Wombwell Rainbow Interviews
I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.
The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.
As far back as she can remember Jana has been fascinated by storytelling and intoxicated with the written word. As a young child, she began spinning tales, talking to an imaginary friend and devouring fairy tales. As a teenager, she wrote maudlin love poetry, and as a young mother a collection of fables. Her love of reading and writing propelled her toward studies of languages and literature resulting in B.A. degrees in English and German Languages and Literature, an M.A. Degree in Literary Studies, as well as a B.Ed. Degree in English and Dramatic Arts. She works for the Government of Canada in the field of military language training and testing and her work, as a subject matter expert, has taken her all over the world. She was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, but has lived in Canada since 1991.
Among her publications are an academic article published by Cambridge Scholars, UK, the novel “Poisonous Whispers” published by Roane Publishing, N.Y., poetry, short fiction, articles, art reviews and blog posts published by literary journals and other publications. Currently, she is working on her second novel, and finalizing a collection of children’s stories. In addition, she acts as a guest editor for the literary journal Ariel Chart.
She lives in Ottawa, Ontario with her husband.
1. What inspired you to write poetry?
A lifelong fascination with the written word, and a desire to express myself through different literary forms, including that of poetry. I began to write poetry in my teenage years, the period of my life when poems proved to be the best creative outlet for my maudlin and melancholic moods, as well as my budding longings for Romantic love.
2. Who introduced you to poetry?
It was an elementary school teacher who encouraged me not only to read different genres, but also to attempt to write poetry after I revealed to her how spellbound I was by Edgar Allan Poe’s poems.
3. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?
As an avid reader, I was always aware of the presence of the poets belonging to different eras, or those of an older generation. As someone who studied English and German literature, the poets belonging to the different historical periods were sources of reading delight and inspiration. Among them were Byron, Keats, Novalis and Goethe.
4. What is your daily writing routine?
I wish I had a daily writing routine, that is, I wish I wrote much more than I do. Writing is currently a hobby and a passion for which I have to make time in my busy schedule. For my author page, for example, I write micro fiction every few days. At times, I work on my second novel daily, and at other times, I let the storyline simmer and ferment in my sub-conscious for weeks or even months until I am ready to continue. Inspiration sometimes strikes suddenly and a poem is born in a few minutes while I am sitting in an airport, or I do not write a word for a few days. My writing routine, in other words is highly unpredictable and I clearly lack writing discipline. But then again, I do have a full-time job, and I travel extensively on business, as well enjoy a family life, social gatherings etc.….lots of excuses.
5. What motivates you to write?
A voice within me that clamours to be heard, a creative spark that turns into a flame that cannot be ignored, life events which I try to alchemize through the art of writing, and an urge for creative expression. I am also motivated by the stories friends and acquaintances tell me, and I weave them into my writing.
6. What is your work ethic?
To write what I feel, to express who I am, to be true to myself, to develop a singular and recognizable style.
7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?
When I was young, I read classical literature and especially enjoyed English literature. When I was even younger, as a child, I loved fairy-tales and fantasy. For that reason, as a writer I am mostly drawn to speculative literary fiction, a hybrid between literary fiction and fantasy. That could be ascribed to the influences of the books and authors I read when I was young.
8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?
Julian Barnes, Haruki Murakami, Kazuo Ishiguro, Margaret Atwood are some of the writers I admire because of their literary depth, and their power to ignite my own thoughts. I crave books that teach me something knew, that give me reading pleasure and that have undeniable literary merit toward which I can also strive.
9. Why do you write?
To achieve inner renewal, to transmute reality, to appease a haunted hunger for creative expression within myself, and perhaps to create something that temporarily feels like an antidote to mortality.
10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
The same way you become a painter, or a chef, or a musician. You listen to the whispers of your soul, and your respond to the impulses that propel you to any kind of creative expression. Avid readers usually turn into writers. Sometimes, a great sorrow or a great joy suddenly turn people into writers because overwhelming emotions often demand to be processed through some kind of art form. A strong desire to become a writer coupled with a writing talent is usually the first step. Nowadays, with the advent of self-publishing, anyone can become a writer with sufficient persistence and passion.
11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.
I am in the final stages of finishing my second novel, I plan to finalize a collection of children’s stories that needs some more editing; I am also working on co-authoring an academic article and have a few poems and a short story in a draft form. I am also a guest editor for the literary journal Ariel Chart, so along with a full-time job as a language specialist for the Canadian government and other commitments, my days are quite busy.
Jana can be reached via her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/J.Damselfly/notifications/
Her debut novel poisonous Whispers can be found at: