I love the community that I’ve found through blogging. I love sharing my experiences, reading your comments, and popping over to your blogs to read about your experiences as well. Not only do I feel a connection to you guys, but I feel like some of you might feel a connection to each other and frequent each others blogs as well. So some of you might know Arden, who blogs over at Hello Arden (previously Stories of a Telescope and Missing Wanderer). Arden reached out to ask if I was interested in reading and reviewing her self-published anthology, and I didn’t hesitate to say yes! I’m always interested in seeing what y’all are up to and love to support in any way I can.
Instead of doing a standard book review, I thought it’d be cool to do a quick little interview with Arden, because how often do we get the chance to pick the brains of the authors of books we read? Here goes:
How would you describe your anthology?
I would describe it as a personal journey, a timeline of thoughts that represent the mess that is my mind. 😉
What do you hope readers get from it?
Originally my anthology was set out to simply provide a showcase of my writing but I also hope readers can somewhat relate and realise that they are not alone with their struggles and find strength and acceptance in some of the lines.
I think many bloggers can relate to turning to writing to sort out their thoughts, or it’s what I do at least. I have several fragments of thoughts that I write down in a little notebook that never amount to anything. I was wondering whether this was how your anthology started.
Ever since going to therapy, I started jotting down all my thoughts whenever I got overwhelmed. It helped me stay grounded and not hyperventilate. It helped with my anxiety at some points too. I’d find pieces of paper, receipts, my notes app on my phone, my journal, really anything to put my thoughts down. So yes that is also how it all started 🙂
When did you realise that you wanted to bring these fragmented thoughts together into an anthology? Who or what inspired you to create this anthology?
I was reading Milk & Honey when I realised how gripping such raw and emotional writing could be and was wondering whether I could put together a similar book. So I had a look through all my notes, gathered the “best” ones that could make sense to readers and put them in order according to sections and the timeline of my life the last four years. So Rupi Kaur inspired me to write this anthology, as well as Lang Leav who is also widely known for her relatable poetry.
How did your writing journey begin?
I’ve been writing ever since I’d learnt how to write, haha. I enjoyed writing short stories for fun back in the day and loved showing them to my literature teachers. Growing up I wrote more and more essays, turned to journals, read loads of books and eventually started writing novels, even though most of them have been abandoned at some point (but I was still proud of myself).
And then I turned to blogging because I found something to combine writing and photography with!
Did your experience with blogging play any part in the process of creating your anthology? If so, how?
I guess it did? I would write some posts that were a bit more personal and my readers would tell me that they enjoyed reading my “raw” feelings because I am not hiding or pretending to be or feel something else. So I guess I wanted to be honest and I wanted to show that while writing this anthology.
What does the self-publishing process look like? What are the logistics of it?
It is both easier and harder than it seems. It’s easy because there are mostly step-by-step instructions and it’s all not too complicated to manage. You finish your book, format your document accordingly, convert it and upload it onto the publishing website. You add title, author, descriptions, edit the book’s cover and set your own price. You order a proof copy, create revisions, order another proof copy and then choose distribution channels for your book to be offered on.
What was the most difficult part of putting together this anthology?
Those steps sound so easy but I almost pulled my hair out while formatting the book itself and making everything perfect. It just took so much time and there was always something that needed to be fixed! But in the end it was all worth it.
What was the best part of putting together this anthology?
Looking forward to holding it in my two hands! And definitely the excitement for readers’ opinions on it.
You are deeply personal with your writing, and I’m so honoured that you reached out to share it with me. I know that for some people it’s easier to share with strangers than with people close to them. In your anthology, you write letters to some people. I was wondering whether people close to you (i.e. friends, family, crushes?, etc.) knew you were putting together this anthology, and when in the process did you share it with them?
I did tell some of the people mentioned in the book that they would be part of it, though I never told them where or the name of the title for them to find. For most this will be a surprise and some don’t even know I’m publishing this anthology at all. My crushes and people I don’t have contact with anymore don’t know about their cameo, either. And they might not even figure it out even if they read it. Some, however, will probably recognise themselves.
What is your favourite piece from the collection?
It most probably is “Oh dear heart.” I can’t give a specific reason, nor do I want to spoil. 😉
Who are some of your favourite authors?
I love Haruki Murakami, Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Stephen Chbosky, John Green and there’s about a lot more that I love but those are my favourites for sure.
What is your favourite book?
My favourite book of all the time is Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. It resonates with me in a way that I fell in love with every line and everything in between the lines and I’ve read it (and seen the film) a thousand times.
What advice do you have for budding authors?
The best advice I can give is to write from your heart. Write as yourself, for yourself. Be raw and don’t hold back. Write because it makes you happy and because you have something to say and share rather than to become famous or get recognition. Do your own thing and evolve by reading a lot, writing a lot and going with your thoughts! Share your work online and submit your work to publishers if you like. Keep at it and don’t make writing something that will make you feel like it’s become a chore.
Are you working on anything new that we should look out for?
I am currently revising a mystery/thriller as well as a few novels that will be self-published, too. If you’re interested in those upcoming releases, here’s a link!
Naked as We Came is a deeply personal anthology of poems, letters, paragraphs, and sentences, and it comes in five parts: “Roots,” “Letters to You,” “Love Train,” “Caravan,” and “Uphill.” One of my favourite pieces from the collection was “Alice.” I wasn’t sure what part of it I wanted quote, so I’m going to stick the whole poem here as a preview to the rest of the anthology:
so this is growing up.
one day you’ll realize
that nothing stays the same.
and you’ll be surprised,
or at least you’ll wonder.
and your name may not be Alice
but you’ll know how it feels like
when your world starts
turning into something else.
Some other lines that tugged at me were:
your true you.
the you that stays awake all night
counting mistakes instead of sheep.
destination in mind but the journey at heart,
no maps required,
Naked as We Came will be published on July 5, and you can get more information about its availability here!