Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Jessica Drake-Thomas

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.

Jessica Drake Thomas posession

Jessica Drake-Thomas

is a poet, fiction writer and blogger. She holds a B.A. in English from Tulane University, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Emerson College, and a Master’s in Education from the University of Arizona. She’s the author of one chapbook, Possession (dancing girl press) as well as full-length collection of poems, Burials, which is forthcoming from CLASH Books in 2020. She writes book reviews for her blog— This Week, I Read, and she is also a regular contributor at 24Hr Neon Mag, where she writes fictional obituaries. Her poems and short fiction have appeared or are forthcoming at Grimoire Magazine, Ghost City Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, Coffin Bell, and Three Drops from A Cauldron, among others.

The Interview

1. What inspired you to write poetry?

In the eighth grade, my English teacher gave us the entire class period on Fridays to write. We could work on anything that we wanted, so long as we spent the whole time writing. I wrote poems.  Ever since then, I’ve not stopped writing.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

My mom tried to get me to read Robert Frost’s Collected. I didn’t particularly like it, but it was definitely the intro for me.

3. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?

I never thought their presences dominating. Rather, I found them to be kindred spirits. Even from a young age, I could identify that their thought patterns were similar to mine.

4. What is your daily writing routine?

I work on poetry during my breaks from working on freelance projects. Between 9AM and 5 or 6PM, I’ll work for an hour on a freelance project, then do thirty to forty minutes of working on poems. After 6, I might end up working on poetry until 9PM, which is when I do research and focused edits on pieces.

5. What motivates you to write?

I have a definite need to evoke certain images and feelings that come to me. I’ve always had a strong drive to complete things once I’ve started. Writing is hard work; hard work is something that I’m good at.

6. What is your work ethic?

Very focused. I get up and I work hard, every day. Lately, I’ve been even more focused than ever. It took me six years to do a chapbook, then my first collection took me about two years to complete, while my second collection has only taken ten months.

7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

I’ve always had an obsession with the macabre. When I first became interested in writing when I was about eleven or twelve, I was reading Edgar Allan Poe and sneaking Stephen King books home from the library. I’ve definitely been able to synthesize my love of poetry and my love of horror into something that’s my own.

8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

No one writes like Chelsea Minnis does. Her work is bold, quirky, and original.

9. Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?

Because I love it. I love to write, even when I’m struggling with it. I’m currently writing full-time, and even on my worst days, I’m still happier than I was before.

10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

You come up with a practice, and you stick to it. Writers write. It’s a lot of hard work and dedication, and often not for much money or praise, so if you become a writer, then you have to do it because you love writing. And, you must read, as much as you possibly can. You need to know where you fit in among literary tradition, and why, and you need to support your fellow writers. A writer is inextricably linked with their status as a reader.

11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

I’m doing final edits on a horror novel and my second collection of poems.
I’m doing research for and beginning to write a third collection focusing on bad omens and Norse mythology. Finally, I’m about thirty thousand words into another novel.

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