Tell us about you, and your writing (themes, influences etc.)
Hi, I’m Shelby! I’m a writer but I can’t seem to talk about myself very eloquently or much at all. I’m Canadian and queer and a Gryffindor and not very interesting! My first poetry collection, soft in the middle, was very introspective and dealt with love and heartbreak, body image, growing into my asexuality and exploring my romantic orientation. It was basically a book about all these things that I had been feeling for a long, long time and writing them down was a way of making them known and letting them go. My second poetry collection, sunfish, is incredibly different. It focuses solely on family relationships and with this one, I actually had some very specific influences. Kehlani’s debut album, Reyna Biddy’s A Psalm For Us, a short story called The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and the novel You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon all played a really key part in writing sunfish. I love to draw inspiration from lots of different art mediums, obviously!
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 rely heavily on twitter to promote my work, with some promotion thrown in on Instagram. I don’t do much besides talk about my writing and post links to where my books can be found and purchased. I don’t think promotion really affects the time that I have to write, but it does greatly affect my mental health in a fairly negative way. It’s extremely hard for me to ask for attention because I feel like I don’t deserve it, I guess. I get very self-conscience and hypercritical of myself in the way I talk about my work. It is not easy having to self-promote when you have imposter syndrome or are generally an insecure person.
What projects are you working on at present?
Right this second, I’m not doing anything because sunfish has JUST been released. I have lots of wips to get back to when I feel ready though. I’ve got ideas for a few contemporary YA/NA novels, a NA paranormal story, an adult romance, and 2 halfway finished poetry projects. I can definitely see myself getting more poetry out there before anything bigger.
What does poetry mean to you?
Poetry, to me, is honesty. I’ve never written from a place of total fiction or elaborate story telling with my poetry, and I’ve not really read much of that sort either, so I definitely see and appreciate the truth in poetry. It really comforts me to both read and write pieces that shine light on something that’s been kept in the dark for too long. Poetry and candor are just so closely intertwined for me.
A poetry collection exploring fractured familial relationships, fresh grief surrounding the death of the author’s grandparents from years before, and living in the loss of what could have been. Many of these poems are letters- whether they’ll make it to who they’re meant for is a wearisome wondering, a mystery to be solved in the next life.