I got a feeling that tonight’s going to be a good night!
(And if it isn’t then I’m really sorry but there’s nothing I can do about that except offer my deep, heartfelt condolences. And ice cream. Lots of ice cream.)
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For tonight’s Author Interview segment, may I present author and poet Leilanie Stewart, as we chat about her passions, influences and writing experiences.
Enjoy the show folks and have a great time.
Hi there Leilanie, thank you spending time chatting with us today to talk about your poetry writing, passions and creative influences.
Let’s start with your poetry anthology chapbooks “CHEMOTHERAPY FOR THE SOUL”, “A MODEL ARCHAEOLOGIST”, “REALMS OF MAN/ METAMORPHOSIS OF WOMAN” and “TOEBIRDS AND WOODLICE”. Can you elaborate more on the themes themselves found within these eclectic collections, the purposes behind them and what events in your life inspired their creation.
All of these collections deal with the classic universal themes of life: formative childhood experiences, coming into adulthood in education, romantic relationships, aging and death. I like to think I have expressed my own version of the basic themes.
Realms of Man and Metamorphosis of Woman is a joint collaboration with my poet husband, Joseph Robert, where the chapbook has to be physically flipped to read my poems on one side and his on the reverse side – the poems mirror each other as yin and yang, or male and female versions of each other.
Toebirds and Woodlice is a zany take on early childhood through wordplay and exploration of language.
A Model Archaeologist was my pamphlet published by London-based Indie publisher, Eyewear Publishing in 2015. This is a reflection of my previous career as a graduate Archaeologist, while also working as a part-time Model, and the associated stereotypes of both jobs, told in a humorous, often ironic voice.
Chemotherapy for the Soul is my most recent collection published by Canadian publisher, Fowlpox Press in 2017. These poems explore the serious themes of dealing with dysfunctional adult-child and parental relationships and depression.
How does a poem begin for you? Does it start with an image, a form or a particular theme?
My poetry pops into my head fully formed and I write the poems down in a notebook or on scrap paper as they appear, to be typed up later. Sometimes I will be mulling a poem over in my head for a few days, but will wait until it’s complete to get it onto paper. I never do drafts or revise my poems, unless the poem is under consideration by a publisher and my editor has a quibble; I consider each poem finished as it is. I draw on everyday experiences for my inspiration.
Are there any poetic forms you haven’t tried yet but would like to?
When I worked as a Creative Writing Mentor in secondary schools across London, I taught a wide variety of poetic forms to my students: clerihew, diamanté, sonnets, limericks and many more. But personally, I’m only interested in writing free verse as I can be unrestrained and as experimental as I like with the style.
How important is accessibility of the meaning of your poems? Should we have to work hard to “solve” the poems and discover their deeper meanings?
Whenever I’m writing poetry, it’s always exclusively for myself at first, without thinking about how other people may interpret the poems. However, when I’m preparing a number of poems for a magazine or a chapbook collection, I put great thought into a title and arranging the poems in a way that’s accessible to the reader. Still, I love to leave room for the reader’s own interpretation; poetry is subjective and I enjoy hearing people’s thoughts on my work.
Has your own opinion or idea of what poetry is changed since you first started writing poetry?
I started writing poetry at 13 and was first published in a UK anthology for young writers at 14; back then my work was entirely in rhyming metre, a form I no longer use at all. However, from when I was a teen through to today, my idea of poetry has not changed; it has always meant self-expression and using words that come naturally to me in conversational form.
You have also written a novella called “Zombie Reflux” that has been called a satirical swipe at contemporary society set in the English Norfolk countryside. Please tell us more about your book, the background behind it and how you have created your own stylish take on the undead genre.
George Osborne recently called UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, a “dead woman walking”. Perhaps I was ahead of the curve when I wrote ‘Zombie Reflux’ by using the undead as a method to understand contemporary English politics and society. The actual inspiration for the novella was the London riots in 2011, however, I decided to set it in rural England instead of the inner city due to pesticide scandals at the time that became the basis of the corruption in the story. Zombie Reflux was published in 2014; excerpts, reader reviews and links to the Ebook and paperback versions can be found at: https://leilaniestewart.wordpress.com/novellas/
What do you find the most difficult thing about writing? And what do you find the easiest?
Continuity in prose can be a challenge; I often have to check back a few chapters when writing novella or novel-length work to make sure the plot is consistent. The easiest thing for me is getting what is in my head onto paper. I have an abundance of story ideas that I often have to write in a notebook for later, so that I don’t forget them.
Who are some of the authors, poets and historical figures that inspire you?
I wouldn’t say inspire in the sense of influencing my work, but in terms of showing me what is possible in storytelling, then Italo Calvino’s ‘The Nonexistent Knight’, and Haruki Murakami’s ‘Hard Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World’ have been eye-openers for me. Tolkien was a formative influence when I was first writing a novel draft in my teens for a children’s adventure story. In terms of contemporary poetry, I like Lorraine Mariner’s collection ‘Furniture’ and Grace Nichols’ ‘The Fat Black Woman’s Poems’; I have personal dedications from the authors of both of these collections. John Agard is another favourite poet; I met him at the GCSE Poetry Live event in London in 2016 and had a lovely surprise when he told me his favourite poems from my own pamphlet, ‘A Model Archaeologist’. That made my day. Of course, if I’m ever having a bad day, there’s always Charles Bukowski. Overall, Wallace Stevens is an all-round influence; his poetry can make me laugh no matter my mood.
What sort of research do you do to write your books?
I never do any research for my poetry – it comes entirely from life experience. My prose, on the other hand, takes research at museums, photography at real-life locations for reference and background information from books.
Why do you write? What inspired you to become a writer?
As young as I can remember, I’ve always been a writer, expressing my inner thoughts with pen on paper since I knew how to write. When I was 9, I sewed together a few scraps of notepad paper to make a folded book and wrote a short story called ‘The Land of Zoomba Boomba’ for a class project. I won a literary award in my primary school for it, a dedicated book called ‘Rain and Shine’, which became a favourite.
What keeps you motivated during creative slumps? How do you deal with Writers Block?
When I have creative slumps, it’s usually to do with distraction by other life events unrelated to writing, in which case I find scheduling time to write helps. This might be even as little as 15 minutes on my lunch break, but I find consistently chipping away keeps my motivation high. I haven’t experienced writer’s block in the sense of a lack of story ideas, but from time to time I have found myself stumbling over how best to revise a novel draft, or fine-tune characterisation. When this happens, I always call on a second opinion from a fresh perspective: my writer hubby, Joseph Robert, who is also a fantastic editor. He gives an honest critique that can get me out of a tight corner, whenever I have found myself written into one.
You have access to a time machine. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Keep writing and don’t think about making money from it; the journey is what matters, not the destination.
How do you spend your free time when you are not writing?
Watching TV shows like Game of Thrones and Twin Peaks. I also love Mystery Science Theater 3000; the bad movies being lampooned are not only a source of entertainment, but a means to keep my critical eye keen, useful when I’m in the midst of editing one of my own genre stories, in particular. Other than watching TV shows, I enjoy reading – mainly horror. Jonathan Aycliffe is an author I read purely for escapism, not to research anything for my own work.
Tell us more about your upcoming projects. Are you working on anything specific or have plans in the pipeline?
I have just finished my second novel after 4 years and 6 drafts. It’s an urban fantasy with historical and romantic elements that I began researching and writing in 2013. I’d previously written a literary novel in 2012, which is still making the slush-pile rounds; feedback is that I have an ‘original voice’ but that it is too ‘experimental for a debut’. I was advised to write something more commercial and accessible to build my readership first – which hopefully I have done with my second novel.
Finally, are there any nuggets of wisdom that you can impart to other aspiring poets and writers?
Stay true to your own voice and ideas and keep confident in the face of rejections; all writers get turned down on the path to getting work accepted for publication.
And that’s a wrap! Thank you for sharing with us your writing adventures, we can’t wait to take a look at your books and explore their intriguing themes 🙂
Leilanie Stewart is a writer and poet. Her poetry and fiction has appeared in numerous print and online magazines and anthologies in the UK, US and worldwide. Leilanie was longlisted for the Melita Hume Poetry Prize in 2014 and a selection of her poetry and fiction was chosen for the ‘Best of the Web’ Storm Cycle Anthology 2015, published by Kind of a Hurricane Press. She is also the author of four published poetry chapbooks and a novella: Toebirds and Woodlice (Meandi Books, 2012), Realms of Man / Metamorphosis of Woman (Meandi Books, 2012), Zombie Reflux (Meandi Books, 2014), A Model Archaeologist (Eyewear Publishing, 2015) and Chemotherapy for the Soul (Fowlpox Press, 2017).
In addition to writing and promoting her own poetry and fiction, Leilanie has worked as a Creative Writing Mentor in secondary schools across London and is currently runs an online and print literary journal, Bindweed Magazine, with her husband, writer and poet, Joseph Robert.
You can connect with her via the following Social Media channels:-
Bindweed Magazine:- Bindweed Magazine – Publishing poetry and prose with panache
Facebook:- Leilanie Stewart and Joseph Robert – Authors
LinkedIn:- Leilanie Stewart – Writer, poet and Magazine publisher (LinkedIn)
Website:– Leilanie stewart – Homo Sapien Leilanderthalensis….Literary evolution.
YouTube:- Leilanie Stewart – Poet & Author (YouTube)
Sample poems from her books, professional reviews and links to buy them can be found at her author website here:-
Her novella “Zombie Reflux can be bought here:-
If you too would like to be interviewed on my blog at TooFullToWrite and you have a book or a series of books that you would like us to chat about then fill out the Contact Me form here with your details and we can arrange a future interview slot.
Still want more? Well, as writers we tend to bury ourselves in our work, in order to get the best out of ourselves creatively. For more articles on the theme of ‘Bury’ then check out the links below:-
1. Invisible Illnesses – Daily Prompt – Fragrance plus 24 more words
2. Try ‘n’ Understand – The Mistful Mind
3. 3am Bursts of Inspiration – Vampire Star
4. Reliving My Youth – The Chicken Grandma
5. Dreaming of Coffee at Luke’s
6. BURY – Mick E Talbot Poems
7. A Diary of A Single Man: Heavens Peak – Harlem Cafe
8. My Mixed Blog – Bury or Burn
9. Ad infinitum – On Losing Someone You Love The Most
10. Dream’s Cremation – Optimistic Odyssey
11. Deflected Reflections! – Pebbles
12. To The One Who Broke My Heart – Specscladeyes
13. Five O’clock – E. Denise Billups, Writer
14. logicaldreams – Short Story: Family Time Capsule
15. witchlike – Punk Rock Shakespeare!
16. The Noodler 7.14.17 – Mah Butt Itches
17. Copper Cranes – Nein
18. Bonkers Away! – Bury
19. F*** Timmy the Tumor – Lemurian Light Oracle
20. Diverging Paths – Debbie Gravett
21. my sparrow – Tiny Fawns Writings
22. huntprayerpoems – Bury. The Long Parade Passed Through Heaven
23. A wedding dress disappearance – Sarahs Crazy Mind
24. Swell Time – The hatchet
25. The Syllabub Sea – Buried Wisdom
26. Built From The Fire – Bury
27. Beach Birds – a moment teller’s
28. Inception – MAG Stories
29. Bury the Bumble Grit – damswriter
30. Success Inspirers World – Bury anger or anger buries you
31. Momentum of Jo – In the Mirror (I Remember – Day 16)
32. Bury the Seeds of Life – travel387
33. Hot Teacher 17 – writemebad
34. Sandmanjazz – The Axeman Departeth
35. Exploring the concept of spirituality II: Roots in Judaism – a brave new science
36. Bury Me, I Dare You! – Dimitra Pyromali’s Blog
37. The Water Circus is coming to South Africa – Splash!
38. Bury – Welcome to the World of Wellness
39. #Daily prompt # Bury – /Suzhalgal
40. Attic: Callous hearts mercilessly stared! – The Voice Of My Conscience…
41. Afterwards – Pile them high
42. Eclectic Joy – Prompted Poem – Bury
43. Mob Mentality – The Shining Gem
44. Bury – Pranju
45. I was in shock! – Mum’s the Word Blog
46. She had to have the last word! – Adoption – Happiness is egg shaped
47. Success Inspirers World – Bury the Past
48. Success Inspirers World – You buried me
49. Bridal Beauty Tips – Rishta Online Blog
50. Helzee – Me – People = ME
51. Demons: Burial Chiefs. – Quiver and Quill
52. a cooking pot and twisted tales – Buried Secrets…
53. Roots – Dance of the Soulful Words
54. Unfair – Leigha Robbins
55. Please Bury Me Six Feet Deep Now – Karuchan
56. Wacky Wednesdays – Dog Tales
57. Bury Away – Taradise
58. Wanderlust – A RANT: I’M IN DENIAL JABBAWOCKEEZ LOST
59. Abstract. Use. Space. Idea. Life and Architecture. – kindergartenknowledge.com
60. helen meikle’s scribblefest – Daily prompt: Bury the chaplain?
61. manvsloneliness – Jerel Says, ‘I’m in, Baby’; Bury
62. Unbound – Shipwrecked
63. Zombie Flamingos – A sneak peak
64. Burial of Worries – rupalislale
65. Bury- my descripion – Mommy only has 2 hands
66. Bury – The Bag Lady
67. Two weeks – Un Camino de Hojas Secas
68. Confession – EduMomma
69. Bury: Prompt – And so it starts…
70. Bury – Allison’s Written Words
71. GOD’S CHAIR – Buried Between Poem & Stone
72. Bury – wordsareallihavesite
73. A new beginning – and the journey continues
74. milan rajkumar – bury
75. The Man Who Buried – Bedoor Bluemoon
76. Feeding Winnie – I’m Back…..
77. No Nonsense – Inner Whispers
78. Be here now : bury – Tachispeaks
79. Notes to Women – The Dinner Invitation
80. Grit and Bury–Daily Prompts – Fearless
81. Another Remarkable Day – Old Visitors
82. Bury – Patricia Liu
83. Daily prompt :Bury – Tachispeaks
84. ~192 Of 365~ – ……….365 Days………..
85. Getting My Swagger Back – Coffee and a Keyboard
86. Making it write – All About You
87. Saint or Sinner or A Little of Both? – Adventuresnluv
88. Scottish Legend’s Blog – What becomes of the broken-hearted Who had love that’s now departed?
89. Fluffy Pool – A Little Song, a Little Dance…
90. Rejoice in the knowing that I am the Magician… – missy miller
91. Spiral Up! – Bury Dissatisfaction
92. After Final Sleep – Wings Of Poetry
93. Hidden Away – The Inkwell
94. Bury – calliemm
95. Bury – connectedinsight
96. In The Garden of the Worms – The Girl with the Butterfly Tattoo
97. Thinking about you – Writing the wrongs
98. The Art of Living (A Poem) – The Foxy Igorota
99. Daily Post Bury – All About Writing and more
100. In Between – By Sarah
101. Thought Exercise: To Bury or Not to Bury – Downright Ultimate
102. A Day In The Life – Bury
103. Living Out Loud – Singular Sensation
104. The world around us – Right of Legions
105. A Mixed Multitude – an allegory
106. 83 Unsung Heroes – The Right Tool For The Job
107. Midnight Calico Farm – Bury
108. Exploring the World around us – Bury
109. Jump! Bust The Fear… – Success Strategies
110. Pilgrimage through Chicago – The Page Turns
111. fresh poetry – articulating the bones
112. Exploring Trondheim – The Hockey Mom Fit Life
113. Goal Ahead… – Success Strategies
114. Success Inspirers World – Don’t bury
115. What Would Jesus Do? – Authentic Woman
116. Buried Questions – Touchwords
117. Sink or Swim – Adventures of Mommyhood
118. Sonder Stories – Bury me
119. Goodnight – thehouseofbailey
120. Honoring and Remembering – Adventures of a Busy Mom
121. Crazy Sunshine – Word Prompt – Bury
122. Buried – thehouseofbailey
123. Because Of Grief – From Sand to Gemstones
124. What Is Love and Life? – Love Poem: Bury My Love Forever and Set Me Free
125. Bury myself in thought – In my world
126. Name Change and Branding – Changes Are Coming
127. Hidden Annoyance aka a weed! – Water….simply said
128. (UNTITLED) – “OH GOD, NOW WHAT?!”
129. Bury/1 haiku – 25more
130. If only I could go to a Czech spa right now! – Bird Flight
131. Opprobrious Mortals(Bury Humanity) – Fallen Rose’s Blog
132. Bury – Dirty Little Daydreams
133. emmapalova – Professor Martin buries his obsessions
134. Darla dishes about sandbuckets, dead turtles, and treasure – DARLA DISHES
135. silence whispers wind – Thoughts of Words – …
136. Potential & Possibility – Sassycook
137. Fowl Beginnings – Bad Writing
138. Tempest – themanbehindtheglass
139. Covert Novelist – Bury
140. Unchained – ARMY OF THE FALLEN BIKERS
141. Many moods in a day – The Musing Monkey
142. Just A Kiss.. – Life After Fifty
143. Ecliptic horizons – Asma
144. Free Verse – Releasing Balloons – Urban Poetry by Linda J. Wolff
145. 12 world’s story -2 – positive guider
146. Bury – More Than Just Me
147. Bury – The Shore of Consciousness
148. The other warriors of Xi’an – Don’t hold your breath
149. Curious Hart – Clark and the Burial of Stumpy
150. Steps Times Two – Lessons Learned
151. Feeling Like My Emotions – GreenWorldGlimpse
152. For Much Deliberation – Bury…
153. Cimmerian Sentiment – New Upcoming Story – Beth & Sean
154. The Consulting Writer – Buried Idioms
155. The Brown Session… – Beyond the normal
156. Dead People Got No Reason to Live. – Resting Bitch Personality
157. It starts with me – When I Can No Longer Bury It
158. Walk with God – Bury me, happily
159. A little secret … A huge treasure! – thinkinkadia
160. Her Lies in Bury – Noologic Kid
161. Cities of the Dead!! – Revolving Around Life
162. Think About It – For D
163. Dig Dug (The Daily Prompt-Bury) – What’s up DP???
164. maybe a nap would help??? ⋆ Obsolete Childhood
165. Buried Voice – thepathtocreativity
166. Buried by the Burden – Blindfolds Hiding Diamonds
167. Word Prompt – Spying With My Little Eye
168. “We Will Bury You” – This, That, and The Other
169. Flowers and Breezes – Bury
170. Write Here: Write Now – We don’t talk about what happens after death
171. Trumps are Their Own Worst Enemies – A lot from Lydia
172. LadyLebz – Escaping a Toxic Love Relationship
173. Innocence & Imagination – They Once Called Her Pumpkin…
174. When they buried her….. – positive guider
175. SERENDIPITY – JUST BURY ME NOW
176. Light & life – A Nugget for Your Noggin.
177. Roxanne – A Unique Title For Me
178. Charron’s Chatter – Rippin’ Good X
179. KO Rural Mad As Hell Blog – greys
180. Telling the Truth – Why I haven’t buried God
181. Awl and Scribe – Bury
182. The Heart of a Poet – Sumyanna Writes
183. The Things We Burry In Our Minds – Bre-nana
184. Treasur(ed) Notes – Wind Kisses
185. Piper’s Adventures – The Moon
186. Bury – THEGIRLVERSUSWORLD
187. Caveman’s best friend… – Bad Dad Cartoons 101
188. Charmed Chaos – His Spell
189. my own little corner … by jenni – 18 Going on College
190. Past – Journey
191. Burying the past – Playing with words
192. Feelings, Nothing more than FEELINGS – I’m a Writer, Yes, I Am!
193. Am I A Grown Up Yet? – Bury
194. MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO – Bury
195. The Cat Chronicles – Daily Feline Prompt: Burying Felines
196. Jupiter Vibez – How to Enjoy The Road of Life
197. Bury Me – emotionsoflife2016
198. masihbersambung – Dig the Ground, Satan
199. Attending A Movement’s Burial – Kuma House
200. A Jar of Marbles – A Writer’s Beginning
201. Sascha Darlington’s Microcosm Explored – Take It All Back #amwriting
202. City of Joy – Revolving Around Life
203. The Importance of Validation – Folksy Snippets
204. Kimberlee K. – 2018 Olympics Time Capsule Blog
205. Relax – THE circle of life
206. Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss – Bury your Nose in What?
207. Dronstad – Zarian memorial day
208. An Upturned Soul – Can We Afford to be Innocent
209. Missing Moms – CD-W, Author Flawed to Perfection
210. Life On The Skinny Branches – Pushing Daisies
211. Buried once more – Pravarthika’s log
212. Bury. – Thoughts of a curious girl.
213. Buried desires – My little storybook
214. Every time I bury – Emovere
215. DCMontreal: Blowing the Whistle on Society – Montreal May 17, 2042
216. Flip Flops Every day – What’s 100 years?
217. sonja benskin mesher – . sexton .
218. Dronstad – Yarian memorial day
219. Being Human – Live life; make meaning.
220. Vivid Tales – Some memories can be buried
221. where they buried you – Matt’s Thoughts On
222. Buried – Percolating Poetry
223. Buried Rose – Zeckrombryan
224. Just Brittany Moments – Bury Your Fears!
225. A Beautiful Mind – Smell The Coffee
226. Nature’s Fabrication – The Diary of a Weird Teen Boy
227. But a Man – December Rose
228. Utterly lost in translation – Don’t hold your breath
229. BURY: OF LAKES AND MINDS – IDLE BRAIN
230. Daily Blast – Monkebus
231. Bury the hatchet, not your friendship… – Mum’s the Word Blog
232. mydailylife@kochi – Bury only negative thoughts
233. Trapped in this mind – The Diary of a Weird Teen Boy
234. Piper’s Adventures – Spring Blooms
235. Forever With The Elements – My Second Act, Scene One
236. Live, Learn and LOL – Reactionary Tales
237. Thoughts on Life – Bury
238. Not Out of Mind – Dream Desire Achieve
239. Throw Rugs Like Insurance – pocket poet
240. Giggles & Tales – The Daily Prompt – Bury!
241. the15thday – it ain’t heavy, it’s just a touchy subject. for some.
242. Like a dog with a bone… – As I was saying…
243. Thought of the day – 12th July 2017 – The Diary of a Weird Teen Boy
244. Bury the Past – The Red Bearded
245. Sky High Walls – Yuvi’s Buzz
246. They said I need emotions – The Diary of a Weird Teen Boy
247. Under the God’s Spotlight – stoneronarollercoaster
248. A Writer’s Voice – How to Survive Wednesday of Self-Care Week–Learn to Bury the Hatchet
249. “that still twitching bird…” – play the dealer
250. No Burying Them – Haiku Abound
251. Half-Goodbye, Half-Hello… – Just a Little Magic
252. Different Graveyards – Around the World
253. Vox Humbug – How do I deal with anger?
254. lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown – The Eighth Deadly Sin (Advice for Errant Males)
255. Bury – and then the cow woke up
256. A Diary of A Single Man: A Father’s Day After Thought – Harlem Cafe
257. Buried .. – aroused
258. Digging with the wrong type of cutlery can’t cause serious damage to your kitchenware. – Individual expressions of a naive mind.
259. A Charm of Hummingbirds – Just Writing!
260. A Diary of A Single Man: This Bleeding Heart – Harlem Cafe
261. Murder Your Darlings – Live life; make meaning.
262. Developing Explorers – Amelia Earhart may have survived
263. Amelia Earhart may have survived – Developing Explorers
264. Review: Bruce Springsteen-“Born to Run” ( and ride?) – HorseAddict
265. Shopping Trip – Redux Of Rex
266. nerdhut – How to design your own CPU from scratch – Part 3
267. Bury – All About Writing and more
268. The Wandering Poet – Back
269. Bury – Hidden Bruises… – Chronicles of an Orange-Haired Woman!
270. Frank Prem – mystery and tedium
271. The human shadow is a lack of light – Wells Baum
272. I wrote a book. Now what? – How did that sound?
273. Frank Prem – The Chocolate Bird
274. Frank Prem – a ride on the St Albans line
275. Cimmerian Sentiment – #41 Not Asleep Anymore (Waking Up Jayla)