The editors of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective know that our strength is our writers. We hope that you enjoy getting to know them through our new Writer Interview Series.
What name do you write under?
Most of the time, my own. Past blogs have taken on a moniker that is not my own, but every book I have published bears my name and not the project it’s associated with.
In what part of the world do you live?
I live in Canada, in the national capital, Ottawa. My parents met working the Prime Minister’s office in the late 70s. It’s pretty quiet here, unlike our neighbours Toronto and Montreal. Very much a political town, full of old buildings and the Parliament can be seen from every direction when downtown.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a writer. I feel like I can say because there are almost physical withdrawals to going a day without writing or creating something. I started writing poetry when I was eleven. To be honest, it was never part of my plan to be a poet, but my father was gone a lot and I was left with his monster of a third wife who emotionally manipulated every second of my day. Writing became my form of control in a hostile environment, and poetry was so easy, it just evolved from there.
Where do you publish your work?
When did you begin your blog and what motivated you start it?
When I was 22, my friend took her life and ever since, not only have my own mental health issues become more prominent, but I promised to honour her somehow. After completing my first novel in 2011, I started thinking about blogging. All the poetry on my hard drive, some stretching back years, wasn’t exactly my first attempt at a blog, but the reactions were swift and positive, and it’s something I spent the last six years honing. I feel truly blessed for having had the experience, which has opened so many amazing doors and introduced me to some wonderful people.
What inspires/motivates you to keep blogging?
Honestly, I just love writing. I have struggled with some facets of it over the years, but even at my most financially or mentally precarious, I feel so blessed to have the compulsion to create. Not everything comes out the way you’d hope, but that only makes your best work stand out more.
When and how did you find your way to Sudden Denouement?
Very recently, in fact. I’m the new kid here. For me, joining SD is the outcome of cultivating relationships with some amazing people. I believe the earliest exchange between one of its writers and I was with Kindra on my blog. Others followed my blog, and I followed them back. I found Nicole on Facebook while looking through poetry pages, and her work spoke (and still does!) volumes to me. I remember meeting Christine through my mental health book, Swear to Me, although I’m sure we had exchanges before that. It took awhile to connect everyone to Sudden Denouement, but I could not turn down the chance to work with so many of my favourite modern poets.
What does “Divergent Literature” mean to you?
Well, to diverge is to separate, and I take that to mean we stand apart from the mainstream, carving out our own niche in the literary world. I have nothing but respect for for those who do the things they’ve always been done, but I was never good with conventional means, so I’m happy with that definition.
Jasper Kerkau frequently talks about Sudden Denouement writers using the ‘secret language.’ What is it?
I don’t yet know Jasper well enough to deduce much from this statement, honestly.
Tell us about your literary influences.
Stephen King was my first huge literary influence- my mom gave me a copy of Cujo when I was 9. Once the nightmares subsided, I went on to read most of his work up until the mid-2000s. Chuck Palahnuik is another huge one. I used to read a lot more before my kid was born. I should correct that. I used to read more than Dr. Seuss before my kid. I’m happy because she’s now learning how to read, and hopefully I can show her there’s a lot more than picture books. My dad once gave me a copy of the Two Towers without having read Fellowship of the Ring, so needless to say, I hope to do a better job teaching her than he did with me.
Has any of your work been published in print? How did that happen?
I have published three full collections of poetry- GROUND ZERO, SWEAR TO ME and the FVR Collection. There have been five smaller chapbooks, ten to twelve poems each, that focused on subjects ranging from economic disparity to Donald Trump. Those are some of my favourites.
I have completed two full novels in my lifetime. The first one was a mess and the second is in eternal limbo. I will publish my third, which is about half finished, sometime next year, using all the experience I’ve gathered publishing poetry.
What are your writing goals?
I used to write because I thought I was a great writer, but I have been humbled the last five years. Part of that was my own mental health deteriorating, another was seeing the sheer breadth of talent I had to compete with. At my lowest moment, I had this epiphany, that all my secrets had to come out, including my struggles with my sexuality and depression. I had to stop pretending to be what I wanted to be and be what I am, or it would kill me. To make this a bit more succinct, the goals are momentary now. I don’t need to be the world’s best writer, just one I like myself.
Which pieces of your own writing are your favorites?
There’s no easy to answer to this, as I am my own worst critic. Everything in the FVR Collection comprises the poems I keep closest, the ones I would want my daughter and family to see after I’m gone. At the risk of diverging from the pack, I will leave this quote instead, from my poem “AlterKnitUniVerse”:
the influence of
a cooler shade of day;
a pair of new
moons serve to
isn’t a world created
for me but
the one I endlessly
and I let
What else would like to share about your writing, Sudden Denouement, or yourself?
You are more than the sum of your struggles. That is the message my poetry has sought to leave. That is the message it will continue to cultivate, while I work alongside some of the world’s best writers to help SD thrive.