also the writer, then you have success in the work. Some poems are fleeting, while others can continue to capture your attention for months or years.
7. What did you have to research for your books?
As I said, my poems tend to be a way to process or ask questions, so I don’t necessarily do research to write a poem, because I have already come across whatever news, experience, artifact that sparked that question in the first place. For fiction, I do research after the initial spark of interest, then I write, and then I go back and clarify and research anything that I felt was vague or needed better comprehension.
8. Do you read all of your book reviews and ,if so, how do you deal with them?
At first I would read all of the reviews, part of it was to know what or how my work is received and processed. In those instances good reviews are good, and bad ones can sting. But as my confidence in my own writing has grown I tend to put less weight in the reviews.
9.Did you base some of the characters on real people?
I haven’t yet.
10.What are your favorite books?
These are always changing. I love the Jacqueline Carey Kushiel books. I have a huge love for Juliet Marillier and her Daughter of the Forest series. For poetry, I forever return to Nizar Qabbani. Lately I’ve been in love with City of Stairs series by Robert Jackson Bennett and N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth Trilogy.
11.What does success for your books look like to you?
If I can write something I am in love with, that I keep returning too, then I think that is successful.
12.Can you describe your poetry books in three words?
Surreal, honest, raw.
13.Do you believe in writer’s block?
I don’t know if it’s a belief, but I’ve had periods where writing is much harder than others, I would call those blocks.
14.What can we expect from you in the future, any books planned?
I always have a full plate of projects. As far as writing, I am working on a novelette and novella as we speak. Other projects include Kingdoms in the Wild, an independent publication for fiction and poetry. The submission period is currently open for those who are interested.
15. Do you have anything to say to your readers?
I love hearing from readers. People’s interpretation of my writing always brings out things I hadn’t even thought about and that’s always fun to read. And, thank you, thank you for the support. It means the world to me.
16. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t stop writing, no matter what.
17. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
It confirmed that it’s possible to write and finish a project and see it out in the world, and that I shouldn’t give up no matter how hard the process gets.
18.Is there something you edited out of your books?
Yes. A lot of stuff gets cut or edited. On average I have between 5 and 20 drafts of any said work before the final version. Most of the early drafts are about getting an idea down, and the later drafts are about making those ideas as polished and clear as possible.
Thank you so much to N.L.Shompole for helping me out with this post ! You can find her and her work in the links down below :