May 9, 2020
Maya Elphick is a published poet situated in the UK. She has just released her debut novel “White Moth”, which is a great read and I highly recommend it. She has been published in many A.B Baird anthologies and has since won their competitions.
James: When and why did you start writing?
Maya: I began writing poetry in my early teens after a deteriorating health condition meant I had to become home educated. The slight isolation of my circumstances and difficulties with my mental health forced me to reflect and I found poetry to be a natural and cathartic outlet for these emotions.
James: Does your family support your writing?
Maya: Both my parents are former English Literature teachers and creative writers themselves so I have always felt very supported by them in my writing. Both my Mum and my Dad have written poetry throughout their lives and I feel that the success I have experienced in getting my work published has fulfilled generations of dreams and ambitions.
James: What inspires you to write?
Maya: My inspiration to write comes from many places – family, relationships, nature, even current political issues. But a theme I have noticed within my work is that it often delves into the undercurrents that lie beneath small actions. I like to pick apart small details in daily life and explore them, as I believe they reveal how the cogs of the world click together.
James: What is the process of writing a book like?
Maya: Well I can only speak for myself but in my experience it was an extremely rewarding, creative and collaborative journey. I was lucky enough to work with a publisher, A.B.Baird, who was extremely patient and guided me throughout every stage of the process. I was given complete creative control over the look and style of the book, meaning I was able to pick and design the format, font and cover illustrator. This way of working together created a book that I am still unbelievably proud of. However, the process was not without it’s stressful moments and an awful lot of time and work was put in to ensure the book was a success; such as finding a cover artist and brainstorming ideas, contacting media outlets to promote the book, revising multiple proof copies of the paperback book and formatting the kindle version, as well as many, many redrafts and edits of poems.
James: What is the most crucial part when writing a poem?
Maya: This is a very tricky and subjective question but I’d say that a key part of writing a great poem is writing about something the reader can relate to. Even if they have not experienced the same thing directly, writing about something in a vivid, emotive and detailed away can transport the reader to any time or place in a few short verses. This is something that only poetry is able to do so concisely and beautifully.
James: Can you share one editing tip?
Maya: My one editing tip would be to reread your work many many times. Read it out loud – this will give you a better chance at noticing parts that don’t sound right or let you know you need to revise the use of punctuation or grammar. Make other people read your work, family, friends, hairdressers, pets – it all helps!!!
James: How do you stay motivated to write?
Maya: It’s not always easy. My method of writing is that it happens when it happens, I can’t force it! Although this is very frustrating, I just have to accept that sometimes I’m not in the mood to write, whereas other times it pours out of me faster than I can write it down. My advice would be not to beat yourself up about lacking motivation, having writer’s block or simply not feeling it – it happens to everyone, but it doesn’t make you less of a writer!
James: How often do you write and how do you find the time?
Maya: As a full time student coming up to the exam period with a part-time job, finding time to write is definitely difficult. Fortunately, I often write poems or ideas for poems on the notes app on my phone. These days we are so lucky to have little digital notebooks on us all the time and I take advantage of this. On my morning commute to college, on my lunch break or simply out and about with friends, I quickly jot down any ideas or lines of poetry that come to mind, making writing a lot easier with a busy schedule.
James: What is your main writing goal?
Maya: I would love to get to a point in my writing where I am able to pursue it as a full-time career. I am certain that many more poetry collections, as well as short story anthologies and plays are in the pipeline but I am currently focused on going to university and learning more about creative writing as a craft.
James: What does poetry mean to you?
Maya: For me, poetry is not only something that I feel drawn to write, but also something I adore reading. I have read poets such as Sylvia Plath, Maya Angelou, Dylan Thomas and Charles Bukowski since my early teens and have been enthralled, moved and dazzled by their words and phrasing. Writing poetry fulfils a desire in me to write work that could perhaps affect someone else as profoundly as the work I have read has affected me.
Maya writes poems on Instagram and you should make sure you read her beautiful work
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