Author Interview: Emmanuella Hristova



Dear reader,

This blog post is rather special and I'm very excited to share it with you all.

Emmanuella Hristova is a newly published author of a collection of beautiful poems, entitles 'The Day my Kisses tasted like Disorder.' She recently reached out to me and allowed me the privilege of interviewing her about her writing.

So without further a do - here are her answers!

When did you start writing poetry?

Truth be told, I started writing poetry when I was a closeted, hopeless romantic teen posting
couplets on platforms like Xanga and Myspace. But at the time, I didn’t know I was writing
poetry. I just thought I was expressing my thoughts. In college, I had little creative outlets
because I chose to pursue a very logical discipline—linguistics. However, after I graduated, I
fell in love for the first time. Shortly afterwards, my ex-boyfriend and I broke up, and then
two weeks later I found out my sister was dying. It was a period of pure suffering, which I
documented meticulously in a notebook. After nine months of extreme ups and downs, as
well as tumultuous grief, I tucked the notebook away and didn’t look at it for two years. But
just last year, I opened it up again, read it to a few friends, and found a passion—sharing my
writing with others. And it turns out, I had a whole book in that one Moleskin. I even had a
title: The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder.

What is your writing process like? Does each poem take ages to write or do some just form
quickly? Do you like to bend the rules of poetry or do you prefer writing in a traditional
form/rhyme scheme?

Poetry becomes quick and easy for me when I have emotional inspiration. Sometimes I wish
I had a different personality type, as in, I wish I was less emotional or sensitive. However, if I
wasn’t, I wouldn’t be able to write. Because powerful emotions induce profound art. Lately,
I’ve begun with a line or two that I think is beautiful and makes sense in my head, and then I
begin to form an idea and write it down. Sometimes I edit these little poems later, but
sometimes I’m satisfied with the results as is. When it came to The Day My Kisses Tasted
Like Disorder, it really was my diary. So, most poems are titled after the day they were
written, but a lot of them look backwards, to events that already happened. But I experienced
the emotions on that day and that was when I penned them down. Later, my editor and I took
a lot of time to readjust the order of the poems, so they made sense in their subsequent
chapters. Sometimes I think writing is spilling verbal or emotional vomit on the page and
then later coming back and cleaning up the mess.

I definitely make up my own rules when it comes to writing poetry. I write free verse, but
often the breaks in my lines are intentional. For example, I love creative line breaks that
produce double meanings:

You linger within the
vacant slots between my fingertips,
flooding my senses with the
memories of
you I will never get back.

The poem concludes with me reminiscing about how I won’t be creating and receiving any
more memories with this lover. But, if you read the last line by itself, it reads that I won’t get
the lover back. I like to space my lines like that, to produce two meanings or to place
emphasis on a certain meaning. Another thing that I also do is I end lines with pronouns like
“I” or “you”:

the winter

It will feel colder in California when
you come back but I’m
afraid I
won’t be here to
keep you warm.

The first reason is so I can take a deep breath after the pronoun for emphasis. But lines
ending in “I” also symbolize me placing myself last in relationships, because I often fret over
what the other person thinks and feels, rather than what I think and feel.

How easy is self-publishing…what are the downfalls and upsides? When did you decide that
you wanted to publish your work?

Self-publishing can be easy if you are tech-savvy or if you have some money to spend. I
taught myself because I used to be a professional graphic designer, and I’m really proficient
at teaching myself programming. I taught myself how to format my own document and then I
used a service called Lulu to send out my completed eBook to all online book retailers. It also
didn’t hurt that I could design my own images. However, if you don’t have those skills you
have to outsource the labour of course. The hardest part is marketing yourself as an average
person that no one knows. However, if you’re willing to spend quite a chunk of money on
advertisements and you want to self-publish a well-written novel, I say go for it! There have
been many people who have become successful simply because they chose to invest money
in self-marketing. But it can also be a struggle too.

How do you express so much emotion in very few words? Do you find sometimes what
you’re feeling is too much or your experiences too personal for writing down?

Metaphors are really powerful for me. Sometimes I use them too much actually, and I’ve had
reviewers or friends ask me to tone it down a bit. However, I often struggle with expressing
my feelings verbally, even though on the inside I’m an emotional wreck. So often a metaphor
pops into my head—like something about fire, or stars or puzzles or fairy tales or you name
it—and I run with that metaphor because it helps me categorize the turbulence I’m
experiencing on the inside. It’s very cathartic. Sometimes I do think things are too personal to
write down—but I often do anyways. There are some poems in my collection, particularly in
the final section called The Aftermath which deal with sexism and misogyny, that I have
never read out loud. Because they’re too much to share, at least at this point in my life. But, I
did write them down. Because those stories are important. So, if someone reads them, and I
hope they do, I’m okay with that. I sense a distance between my personal experiences,
writing about them, and then someone reading them. It’s almost like an indescribable
anonymity.

Who is another author that has inspired you?
In my mind Sylvia Plath is a poetry goddess. Reading her work helped me embrace my own
propensity to wallow in my grief and depression. And her craft is just flawless. When I read
her work, it blows my breath away every time. In addition, Georgi Gospodinov’s novel The
Physics of Sorrow inspired me to write my first novel! Which, I just finished a second draft
of, but it’s still a work in progress. He’s a contemporary Bulgarian author and his blend of
Eastern European mythology with his own story inspired me to write my own.

***

So there you have it - with some lovely sneak peaks into her work too! A big thank you to Emmanuella for giving her time to answer my questions, which I hope you all find inspiration in.

 Do take the time to give her new collection a read, I shall put a link in below for you to find it on amazon!


Happy Reading,

Hebe x

Photo by Ãlvaro Serrano on Unsplash



No comments