Welcome to my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, scriptwriters, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with poet TL Davis. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, TL. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
TL: I currently reside in California. I recently moved back after living in Louisiana for a few years. If anyone is considering relocating from the west or north to the south, get ready for a culture shock. Lucky for me, I adapt well to new cultures. I attended various schools when I was a child due to moving a lot. I believe this has enabled me to live in different cities / states without any hesitation of picking up and leaving. I am sure that there is a downside to this, but I choose not to think about it.
I became a writer at about the age of 6. However, I did not know it at that time. It was just something that I liked to do. It all began with drawing pictures—that’s how I initially told my stories. Paragraphs came about at the instruction of a teacher who requested that the class write about their summer vacation. I wondered if I had written too much after hearing the responses of others. They all wrote short sentences (and not many). My accounts sounded like an elaborate story. I knew then that I was different—even before my teacher told me.
Morgen: Do you write poetry to form or as it comes? If to form, what are your favourites? Are some easier than others?
TL: I am definitely one that allows my thoughts to flow into words as they come. If I feel that it doesn’t read well after I have finished the piece, I make adjustments.
Morgen: Do you generally write rhyming or free verse?
TL: This is a good question as I have only been asked one other time. My initial response was free verse. But as I began to be more attentive as I write, read, and reread I realized that I tend to rhyme my verses. It is not my intention. Well, not consciously.
Morgen: What have you had published to-date? Do you write under a pseudonym?
TL: No pseudonyms. Just me—with initials. I published my first book, “SHED”, on July 28th, 2012. It was difficult for me to finally give into my creative desires and release this work. Much of it is intimate—whether it is about my life experiences or that of people that I know. A former co-worker of mine stated, “For the most part, I can tell which poems are about you or someone else. Others, I would not dare ask.” I found that interesting. But I didn’t dare ask which poems she thought were about me. 🙂
Morgen: Do you enter competitions? Are there any you could recommend?
TL: Although I have entered a few in past years, it is not something in which I participate on a regular basis. But I do think that it is a good way to put one’s words out into the universe, even if he or she does not win. And if one does win, the cash is a great bonus.
Morgen: Are your books available as eBooks? How involved were you in that process?
TL: Currently, my book is only available as an eBook with Amazon. I chose to participate in the 90 commitment to Amazon’s KDP Select. It has limited the exposure of my book as I have been unable to reach users of Nook, Smashwords, etc., like I would like. But the KDP Select lending library is a good way to reach Amazon Prime users. It would be better if all Kindle users could borrow books for free. Maybe that will change in the future.
Morgen: Do you think eBooks will change poetry? If so, how?
TL: Absolutely! Let’s face it. The average reader does not walk into a book store specifically looking for poetry. And Book stores do not usually place the genre at the entrance so that it’s the first book that you see. I believe authors can market eBooks more effectively online through popular book sites such as Goodreads and social media like Facebook and Twitter. The writer is able to connect with lovers of poetry worldwide. Talk about getting your work out to the masses!
Morgen: What / who do you read? And is it via eBooks or is it paper all the way?
TL: Of course I love poetry and short stories. I also love great fiction as well as self-help books. And while I do own a Kindle, I mostly use it for games. The scent of the paperback still has a hold on me.
Morgen: How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
TL: I do it all! I am a self-published author, so I have to invest in myself and my brand—time and money. This is why I appreciate friends, family, members on social sites, and people such as yourself that give authors a much needed outlet to promote themselves and their work.
Morgen: Do you have a favourite of your poems or topic to write about?
TL: I can honestly say that I do not. I am not that writer who sits down and decides what I will write about. Something just comes to me and I grab a pen, paper, napkin, recorder, or anything that I can get my hands on to document my thoughts before they escape me.
Morgen: Do you show / read your poems to anyone before you submit?
TL: Absolutely not. In the words of Erykah Badu, “I’m an artist and I am sensitive about my…” Plus, I want everyone to have that experience of reading my new work for the first time. They experience it just as I wrote it. Raw.
Morgen: What are you working on at the moment / next?
TL: At this time I am working on a book of short stories. Well, somewhat. I don’t want to give too much away. But there are lots of witty, funny, and odd accounts of conversations that I have had over my life span. I truly believe that people will enjoy.
Morgen: Do you manage to write every day, or ever suffer from writer’s block?
TL: Intermittent writer’s block has been my arch nemesis for years. I do not foresee a change in the near future (truly not at all). But I have come to accept it and embrace the clear path to creativity when I am able to overcome it.
Morgen: Are there any tips you could give to someone wishing to write poetry?
TL: Always have something with you to record your thoughts. In the past, I have found myself scrambling for a pen and paper (or napkin) to jot down words that suddenly flood my mind. It helps to have a device that records one’s voice. Also, understand that readers may not always connect your thoughts behind your words. I have come to the realization that there is truly no wrong answer in interpreting poetry. It is an art of sorts. The audience may feel something completely different from that which you meant to convey. I have had a few “ah ha” moments when listening to readers give their interpretation of my poems.
Morgen: Do you write any fiction, non-fiction or short stories?
TL: All of the above. I have multiple projects going at one time—not purposely, of course. I cannot control when the ideas come pouring in for the next book, so I just write them down as they come. So far, I am TRYING to focus on three and a half different developments (the half is a book that I am co-authoring). Pray for me!
Morgen: I used to write a lot of 60-word stories and found the more I wrote the closer they came out to the word count. It’s obviously not a direct comparison but do you find your poems come out at similar lengths, or do they really vary.
TL: The length of my poems varies. At times I can say all that I need to say in a line or three. Then there are the two page poems, where the thoughts just kept coming—line after line. I have wondered if I should have broken those poems into pieces. For my poem Equidistance, this was the choice I made. I chose to use it as themes for chapters. Unfortunately, it did not jive well with the works of “SHED”.
Morgen: What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
TL: Favorite: suddenly being hit with a dose of inspiration, which lets me know that I still have some creativity dwelling within me. Not So Favorite: Waiting to be hit! It always surprises me when the smallest thing can cause me to go on a poetic rant.
Morgen: What advice would you give aspiring poets?
TL: Write honestly. If it feels contrived when you are putting the pen to pad, it will read that way. Your audience will simply turn the page (or close the book).
Morgen: If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, who would you choose and what would you cook (or hide the takeaway containers)?
TL: Wow! So I love to laugh, which means I require a comedian. Richard Pryor must attend. No drugs allowed! Lol. Of course, I must have my master of poetry—Edgar Allen Poe. Can you imagine Richard Pryor and Edgar Allen Poe at the dinner table? Ha! Ok, one more. Let’s make it a double date and invite Marilyn Monroe. I do believe that she would serve as a fabulous muse for Mr. Poe. As for food, I would serve a meal that is entirely VEGAN! To clarify, I am not a vegan. However, I would love to see each of their reactions to the meatless dishes (Prince would be the chef and butler, singing random songs throughout the evening).
Morgen: Great choices. If you had to choose a single day from your past to re-live over and over, what day would it be and why?
TL: (Inhale) This is an easy but sad question (hate to be a Debbie Downer). It would be the last day that I hugged and told my Moms, “See you next weekend.” Never would have thought it would be the end. My book “SHED” is dedicated to her (exhale).
Morgen: Oh, that’s really sad. My debut novel is dedicated to my father (whom I got to say “goodbye” to). Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
TL: This too, shall pass.
Morgen: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? 🙂
TL: Oh, how I wish that I had a party trick to share. But I do tend to be the life of them (or so I am told). I love themed parties, which requires dress-up! My body prefers to move around, so I love to travel around the country. Last year I visited Louisiana 3 times (from New Orleans to Monroe), NY, San Diego, and Atlanta. This year, my itinerary will be just as full. But road trips are the best with great friends.
Morgen: Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
TL: Goodreads and Facebook are the main sites on which I participate. I will be utilizing Smashwords soon, as my ebook exclusivity agreement with Amazon KDP Select will be ending. I also utilize Twitter and LinkedIn. All of these have been useful in my marketing and learning the ropes as a newly published author. As a matter of fact, it is how I found you (Facebook).
Morgen: Oh great! Don’t you just love technology. What do you think the future holds for a writer?
TL: Writers should keep their shades on hand. Reading never goes out of style, so writers will always be heard as long as they have a voice. Sounds pretty bright to me.
Morgen: I love the way you put that, and I agree. Where can we find out about you and your work?
TL: Website www.tldavis-author.com
- email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- blog at http://feeds.feedburner.com/TlDavissBlog
- twitter @tldavis2
- fb http://www.facebook.com/TLDavis2012
Morgen: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
TL: To everyone reading this interview, be sure to check out my website as I hold many giveaways there and sell promotional items such as notebooks and tote bags. Also, feel free to preview the first few pages of my book on amazon.com. And if that eReader or tablet of yours is feeling a little lonely, give it some love and fill it with my poetry! Stay tuned for my new release “Conversations”, available March 2013.
Morgen: Is there anything you’d like to ask me?
TL: Have you ever become burnt out on reading and interviewing and blogging. Have you ever just thrown your hands up and said, “That’s it! I’m done!” And if you have, was there some book or writer that came along and caused you to exhale again?
Morgen: <laughs> I must admit that blogging, although I love it, has become a source of frustration, because it’s got in the way of my writing. It’s great that it’s been so popular that I was booking daily interviews nine months in advance but it wasn’t fair to the authors (or myself) to wait so long, hence this blog to take extra capacity. Thank you, TL.
I then invited TL to include a sample of her writing…
A Nude Beginning by T.L. Davis
I sat on the bank from sun up to sundown
Rain beating against my breasts
With a hammer in one hand
A gun in another
I watched tirelessly as the river flowed
Tensed as the current rose
And sobbed as the waves crashed violently
Slapping each rock with its troubled hand
Over and over again
It seemed as if it would never end
I finally arose
Facing the bridge
I wondered if there was anything
Anything at all
Awaiting me on the other side
I peered through the rain
But could not see through its pain
Yet I continued to seek
What was on the other side
My feet began to move
Out of the mud
Onto wet grass
Atop slippery concrete
And I walked across that bridge
Beating that hammer
Against gray steel
In the tormenting rain and high winds
While the troubled waters crashed below
The walk seemed endless
But not effortless
Beating that hammer
Against gray steel
Cold and wet with rain soaked clothing
I began to shed them
That tattered old black dress
The beige brassiere with non-matching panty
And I was naked
I did not care
I kept beating that hammer
Against gray steel
Until the motion of my hand
No longer met the strength of that steel
I had made it to the other side
The pain of the rain had ceased
The violent current mellowed
Its anger released
And I stood in the sun
With no gun
Oblivious to where it had gone
Holding my hammer
As I stood
And a synopsis…
The journey to love should be an easy one. Yet, somehow our own selfish actions get in the way, making it difficult. This book of poetry explores the journey to love by way of lust, the stain that it leaves behind, the inability to move on, and the determination needed to rise above it all.
T.L. Davis is a writer of poetry and short stories but a lover of all literature. She began to use her gift at the age of 6 and has never stopped. However, her educational and professional careers have followed the path of service to and advocacy on behalf of others–seniors, persons with disabilities, and children. After earning a B.A. of Psychology at California State University Dominguez Hills, she went on to obtain an M.A. in the field of Gerontology–the study of aging–from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Since graduating, she has enjoyed working in the field of aging. But the passion to write continued to dwell within her, which led to her literary debut, “SHED”.
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