Neece Editorial is pleased to present the lovely Christine Brooks. She actively publishes poetry and creative nonfiction.
Who is Christine Brooks?
Christine A. Brooks is a graduate of Western New England University with her B.A. in Literature, and is currently attending Bay Path University for her M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction, graduating May 2019. A series of poems, The Ugly Five, are in the summer issue of Door Is A Jar Magazine and her poem, The Writer, is in the June, 2018 issue of The Cabinet of Heed Literary Magazine. Three poems, Puff, Sisterand Grapesare in the 5thissue of The Mystic Blue Review. Her vignette, Finding God, is in in the December issue of Riggwelter Press, and her series of vignettes, Small Packages,was named a semifinalist at Gazing Grain Press in August 2018. Her poem, The Monarch,is published in the October 2018 issue and The Manis published in November 2018 issue of the Amethyst Review. Her poem, White Light will appear in the April 2019 issue of The Cabinet of Heed.
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1. What genre/s do you write in? And why?
I write memoir and poetry but have written a fiction book as well. For the most part, I listen to my inner muse and go where it tells me to go, sounds a bit weird saying that out loud but that is how it has worked for the last five years or so.
Two years ago, I learned that Emily Dickinson was a distant cousin so my professors at Bay Path University encouraged me to try writing poetry. After finishing my thesis, it feels like a relief to write short poems which are mostly unstructured free verse.
2. Tell me about your WIP.
My WIP is my memoir titled, Letters to M. I started doing biological research for my thesis and when I found out about Emily I started journaling to her. I thought it was just for fun at first and didn’t realize those letters would become the basis of my thesis and WIP.
As my research went deeper the M’s changed from Emily, to my mother Mary, to my imaginary friend growing up, the Man in the Moon, to my biological Mother and eventually to me.
3. What writer (living or dead) would you most want to have dinner with? Why?
I would have loved to have dinner with Ernest Hemingway. I’m not sure we would get along but for me he represents a time in America that existed, seemingly, just for him to write about. His writing about the war and his time in Cuba are fascinating and I wonder had he been born 50 years later if he would have ever been a writer….I would like to ask him that.
4. What’s your writing process like? For example, where and when do you like to write? Do you write every single day?
My process is downright bizarre and although I have discussed it before it always leads to blank faces and wild stares. Given how it happens, I understand why. I write very late at night (almost every night) on the notes section of my iphone. I wrote an entire novel, Tambo Man(55k words) that way. I type what comes to me and when I am done I copy and paste it to my email and then revisit it in the morning and put it in my Word document to proofread.
5. What do you think makes a good story or poem?
For me relevance is the key! If I can relate to an essay/poem/story on some level I am instantly hooked! Great writing never hurts either.
In poetry, I like new forms and fun quirky ideas, using an & or — also make me smile.
6. If you could give one piece of writing advice to your past self, what would it be and why?
Just write! I often sat and thought and thought and thought about how to write something or if anyone would want to read it. Now I write everything that comes to mind. Some of it, a lot of it, is garbage but it goes in a folder titled “Garbage for later” that I revisit for ideas during dry spells.
7. What’s your day job?
I currently work in local government but am looking to move to a field more closely related to my MFA.
8. Other than writing, what passions/hobbies do you have?
I am passionate about the ocean and spend my free time in search of the perfect break (small wave ambassador) and quiet place in the sun.
9. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
My favorite under-appreciated novel is “Blood Strangers: A Memoir: Katherine A Briccetti.” I am interested in adoption and those that have either been adopted or adopted children, and I think this novel covers a wonderful wide range of that topic and many others that are just fabulous.
10. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have one completed fictional novel that is unpublished and my WIP is about 75%.
11. Do you believe in writer’s block?
Not believing in writer’s block is like not believing in a serious muscle strain! I have been quite fortunate to not suffer from it too much, but I have friends that deal with it almost daily!
12. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I sometimes read reviews when looking to buy a book, and I have been guilty of reading my own for essays but it can be rough. The bad ones stay with me for days if not weeks, so I try to skip them. I wrote an essay recently for HuffPost that got shared my MSN and I got vilified for being everything from fat, to ugly, to undate-able and worse. Thankfully no one (at least no one I read) thought my writing was bad! I know it comes with the territory but people can be cruel and they forget we are still human and being called hideous still hurts.
13. Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m not sure I know what this means, lol. I think you mean do I like a surprise ending or do I build suspense. If that’s accurate then I am a pantser, 100%!
14. What author/books are you currently reading?
I am currently reading “A Drinking Life” by Pete Hamill and LOVING it!
15. As a closer, what do you want people to remember about you and your writing?
What I would hope people remember about both me and my writing is that I write my truth. It may not always be pretty, or flashy, or even published but I can promise that it is honest and something I believe relevant to others. Sometimes even what we think is not great writing covers topics that reach folks and help them by simply just being there and I think that is the most important thing we as writers can ever do.
Thanks for joining me for today’s Author Spotlight. Check back regularly! Most weeks, I will highlight a different author on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
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