This interview features writing advice from published poet and musician Dawn Kreiselman.
Q: When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
Kreiselman: Well, when I was a kid, I always liked poetry. I remember I was in the fourth grade, and we had an assignment to write a poem for Mother’s Day. The school put my Mother’s Day poem in the newspaper. So, I’ve just always loved to write poetry.
Q: Would you say that that’s the first poem that you recall writing as a child in fourth grade?
Kreiselman: Probably. I think that’s when I was introduced to poetry.
Q: Do you have a writing ritual that sets the mood for you to creatively write?
Kreiselman: For me, writing happens spontaneously. I can get myself in a mood to write, but poems that I have written usually come after my life experiences.
Q: How do you find inspiration to write?
Kreiselman: Through daily occurrences. For instance, I wrote a poem, The Old Cowboy, after seeing a guy playing guitar outside of a Publix. He was an old man, and he was playing and singing so beautifully. I wondered what he was doing outside a Publix, he was playing for tips; they call it busking. I gave him the last money I had on me because it was just so beautiful, I was teary-eyed. Then, I came home and immediately wrote a poem about it. I just wrote a song for my Uncle Woodrow that passed away, and that went with the emotion of losing him. But any type of emotional experience inspires me to write like sharing romantic anniversaries with my husband or spending time with my daughter.
Q: What books or authors inspired you to write The Twilight’s Enchantment?
Kreiselman: My husband was writing a book, and he mentioned that I should publish my poetry book at the same time. So, he really inspired me to actually publish The Twilight’s Enchantment. But as far as poets, I always loved Edgar Allan Poe because his poetry is dark, and my poetry doesn’t turn out that way.
Q: The cover art for The Twilight’s Enchantment is beautiful, where did the inspiration come from?
Kreiselman: My daughter, Eve, picked it out. She created the original picture for it, then it got changed a little. But Eve was the inspiration behind the cover art.
Q: How long did it take to write this book? What did the process look like?
Kreiselman: I literally opened my drawer, where I store all my poems in different notebooks. I even had poems on pieces of paper folded up thrown into drawers. I tend to write a poem, put it wherever, and forget about it. Still, I go through an old tote with notebooks, and I’ll flip through an old notebook, and there’s a poem I wrote that I forgot about. So, writing my book was actually sorting through all my work, compiling my favorite poems that I wrote, and putting them all in one place.
Q: What did the compiling process look like? What factors decided which poems made the cut for your book?
Kreiselman: I asked myself questions like, would I want my mom, children, or friends to read this book? Was the piece too private? I have very personal poems. So, I didn’t want to put those types of pieces out there for the world to read. I chose poems that I felt were uplifting, that would mean something to my kids or my family members. I wanted to put something into the world that was pretty, that would make people happy.
Q: What was the process of publishing The Twilight’s Enchantment?
Kreiselman: My husband published my book for me, and he did all the research. I had thought about submitting it to publishers to have them do it, but we just went with the self-publishing route.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to publish poetry?
Kreiselman: I would say, don’t give up. Walt Disney was turned down, he went to different banks to be financed, and they kept turning him down. Look at what he built with Walt Disney World. You have to keep trying. J.K. Rowling was turned down many times before publishing her books. So, I would say believe in yourself and do your best. Also, invest in a good proofreader to ensure everything in your work is correct and flows well.
Q: You mentioned Edgar Allen Poe earlier, but do you maybe have any other poets or authors that inspire you to write?
Kreiselman: Maya Angelou, I absolutely adore her. Also, my aunt Margaret Parker; she wrote a poetry book called A Nest of Robins in my Hair that I’ve never gotten a read. I’ve read some of her poetry, but not that book. I’m having a hard time trying to get my hands on a copy. When I was a kid, my mom had the book, and she said some of it was too racy for a little girl to read. Hence the question I ask myself, would I let my children read my book? I want my writing to be passed down to my family. I want my grandkids to be able to read my work. Writing should be beautiful and uplifting, something your family can read and be proud of.
Q: Do you have any new projects you’re working on?
Kreiselman: Right now, I am working on my music. I’ve taken poetry to music. I play guitar and sing; I love to sing. I think the strongest part of my music is my lyrics, which would be poetry. It’s almost like it breathes life into my poetry. Actually, anytime I write a poem, I put music to it. So that’s my new passion. I might write another poetry book in the future, but it would consist of songs I’ve written.