This interview with Christy Birmingham marks my first with a writer who primarily identifies herself as a poet. I can’t say exactly when Christy and I passed internet paths, but I’ve since become a regular reader of her poetry blog. When National Poetry Months rolls around in April, I will be reading and reviewing her collection. She’s a kind soul and fantastic writer, so please make sure to check her out.
1. Please provide a brief synopsis of your book.
Pathways to Illumination tells the story of a woman who finds herself in difficult times when her abusive relationship ends. She has struggles with depression, as well as identity issues. The book is unique in design as it is told through poems that are meant to be read sequentially.
2. Tell us a little bit about what motivates or inspires your writing.
I write to help explain my views on the human experience. Through writing, I am able to reach out to readers to describe situations I have been through. My intention is to try to help alleviate pain or discomfort through soothing words or have my words be an avenue of escape that elicits a smile from the reader during his or her day.
3. It’s hard to pick just one, but what do you consider your favorite novel and why?
My favorite book is Surfacing by Margaret Atwood. She is one of my idols as I value her insights and the flowing movements in her writing. She helps inspire me to stay strong as a female writer and keep working away at writing books.
My blog is Poetic Parfait and, as the name suggests, it is a mix of my poems with other yummy literary tidbits. I post poetry, short fictional works, and highlight other writers too. It’s a place to pull up a chair, read and relax.
5. Are you traditionally published or self-published?
Pathways to Illumination is my debut book. It is traditionally published, by Redmund Productions. I am thankful that the company formatted the book and had a designer on board to create the cover. I am curious about self-publishing and will likely do that at some point.
6. Can you offer one or two helpful tips for fellow writers when it comes to marketing and publicity?
I say, don’t be shy about promoting your own work online. While you don’t want to do it 24 hours a day and spam your online networks, it is important to share your writing proudly (books, content articles and blog posts). After all, if you don’t do it then how will anyone know it even exists? Posting one link a day to each site you’re active on is generally fine (with Twitter being more often than that).
7. Describe your writing background.
I took one year of professional writing courses immediately after graduating high school. Following that, I changed directions for my degree. I am, therefore, largely self-taught, although I value my English teachers in high school for encouraging me to write.
I am a freelance writer, so I pride myself on being self-disciplined. For the book I am working on right now, I write every day for about half an hour. I try not to get upset with myself if it is an unproductive day (meaning I write very little during the half hour). Some days are better than others, and I wish I had more time to devote to it! I have had a few people offer to beta-read it when it’s written, which is so kind of them (friends and authors).
9. What future projects can we look forward to?
The next book! It is a science fiction/fantasy/Christy-twist book. I am finding it fun to step into the imaginary realm in writing this book. I plan to publish another poetry book, as well.
I want them to know that I believe in chasing your dreams. If you put in hard work, you really can become what your heart desires. If you want to write a book, you can. Wake up a half hour earlier in the morning or write on your lunch break at work. Make the time; your dreams are worth it. Now, with many authors going the self-publishing route, it is an exciting time full of opportunities in the literary world!
All images appear courtesy of Christy Birmingham.
Please share responsibly. Jeri Walker, 2014.