About the Author:
“Born in the city of Columbus, Ohio and relocated to a rural town in East Tennessee at the age of eight; American Poet and Author, Kellie Elmore is a self proclaimed southerner at heart, and a writer who believes self-expression is most beautiful in its pure, raw and unedited form. Transforming the simplest words into something you can feel, finding inspiration in photography, nature and in the humble surroundings of her “backyard” – Southeast Tennessee.
Through her charming prose and engrossing narratives, Kellie writes freely on many subjects both fiction and semi-autobiographical, penning her way through cherished and magical moments as well as tragic losses. Her goal is to take readers back, rekindle a memory or elicit a feeling.
Kellie’s debut collection of poetry and prose, Magic in the Backyard (April 2012) was nominated for the esteemed Pushcart Prize in Literature, selected by Winter Goose Publishing Editor-in-Chief James Logan. Elmore’s second collection, Jagged Little Pieces, released on March 20, 2013. Her work has earned features in popular publications such as Southern Writers Magazine and Virtuosity Magazine. And the reviews have all been consistent, agreeing that Elmore’s works are a ‘must read’.
Other notable highlights include: A spot in the Voice Your Verse anthology titled “If the World Were Your Classroom” published by She’s The First (dot org) which helps raise money for girls education. And in mid 2012, Kellie took her place on the list of ‘Famous Tennesseans‘ in the company of Justin Timberlake and Kenny Chesney. Additionally, Kellie’s work has been published in newspapers, magazines and anthologies in both print and online.”
MF: Who is Kellie Elmore?
KE: Oh my, I always dreaded this question when interviewing for jobs. Haha. I guess because to be honest, I don’t know who I am. I am constantly searching myself through writing and trying to figure it out as I go. And so far I have learned that I am not anything like I was before and probably wont be anything like I am today, tomorrow. Life, circumstance, events…all make us who we are and because those things are ever changing, so am I. As for the simple answer, I can say with confidence that I am a passionate writer, proud mother, giddy wife and a lover of trees.
MF: Tell us about Magic in the Backyard.
KE: Magic is my baby. It was my first collection of poetry that was written in some of my most sorrow filled times. The pieces I wrote helped me grieve people I lost, heal through the pain and find some magic in the world around me again. It is so dear and special to me.
MF: Your work has been featured in Southern Writers Magazine and an anthology titled “If the World Were Your Classroom.” What is your submission process like and has your work ever been rejected?
KE: Submitting your work, especially when it is so personal to you, is always difficult. It almost feels like if they don’t like it, then they don’t like you. Because writers, especially poets, bleed into their work. It’s really hard sometimes to put yourself out there and be vulnerable to opinion. But you have to find a way to separate yourself, detach from your emotions and understand that it’s a business. I have been rejected more than once and almost gave up. But the writer inside won’t allow it. A day without writing something is painful. It’s almost an addiction, really.
MF: Magic in the Backyard has been nominated for the 2013 Pushcart Prize. What was your first thought upon hearing the news?
KE: Total excitement! It was such validation for me. I am completely insecure about what I write and need constant reassurance that it’s good. To learn that Editor-in-Chief of Winter Goose Publishing liked it enough to select it for the award was moving.
MF: Has the Pushcart nomination added any pressure to exceed self-imposed expectations in your writing?
KE: I am always under self imposed pressure toward my writing. I am my own worst critic. Having a blog and sharing on a whim, as I do not edit what I write and post there, is a challenge for me. But a needed exercise as well. And I enjoy encouraging others to do the same with my Free Write Friday series. It’s liberating to simply free write your thoughts and feelings without judgement or criticism from yourself. And learning to just let go of the words and let them fall feels really good.
MF: What do you think poets such as Edna St. Vincent Millay, Maya Angelou, Billy Collins and James Joyce would say about your poetry?
KE: Oh wow. I would hope, like any poet would, that they would say I am doing it right. That they were able to feel what I was feeling when I spilled them out. For anyone to tell me they “felt it” is so rewarding.
MF: You’re working on your first full length novel. Would you mind telling us a bit about it?
KE: It’s my first attempt at writing outside of my comfort zone. Poetry, not to sound arrogant by any means, is a breeze for me. What I write comes from true events, only weaved with a hint of fiction for flavor. Maybe that’s why my novel is such a challenge. I am able to tell a story in short prose with ease, but writing in length, and having to make it up as I go, is proving extremely difficult. Narrative, dialogue, character development…it’s all a learning process, but I am enjoying every minute of it. I had written a piece of prose a couple years ago about a lonely old man who lived a monotonous and lonely life with just his dog as his companion. It was a piece that I was really proud of and it turned out to be well received by readers. Some of which encouraged me to write a short story from it. I ended up with I believe eight thousand words and couldn’t take it any further. But then, my now editor, the awesome Becky, (RebeccaTDickson.com) came swooping in to save me. She guided me along and helped me understand the process a bit more and I am now nearing thirty thousand words. Which I considered publishing as a novella, then decided to stay in and conquer my first novel. Aside from Becky’s help, I’ve been documenting the journey on my blog for my readers, (see my ‘Author Notes’ category) sharing the process as I move forward. Recently I shared the entire prologue to the book. Their feedback and support has been inspiring. I plan on inviting them to name characters along with more ways to involve them in the birth of the book as it nears the end. For now, I’m still writing.
MF: What do you read? What do you re-read?
KE I am a huge fan of memoir and biography. I really enjoy true stories. I read fiction, but it’s not my preference. And I have never read the same book twice.
MF: What is your favorite writing tip or quote?
KE: “If it doesn’t burst out of you, don’t do it.” — Charles Bukowski I wrote an entire piece based on this quote, called “On Writing”, on my blog.
MF: Do you have any advice for other writers and poets?
KE: While reading is important, writing is just as essential. Write, write write. Write about anything and everything. There are stories all around you. The more you write, the better you will become as you find your own unique voice/style. (More on my FAQ page)
MF: If you could jump into a book (or poem), and live in that world … which would it be?
KE: My own, Magic in the Backyard. It was from a place in time with people I love that I can never get back.
Poet Kellie Elmore delivers a sharp look inside the human condition with Jagged Little Pieces. Articulately divided into the emotional fragments concerning death, love, depression, and hope, this collection leads the reader through a metamorphosis from a shattered past of heartbreak and loss to a hopeful and inspired present. Watch the Trailer