Today’s interview is with D.D. Wright, author of Embracing: A Poetic Perspective and Poetry 2Life: Youth. Struggle. Love.
“Embracing will touch the hearts and intellects of those who have had to accept life on life’s terms, despite how comfortable or challenging it is or has been. Through poetic devices, different forms of poetry as well as with a candid “voice”, Embracing expresses the true spirit of observation and endurance.”
From Author House:
“Poetry 2Life is a compilation of poems written while observing and overcoming different phases of life. The poems were inspired by the pains faced while living and the spirit of determination to overcome them all.”
Please tell us about your books:
I published Poetry 2Life: Youth. Struggle. Love. in September 2012. It’s a book of poetry and is available at Authors House, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Books, amongst other websites. Embracing: A Poetic Perspective was published in April of this year. It’s also a book of poetry. Embracing can be purchased at smashwords.com.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I realized that I wanted to be a writer when I was in high school. With traditional publishing, I recognized how difficult it would be. Modern technology gave me the opportunity to research and publish my books.
How long did it take you to write your books?
In both Poetry 2Life and Embracing, I included poems that I wrote many years ago. It took a year to collect, edit and determine poems that would be included in each book, as well as the other matter in the books (dedication, about the author, etc.), although most of the content was already written.
What were your favorite parts of your books to write and why?
My favorite part of each book to write were the back covers. I enjoyed this because it allowed me to see the book from the perspective of a reader. To allude to poems that I wrote as well as to summarize them all was challenging, but so much fun.
How did you choose your book titles?
I decided to title the eBook, Embracing: A Poetic Perspective, for a few reasons. Perhaps the most important one is that the poems within offer comfort and acceptance similar to an embrace. The words are tactile, may “grab” or gently touch a reader the way a hug would. To put it simply, at the root of the poetry in Embracing is love.
Tell us about your writing schedule:
I’m a full-time writing teacher at a junior high school in NYC. I happen to teach writing, therefore, I am always inspired. Aside from that, it is difficult. Most of the time, I delve into writing in the evening after teaching and taking care of my daughter. I dedicate an hour to two hours during the week. On the weekends, I usually dedicate more time to it. The key is having a list of things that must be done, then managing time accordingly. It isn’t always easy but absolutely worth it.
What made you choose poetry?
I can’t honestly say that poetry was a choice. I decided to nurture it, but believe that it was a gift given to me as a means to inspire and encourage others.
Where do you get your ideas and inspiration?
I have always written poetry. Many of the ideas for poems I’ve written have derived from reading other poems and/or observing different situations.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
I have experienced writers block on many occasions, whether it is in the middle of a poem or attempting to complete one previously started. I usually do not force my pen at these times, more afraid that I will write something that seems forced. I simply step away from what I’m doing until that moment passes, whether it takes a day or a week. That keeps stress to a minimal and preserves the creative mind.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
When I am not writing, I love to read. I enjoy spending time with my family and laughing with my daughter.
Are family members supportive of your poetry writing?
My family supports my writing. They have given me ideas in terms of marketing and not compromising my craft for the sake of business. My mother has always encouraged me to be creative and think outside of the box.
Did you learn any surprising lessons during your writing and publishing journey?
The most surprising lesson learned while creating my books has been explaining the main point in a few words. It would seem easy to summarize content that is not so close. But to write a book summary – back cover and/or press release – is not as easy as I thought.
Between your two books, is one a favorite?
I would have to say Embracing is my favorite. After publishing Poetry 2Life, I had so much more knowledge about the process. I was clearer about expectations and tasks associated with publishing.
Do you ever hear from your readers?
I have been fortunate enough to hear from many of my readers, especially via social networks such as Instagram and my blog, of course. Everyone has been pleased. They have said that my writing has inspired them, opened their eyes to different perspectives and that they could relate to the subjects.
Do you think most authors understand the importance of marketing their own work?
I would hope that most authors would know the importance of marketing their work. I do believe that if they do not know, they will learn how important it is if they want to be successful in this industry.
What are some of your methods for self-promotion? What has worked, what hasn’t?
Most of my promotion is via social networks. That type of promotion has worked well for me. I also use promotional tools such as flyers, rack cards and bookmarks. Simply relying on what I know personally did not work. However, it forced me to explore other ways of promoting – it was a means to an end.
Is it necessary to travel much when promoting your books?
It’s great if an author can afford to travel to promote their books. As for me, I plan to do that this coming summer. I don’t think it’s necessary, especially with email and Skype. Ultimately, reaching a larger audience would be more likely if travelling is possible.
Are you currently working on anything new?
I do have more material to publish. However, at this time I am simply networking to promote Poetry 2Life and Embracing. It will be another year or so before I release another book.
Do you ever use friends, family members or acquaintances as inspiration?
Yes, I do occasionally use the stories of people that I know as inspiration for some of my poems. Of course, I add fictional details and/or poetic devices to camouflage the truth.
How do you deal with criticism?
I accept criticism. I know that there is always room for growth. I apply what I can in order to improve my skills.
What are your thoughts on the saying, Write What You Know?
I think that writing what you know is most sensible. Whether fictional or non-fictional, if one has confidence in their experiences, education or perspective, it will be communicated to their readers. Credibility means a lot.
Did you spend much time researching information on indie publishing?
I spent about 2 years researching different aspects of self-publishing. I called many print-on-demand companies, read blogs of those who had already published and purchased many books to get as much information as I could before investing in my books.
You mentioned you have a blog. Do you find it to be a good marketing tool?
Yes, I do think my blog is a powerful tool in terms of marketing. It catalogs the journey of being unpublished into the realm of publication. If readers want a point of reference before deciding to purchase either of my books, they can view my writing style, snippets of my poems, as well as information on my interests, just by simply visiting my blog.
Do you have an opinion regarding using a penname?
I believe that pseudonyms are a personal choice. It seems best to use a birth name when writing non-fiction, in the event that readers wish to research a writer for the sake of credibility. I did not use a pseudonym, but because I wanted to keep my name a bit more discreet because I am a teacher, I simply used my initials instead of my first name.
Who are some of your favorite authors? Why?
Junot Diaz is one of my favorite authors. He is so candid and eloquent in his tone. Nikkei Giovanni and Sonia Sanchez are two female writers who have inspired me. Their writing speaks to my spirit. Eric Mike Dyson as well as TD Jakes are also two of my favorites. Mr. Dyson writes for the current times. He is also very candid yet very real. T.D. Jakes’ writing can be heard. I hear his voice as I read. It touches me.
What kinds of advice can you give to aspiring writers and authors?
The best advice that I can give to aspiring writers would be to research as much as possible. The more knowledge acquired the better. I would also advise writers never to give up, no matter how difficult it may seem or be. Chasing dreams is one of the beauties of life.