Welcome to the three hundred and seventh of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with autobiographical poet Violet R Schulert. 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, Violet. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Violet: I live in Lansing / Haslett, MI area. I love cats. I am a struggling Christian. I’m political, a bit of an activist, on several fronts, am learning to speak up when need be. I’m a former baby of the family. I love to write and I have to write. And I’m good at it.
Morgen: I have to write too. What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Violet: Poetry, some prose too. Poetry is easier.
Morgen: My poets say that but I don’t write much so I find it harder. Everything’s better and easier with practice. What have you had published to-date? Do you write under a pseudonym?
Violet: I’ve had single poems. This is my first book. Yes, Alexandria R Wesley is not my name. It’s two of my cats’ names. My next book will be under my real name Violet R Schulert.
Morgen: Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Violet: Oh so many! Just try and ignore them and go on… most of it’s not personal.
Morgen: Absolutely. Just one person’s opinion, and the right thing for the wrong person. Are your books available as eBooks? Were you involved in that process at all?
Violet: Yes…my book is available as both… my publisher says they are the future.
Morgen: I’d say so, although I do think people will still read paper books (I do) so they’ll run alongside each other. How much marketing do you do?
Violet: I’ve tried to do a lot… can’t get anybody to touch my book… it’s worthy of more.
Morgen: It’s really hard these days. I’m only just starting out (in the scheme of things; my eBooks went online last November) and I’m beginning to see how tough we have it… but we have to keep going. Do you have a favourite of your books or characters? If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?
Violet: I would love ‘Trust yourself’ to be turned into a movie, but I think it would take some major rewrites.
Morgen: Ah but that’s the joy of movies; they usually have scriptwriters to do that for you. I wrote the first 102 pages of a script for http://ScriptFrenzy.org in April 2010 and didn’t enjoy the process of writing script so I’d gladly leave it to someone else. You have a publisher, did you have any say in the titles / covers of your book? How important do you think they are?
Violet: I chose both the title and most of the covers and I’m proud of them. They are very important to the book. My book is about child abuse in my family the pic on the front is my niece as a child. The title comes from the book and the theme.
Morgen: They do have to be representative. What are you working on at the moment / next?
Violet: I want to do another book of probably poetry but it hasn’t come out of me yet….
Morgen: Do you manage to write every day? Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
Violet: No and yes.
Morgen: Oh dear. As a poet, this may not apply but do you plan or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Violet: If I’m writing prose, I sit there for a half an hour then finally can write my goal of a half a page a day.
Morgen: Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Violet: They are real people or based on real people – it’s the old ‘write what you know’.
Morgen: It certainly helps but then you can always use different parts of different people, so to speak. You mentioned fiction and poetry earlier, do you write any non-fiction or short stories?
Violet: I write mostly non-fiction poetry but have written short stories.
Morgen: I love short stories. Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Violet: I don’t do a lot of editing.
Morgen: That’s fortunate. Again, it’s down to practice. Do you have to do much research?
Violet: No, it my life, or life experience.
Morgen: What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
Violet: 1st person.
Morgen: Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Violet: I believe I do.
Morgen: That’s a shame. Maybe one day you’ll revisit them. I have loads although I like to think I’m practiced enough now to do something with them. What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Violet: Prose is harder than poetry… but it’s better. I’m a really good author!
Morgen: Then you just have to keep going. You have the confidence so I can’t see you giving up. I feel after six years of studying and writing (probably about a million words) that I finally know what I’m doing and have no desire to do anything else. You have to be passionate. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Violet: Don’t give up. Ignore the rejection notices just keep trying!
Morgen: Absolutely. 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)?
Violet: Amelia Earheart, Jesus, Hilary Clinton, my boyfriend and homemade pizza
Morgen: Mmm, I love pizza… thin and crispy with pepperoni and pineapple. Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
Violet: There are so many… being a Christian means being a pariah, it means not fitting in anywhere in this world – Girl meets God
Morgen: Christian writing is hugely popular. I hadn’t realised until I started this blog how widespread it is. What do you do when you’re not writing?
Violet: Spend a lot of time with my boyfriend, a bit of a couch potato, play on the internet.
Morgen: I tend not to play much but every now and then I fancy a game of Word Drop on Facebook… usually when I should be doing something else, but I figure it’s still writing-related. Are there any writing-related websites and/or books that you find useful?
Violet: Just the Book Marketing Group on Linkedin http://www.linkedin.com/groups
Morgen: LinkedIn is great, isn’t it. I’ve met some wonderful people there. Where can we find out about you and your work?
Violet: All over the internet – just google Violet R Schulert, Alexandria R Wesley, or chipmunkapublishing. ALL three will lead to me.
Morgen: The joy of having a fairly unique name (as far as I know there are only two or three other Morgen Baileys and I do so much that I’m the whole of the front page of a Google search at the moment :)). Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Violet: Read my book…. I want to say its good… but it’s more than that… its a topic that people need to know about. The only way that it will stop is if people start talking about it and believe it… yes it’s intense… but kids are experiencing it… and THAT shouldn’t happen… little kids should not go through this. Read the book and then tell others about it and get people to care and to listen. I can’t do it all… I need help…
Morgen: Well I hope this interview helps. Thank you, Violet.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on this blog but everything else (see Opportunities on this blog) is free.
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