I’m joined today by the wonderfully talented Victoria Kenna, an author and poet whose work I’m sure you’ll love as I do. Her new poetry anthology ENGRAVINGS OF THE SOUL is now available on Amazon, and you can head over and find it here…
Without further ado, let’s hear from Victoria…
Thanks for joining me Victoria! So, tell us a little about yourself…
Well I’m Victoria Kenna and I’m a newly fledged writer on the block. I’ve been working on a number of projects over the last year and finally managed to finish one! I write mainly in fantasy or historic genres but I do write the odd piece set in the here and now. Right now though my focus is the poetry side of things.
When did you realise you enjoyed writing creatively and how did you pursue it?
I suppose I’ve always known that I enjoyed writing, ever since writing short stories and poems in primary school. As I grew up I would write bits and pieces, focusing a lot on creating different worlds very far from our own. In regards to poetry my Grandma was always very encouraging and I used to write a few whenever I stayed with her over the summer.
Despite all of this, I didn’t get into writing seriously until May last year. The first piece I wrote was just a tiny prologue and seeing as I wrote it on a spur of the moment I didn’t think it would amount to anything but it very quickly spawned off more ideas in my head and turned into something very exciting and momentous. There were moments when I would shut myself away in my “writing cave” for anything up to ten hours a day because I just had so many ideas to write down and expand upon.
Pursuing my writing dream would definitely not have been possible without the support and encouragement of my other half. He has always told me to go for it and to never give up and will read through my work to see if it can be improved. People on Twitter, including your wonderful self, have also been very supportive and encouraging too.
It’s always a joy to see encouragement lead to creativity. Do you have a process/routine when it comes to writing or is it more of a ‘when inspiration strikes’ thing?
I like to think I have a good process, but I really don’t! It is definitely more of a “when inspiration strikes” thing. I have a huge number of notebooks and writing pads scattered around the house so that I always have one to hand. The weirdest time I got inspiration was when I was brushing my teeth before bed! It really does strike at any time for me and I count it as a blessing and a curse. Planning a certain block of time to write just doesn’t work for me personally as I more often than not end up staring at the screen for hours with nothing coming to mind. Occasionally I can write to a plan but very rarely.
At first I treated writing like a hobby, keeping it as a side project as I weaved my way round the world of employment but now that I am writing more and more it is definitely turning into a full-time job. I try and write every day and I have got so many projects on the go it’s sometimes impossible to keep up with everything my brain concocts!
Tell us about your new poetry book…
My poetry book is called “Engravings of the Soul” and is a collection of 25 poems based on the spectrum of emotions, ranging from love to hate to grief. Each poem shows a different emotion, sometimes just focusing on one, other times mixing a few together such as anger and love. There are some very lust filled poems and then at the other end of the scale some that are quite raw and full of pain.
The name was something that took ages for me to come up with as I wanted it to encompass everything I portrayed in the poems. Emotions are attached to memories and memories are imprinted on our souls. Over time some may fade and get written over, others will be present forever and still be very vivid years down the line, much like engravings upon stone.
Overall within the book I wanted to show the diverse range of human emotion and how they can interlock with each other, not only through what is written on the page but also to focus on the psychological side we get with emotions.
I can’t wait to get stuck in – and I do love that cover, very striking. Of all of your work, which is your favourite? Which one defines your talents best as a writer?
Oh that’s a tough question! I am definitely my own harshest critic and would probably say none of them but I am very fond of “A Devil’s Magic”. It came to me from nowhere and just flowed from 4 lines into a full length poem in less than half an hour. It focuses on lust and falling for someone who you know is bad for you, such as someone with a known reputation or falling for an ex, despite all the reasons why you parted. I love it because it is something a lot of people can relate to (me included). If you find yourself in lust with someone you can quickly fall under their charm or the “bad boy” image, no matter what anyone says or the warnings they give you. Writing it brought back some emotions and memories in me so it was both difficult and easy to write.
A DEVIL’S MAGIC
Clawing at my soul
Make me pause
At the magic you weave.
It is not that of light
But that of dark,
Your alluring words
And enchanting spells
Keeping me alive.
Nothing more than a glib
Allow me to see
My acquiescence to you
The only balm to soothe it.
Such likeness to the devil
You condemn me
To your realms of deceit,
Your life of lies,
But I continue to fall
Trapped within the temptations
And boundaries you set out.
Mystified by your presence
You lead me astray,
Hauling me into hypnotic trances
Despite the voices in my mind
Screaming out in defiance
As I’m held in your arms.
Inside your Hadean world
You force me to drink
From the waters
Each droplet seeming limpid
Instead of the toxic potion
Every miniscule swallow
Erases a memory,
Remembrances of our
Past transgressions forgotten,
Granting you the opportunity
To fuel me anew.
No chance of deliverance
I am forever yours,
Lost to your words,
Gullible to everything about you,
Never again to leave
Until my tainted soul perishes
Under your perfunctory existence.
As for which one defines my talents best I don’t think I can pick a specific one. No poem is the same and the writing styles differ for each so I would like to think that I can show a good range but I wouldn’t say any particular one defines me as a writer.
I love that poem. It’s dark and heady and beautiful. What does the whole process/world of writing mean to you personally?
The process of writing means an awful lot to me. I’ve been through some pretty rough times and writing gives me a chance to escape. I can leave my problems behind and lose myself in fictional worlds where I don’t have to worry about anything. Writing poems especially allows me to express everything I am feeling inside or the things I want to say to people and can’t. For me personally, it is an amazing therapeutic technique.
It’s superb how so many use the creative outlet of writing as an escape, or as therapy, to get it all out. What is most important to you about poetry?
The most important thing to me about poetry is that it invokes something, whether it be an image or emotion to leave you contemplating upon it. Also I think it is important to write poetry from deep within. Each poem, no matter how long or short, no matter what the subject matter within it, contains a piece of you. The same goes for stories.
On Twitter I sometimes participate in the VoElla tweet this poetry challenge and Mad Verse, to name but a few. To see the range of poetry produced from just a one or two word prompt is staggering, especially as most of them seem to be written on the spot. Even within those 140 characters you can sense the heart and soul that went into writing them.
Do you have any advice for burgeoning writers looking to explore their creative side?
My advice would be to always carry a notebook and pen! Creativity can strike at any time and the worst feeling is having an idea, not having anywhere to write it down and then forgetting it. It’s happened to me a few times so I know how it feels!
I would also say keep writing whenever you can. You may find that the way you write and the creativity within yourself changes and adapts as you write more. My style of writing now isn’t like it is was a year ago when I first started and I’ve found the span of my creativity has expanded considerably. The possibilities of creating and forming ideas is limitless and endless, so definitely write down anything that comes to mind. Even if it sits idle for a day, a week, a month, even a year, you never know if it will turn into something bigger.
My last piece of advice is to invest in a good dictionary and thesaurus. I use a reverse dictionary with added lexicon of difficult words in the back and I rarely write anything without it. It provides me with obscure words and sometimes words that people have never even heard of. I used the word “nepenthe” in a short poem on Twitter a few weeks ago and no one seemed to have heard of it before. It is definitely a great learning tool as there are countless words within the English language that are just never used, so expanding vocabulary and using words not often seen in work these days is a very good thing for any burgeoning writer.
Fabulous advice! What’s next for you as a writer?
Currently I have a number of projects on the go and I am working on a couple of full-length historical novels but they are a long way off from being completed. Next though I am hoping to finish the edits for my first novella entitled “To Escape The Past”. It’s a modern day romance with many twists and turns along the way and even though it strays from the genres I normally write in it has been really fun to write. Hopefully it will be finished soon but editing and I are definitely not the best of friends! I’ve also just started compiling a second poetry book so we shall have to see how it goes but I’m hoping it will be completed within the next few months.