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.
Shanda D. Boone-Hurdle
is a native of Portsmouth, Va. A product of the Portsmouth Public School system, it was her 7th grade and high school English teachers who introduced her to African-American writers. This introduction set the course for her writing and speaking career.
After completing high school, she went on to attend Ferrum College, Ferrum Va., where she received a B. A. in English with minors in Journalism and French. Later, she would attend Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Va., where she received a M. A. in English with a concentration in Professional Writing.
As a highly passionate speaker and educator, it is her strong belief that “You are not a mistake.” There is only one of you and though you have several different roles in your life, you only have One Mission, One Vision, and One Purpose, and everything in your life should work together to achieve it.
1. What inspired you to write poetry?
I have been writing poetry since I was about eight years old. I am not sure how it started. I just always loved it. It is my happy place.
2. Who introduced you to poetry?
I am not sure how I was introduced to poetry, probably Dr. Seuss. However, I was in the 7th grade, when my English teacher, Mrs. Edmonds, introduced me to Black Poets. Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and James Weldon Johnson were the first. They knew me. They told my story. They made my life and existence real.
2.1. How did Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and James Weldon Johnson know you.? How did they tell your story? How did they make your life and existence real?
For the first time, I read stories that told the black experience. The people were familar. I knew these people, though we never met. The people in their stories and poetry were my neighbors, my aunts, my uncles, my church members, and my friends. They spoke in a language that I understood.
3. What is your daily writing routine?
As a public school English teacher, an adjunct professor for a community college, a wife, and mother of five, I do not have a daily writing routine. I write when the creative process hits, and it is all too consuming to contain. I write in those limited moments of peace and quiet.
4. What motivates you to write?
Anything can motivate me, a song on the radio, a movie that I saw, a conversation that I had, a new experience, or a painful moment.
5. What is your work ethic?
Normally, I am inspired either first thing in the morning or late at night. Therefore, I sit and write. I use the old fashion paper and pencil method. I feel more connected to my thoughts using paper and pencil versus typing. I save typing until the end.
6. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?
I am greatly influenced by the greats. I love Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, Langston Hughes, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and more. I keep them in mind. I want to tell a story the way they did. I want to make people feel and connect with my pieces the way I connected with theirs.
6.1. How do you tell a story the way Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, Langston Hughes, Paul Laurence Dunbar do?. How did you connect with their stories?
I try to bring a realness to my writing. I want my readers to see themselves or people who they know. I want my readers to know that they are not alone. I try to make the words come to life, as if the reader can close his or her eyes and see the words take shape.
7. Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?
I love words. I love the power of words, the way they make you dance. I love their rhythm, their beauty. There’s nothing more exciting than when words come together to serve their purpose…delivering a specific message.
8. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
I would simply tell them to start writing. Everyone has a story. Once that pencil hits the paper, even the author has no idea of what’s to come until it’s done.
9. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.
I am currently working on my second book, a collection of monologues; I hope that it will be completed by July 2019. After this book, I will be working on my first novel.
Here is the link for my book: You can find it on Amazon.com
The book is entitled: Fragmented: A Collection of Poems by Shanda Boone-Hurdle