Let me tell you a little story before I delve into this wonderful interview with Christina Hart. Last year I ran out of eBooks for the Poetry Olympics, I totally miscounted how many I had. Christina came in with a generous offer donating all three of her poetry books in eBook format to fill in the blanks for those that had stupidly been miscounted. She literally saved the Poetry Olympics from being a total disaster!! For that I will be forever grateful. Christina is also a multi talented writer that can go from writing poetry to novels at the drop of the dime. I find it incredibly difficult to write novels, poetry has always been my wheelhouse. So, when I meet an author who so interchangeably writes I’m very enchanted by it. Christina's new Poetry Book: Don't Tell Me To Be Quiet is now available on Amazon. For more information on Christina give her a follow on Instagram @christinakaylenhart .
CH: Not really, unless having a relatively tidy work space counts. Usually before I write, I need to declutter my desk at least to the point of having a clear surface. Otherwise I feel like I can’t write. That’s probably more my OCD, though, and less of a ritual.
RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked, if yes, how did you get unblocked?
CH: I’m not really convinced writer’s block is a real thing. I think it’s easier to claim and/or pretend you have a block than to admit that you’re just not writing because you’re not making time to write. I try have discipline when it comes to writing, but I’m guilty of lacking that at times. There’s no excuse for it, I know, but I do actively try to find a balance between work, life, and writing for personal fulfillment.
RMMW: We all have an inner critic, how do you contend with yours?
CH: I listen, but never during the first draft. I used to have a terrible habit of starting something, then reading it, hating it, and throwing it away for good. I realized over time that when I would read things as I was writing them, I would convince myself they were horrible. Or my inner critic would anyway. So I changed my habit. I knew—after many times of tossing unfinished projects—that, for me, in order to actually ever finish anything, I had to write from start to finish. I knew I could not go back to read any of it until it was complete. At least if it’s done, I have a finished project. So now, and always, the first draft is for writing, getting it out as it comes. The second, third, fourth, etc. drafts are for fixing, and allowing that inner critic to come out.
RMMW: How long does it take you to write a book?
CH: This question is hard. LOL. It really depends on the book, honestly. Some come easier than others. Some just have to get out, and I write faster because of that. Sometimes, if I’m really disciplined, dedicated, and focused, I can finish a book within a few months. Most times, though, it takes much longer. Hell, I started one novel three years ago. It is…nowhere near completion…
RMMW: Where do you get your ideas for your books and characters?
CH: For poetry I usually either come up with a loose theme and write around that, or write a piece that inspires a title or theme and go from there. With my novels, it can be something little or completely random to trigger an idea for a book or a character. For instance, I walk my dogs in a cemetery sometimes, and there are these five little graves in there. The graves are small because they were children that died, all in the same family. I walked past them enough times and thought about them enough times that I had all their names memorized. That snowballed into obsessing about them, and wanting to give them another chance to live, even if just in fiction. So, I started writing a book titled Five Little Graves, using the five names as five of the main characters.
RMMW: Tell me a little bit about your editing services and how writers can reach out to have their work edited?
CH: I offer proofreading and copyediting services both freelance and with Savage Hart Book Services. Kat Savage and I have partnered up to offer a full range of affordable book services to indie authors (including custom cover design, editing, and formatting). Most of my clients are poets and novelists, but there is no genre I won’t accept. Interested writers can reach out to me for a free sample edit via my email, email@example.com, or visit our website at www.savagehartbookservices.com.
RMMW: Would you recommend in our day that writers have a publisher or self-publish?
CH: I think it depends on the individual writer. There are pros and cons to each. With a traditional publisher, having your book in stores could potentially reach readers all over the world. However, quite a few self-published books have also reached readers all over the world, without in-store placement. The beautiful thing about self-publishing is that you have total creative control over your work. At the end of the day, though, I don’t think there is one right or wrong path. Some authors choose to traditionally publish certain books and self-publish others. It all depends on the drive and goals of the author. Every writer should take the route that they feel is best for them, regardless of what anyone else thinks they should do.
RMMW: How do you maintain a healthy work life balance?
CH: The short answer? I don’t. The long answer? I try to remember that life is not just about work, that it’s important to make time for family and loved ones. Otherwise, what are you working for or toward?
RMMW: How many unfinished manuscripts do you have?
CH: I feel triggered. LOL. Um…okay let me count. A minimum of three, but that’s the low end. I know there are more I’ve forgotten about over the years. I tend to go through bursts where I become heavily involved with one project, and just as quickly as my attention was captured, it wanes and shifts to another project.
RMMW: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
CH: Hmm. I don’t know that I have one. Maybe the fact that I can (and unfortunately do) go extended periods of time not writing, and then I’ll lose my mind and write something freakishly fast.
RMMW: Which one of your books written by you is your favourite?
CH: It’s probably a tie between Fresh Skin and Synthetic Love. I have a soft spot for those characters. Fresh Skin was really fun to write. Synthetic Love—to me—was important to write.
RMMW: What do you feel is the biggest challenge today for contemporary writers?
CH: I can’t choose just one. There are a few, for sure. I think a big challenge that writers face today has to do with how vast the internet is and the issues it can bring. It makes it easy, far too easy, for others to steal your work (or slightly reword it) and pass it off as their own, which is sad. There are also tons of sites that illegally distribute your books for free, with no consent from you or compensation for your hard work. On another note, due to the increasing popularity of self-publishing, it can be hard to figure out how to make your book(s) stand out among thousands of others. But I’m sure if you ask any writer, they’ll tell you the biggest challenge in itself is simply being a writer.
RMMW: If you had a super power what would it be?
CH: To manipulate time.