1, Tell us about you, and your writing (themes, influences etc.)
I’m a poet, writer and editor from Northamptonshire, England. I’ve been writing since I was a child, and I started off writing stories. When I was a teenager I started writing song lyrics, and this led me onto writing poetry. I dabble in novels too but am yet to finish one to a publishable standard! I get a lot of inspiration from music, and find my favourite bands to be just as influential as my favourite writers. Bring Me The Horizon and Professor Green are among my favourite musical artists, and I appreciate the honesty and openness in their work. I can relate to their lyrics, and they inspire me to write honestly about my own life. Matt Haig and Stephen King are my favourite novelists, and in terms of poets I enjoy reading Nikita Gill, Kaveh Akbar, and Chen Chen. Much of my writing revolves around my experiences as a cancer survivor, and I am very interested in memoir and creative non-fiction.
2, What are some of the ways in which you promote your work, and do you find these add, or eat into, your time writing?
I promote my work through social media (mostly Twitter), which doesn’t take up too much of my time. If I have had a poem published in a literary magazine I like to spread the word about it online. I also like to share some of my writing on my website and then share this on social media. I don’t think it takes up too much of my writing time, but sometimes if I am happy with a poem I am so keen to put it out there that I put it on my website and then may later regret it when I want to submit it for publication, because many magazines don’t accept previously published submissions. I am learning to hold fire when it comes to work I’m really proud of, and submit it to magazines instead of uploading it to my blog straight away.
3, What projects are you working on at present?
I am in the editing stages of my current novel, which I hope to finish and begin sending out to agents soon. I’m also working on a new poetry book which focuses on the telling of cancer treatment and survivorship through objects.
4, What does poetry mean to you?
Poetry for me is a way of telling and sharing the self. I write mainly for myself, and sometimes I don’t understand something fully until I have written it out – I can have an epiphany through writing poetry. It’s a way of seeing more clearly. And when it is expressed well, it can be a source for readers to do the same. So it’s also a way for people to connect with each other, to understand themselves and others better, to learn something new, and to feel less alone. Writing poetry and sharing it is an act of giving to yourself and to others.
Empowerthy is a collection of poems about being a cancer survivor and living with Lynch syndrome, a genetic condition which makes people more likely to develop certain cancers in their lifetime.
The poems are written to empower and empathise with readers – whether you are a cancer survivor, previvor, or simply a survivor of this world so far.
A portion of the profits from sales of the paperback copy of this book will be donated to Lynch Syndrome UK.