Very excited to share with you this interview. Kristie Shoemaker talks to us why it is important to talk about mental health, her inspirations, her book Do Graves get Wi-Fi, and what it was like working with Ghost City Press on that book.
1, First of all, tell us a little about you Kristie.
Well, my name is Kristie Shoemaker and I am painfully and not okay with being twenty-six. I’m a Scorpio with my moon in Gemini so I think that’s why I am always moody. I love plants and crystals, especially Rose Quartz which I wear around my neck every day. I’m also learning how to play guitar so I can either impress my dead boyfriend Elliott Smith or become the new Waxahatchee. My therapist once told me I was ‘the most self aware fucked up person’ she’s ever met, and I took that as a compliment.
2, Now tell us about your book Do Graves get WiFi, which was published by Ghost City Press in October 2017, and the process of writing it?
Words can’t even describe how much love and respect I have for Ghost City Press and Kevin. I remember messaging them on Twitter just to be a fan girl and then one thing led to another and I was showing Kevin my manuscript and we were ready to go! The book itself is a collection of poems, short stories and tweets. It covers probably the last four years of my life. It covers my angst living at home, falling for my first real relationship, moving to NYC, moving back home and how it all intertwines with my mental health. I think speaking about mental health issues is so important so that people can see that its way more common than they might think and to kind of try to understand things better. My mental health deteriorated greatly over the time writing the book (unrelated) but I thought it was important to document, and I have gotten back really nice thoughts from people who have read it saying that it’s very relatable.
3, Could you share a small piece of your writing, a line, or two, that you think best sums up your book?
Sure, one of my favorite poems in the book is
‘can you hear me buzzing in your ear as you fall asleep’
i am a lot of things crammed
in this stupid little body,
but stable is not one of them.
i want the self awareness of a fly.
to live a lifetime in a day and
never need to figure out why i am here.
4, What is it you have learnt about yourself from writing this book?
I’ve learned so much from writing this book. This book has been my baby for so long and has witnessed me go through a lot. I never thought I would be able to sit down and write words that I even enjoyed reading, let alone other people. I learned that I am capable of completing something and I learned that it is okay to be proud of yourself.
5, How did the opportunity to publish with Ghost City Press come about, and what have your experiences been of working with them?
As I stated earlier, publishing with Ghost City was a whirlwind. I had been sitting on my manuscript for probably almost a year (it went through a lot of edits in the meantime) and one night I was on Twitter and decided to message Ghost City just to tell them that I loved their work and to ask if they were accepting any submissions in the future. Kevin then asked if I was working on anything, and said that they were a fan of mine too, which made me blush so hard, and to send them my manuscript. Kevin looked it over, saw potential and then that was it! The experience has been incredible. I couldn’t have asked for a better press to help me get this book to where I wanted it to be. Kevin was and still is super supportive and I honestly feel so grateful they took a chance on me.
6, How does it feel to be able to say that you’re now the author of a book?
It honestly feels weirdly not weird. I thought I would feel super different, and when I first got my book, I did, but now it just feels like ‘okay, you accomplished a thing you never thought you would, what’s next?’ At the same time though, it feels great to have a tangible thing that I made filled with my weird words that people enjoy. I always felt weird saying I was a ‘writer’ as I’ve only been published in online literary magazines which a lot of people aren’t familiar with (which they should be!) so now it doesn’t feel so strange saying that I am a writer, especially since it says so on Google.
7, What are your inspirations, and the influences, on your writing?
My inspirations are very predictable and very dead. Sylvia Plath for one. Miranda July, but she’s not dead. Joan Didion as well, still alive. Elliott Smith is probably my biggest inspiration in my writing. His song writing style was so raw and pure because he wanted to share that part of himself with people, good and bad. He helped me learn that I can just sit and observe people, places and things and make up my own stories about it all. He showed me it is okay to write about the bad parts of yourself because they are still beautiful. He was a gentle spirit of which I can relate. My last inspiration is the book ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ because it is my favorite book of all time and I am too much like Charlie. Wait, I also need to shout out Ja Rule. I read his book, you should too.
8, What are your ambitions for 2018 (doesn’t have to be writing related, can be personal)
2018 is going to be my year, even though I say that every year. I hope to have another collection completed, I am already at 30 pages. I plan on submitting more poems to literary magazines instead of hoarding them. I also plan on getting stable, because without that I can’t really do much else.
Kristie Shoemaker is a twenty-six year old from Baltimore, Maryland. She once told a stranger who asked what she did for a living that she was ‘trying to become the 2018 version of Sylvia Plath’ and then immediately ran away. She’s had work published in various online lit mags such as Voicemail Poems, Fruita Pulp, Gesture, Electric Cereal, Show Your Skin, Be About It and more. She also had her first poetry pamphlet PLANTS WILL MAKE HER DANCE published via Varsity Goth Press, and her first full length collection DO GRAVES GET WIFI published via Ghost City Press. You can follow her ongoing mental breakdown on Twitter @samweird_