- Guest Poet -
Welcome to an interview conducted with an Australian poet - Vicki Case. Vicki is not only a poet, as you will soon read. She is also a very generous writer who always encourages and promotes other Australian writers. Vicki has read my latest book, 'Pa Joe's Place', and loved it. She has promoted it far and wide, including a 5-Star review on Amazon. For that I'm very grateful.
Welcome, Vicki ...
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR POETRY JOURNEY.
I am just a humble Australian country girl, born and raised on a large citrus and stone-fruit farm on the outskirts of Western Sydney. My high school history teacher once told me that I would never be able to write. Boy! Was he wrong?
Prior to meeting a man I affectionately call ‘Eros’ I had difficulty stringing several words together. However after I met him and subsequently fell head over heels in love with him I found a creative chakra which ultimately became my poetic journey to the literary world. Initially the words of admiration and adoration for him began flooding my head sporadically before turning into a tsunami of words that bombarded me relentlessly until they formed the next poem. I told Eros of my love for him via a daily poem I would text to him during his commute to work. It didn’t take long before they filled a folder; then two. Eros would often tell me that my poetry was good and that I should consider publishing it but I just believed his words were a way a appeasing me; rather than telling me the truth. It wasn’t until after he unceremoniously severed me from his life that I actually seriously contemplated the prospect. The rest is history and I am now a published poet and author. Who would have thought?
2. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A POET?
I found my calling as a poet in 2009. It was unexpected and came from out of the blue. In 2009 I met an extraordinary man who I fell in love with him. Prior to meeting him I had difficulty putting stringing several meaningful words together. However after I fell in love with him words literally circled my head and bombarded me relentlessly (day and night) until they formed a poem.
3. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A POET?
The favourite part of writing poetry is that poetry allows me to express my inner most feelings, fears and desires in words and verse. Writing poetry I can be angry one moment and overjoyed the next. The best thing that I have discovered about poetry is that it provided me with an avenue through which to deal with life and loss; at a time when I found myself alone and lost. If I had not found poetry when I did I may not be here today sharing this interview with you; and that is the sad and honest truth.
4. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT POETRY?
The hardest thing about poetry is its lack of appreciation in today’s society. Despite poetry being the inaugural literary art form, it is undervalued and underappreciated today. When I tell people that I am an author they get excited. However, when I tell people that I write poet they simply respond “oh” and walk away.
5. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A POET?
Prior to rising from the ashes and becoming a poet I was (and still am) an internationally certified criminal analyst working with an Australian law enforcement agency. I have been in the field of law enforcement since 1990. It’s a career I really enjoy & it gives me a lot of personal satisfaction; not to mention, at times, frustration.
6. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
Without question, my greatest writing achievement has been the publication of my poetry. If you had told me five years ago that I’d be a published author I would have laughed at you.
7. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
I am currently working on two projects simultaneously. My projects are not poetry this time. I have diversified my writings and am expanding my horizons into writing fiction and non-fiction.
My first project is a fiction story I have titled ‘Chameleon Blue’. It is a behind the scenes story of policing and a police station. It’s not a story about fighting and solving crime; it’s a story about the lives and happenings surrounding a group of police officers in an Australian police station. It is guaranteed to surprise, shock and entertain. When people think of Police officers’ they think of a person in a uniform who is there to attend to them when they have suffered and been a victim of crime. The truth is that Police are ordinary people, drawn from society, who want, feel and desire just like you and I. Unfortunately for Police, the community at large never get to see, nor do they understand that there is another side to the men and women who strive to make society a safer and better place to live.
My second project is my memoirs which I have titled ‘No One’s Story’. A few years ago, after enduring the devastation of losing the love of my life and seriously contemplating ending my life as a consequence; a friend suggested that I write my autobiography. She suggested that it was a way of; not only grieving, but a way to deal with the hurt and pain that I was experiencing. Initially I thought she was nuts but then I came to the realisation that I have had a pretty different life and survived to tell the story. I am now; after having commenced the book; am of the belief that people who read it will learn from my mistakes and appreciate and respect the courage I have demonstrated through adversity. I guarantee it will make you laugh one minute and cry the next.
8. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
A lot of things inspire me; from the beauty of the sun rising in the east each morning; to the spender of nature; to the courage, resilience and fortitude of the human spirit. When all seems lost; you will always find someone who is worse off then you.
9. WHAT SORT OF POETRY DO YOU WRITE?
I write emotionally honest poetry using the rhyme scheme with every alternate line of my verses rhyming. My poetry comes straight from my heart and reflects the ebbs and flows of my emotions as I transverse the feelings of finding love, to losing it, to living to tell the tale of the aftermath.
10. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR ASPIRING POETS?
Never give up and never throw out your work. If poetry is your dream then never give it up and never, ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do it; because you can.
11. DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
Initially, no however more recently; yes.
12. DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
No I don’t have a preferred writing schedule. With respect to my poetry, I write it when it comes to me; which is mostly at night between the hours of 2100 and 0100. However now, I have to fit it into my career and family commitments which is proving difficult.
13. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
Not really. Unfortunately for me the majority of my poetry comes to me when I am sleeping; generally between the hours of 2100 & 0100 hours. I have found that I have to sleep with a writing pad and pen beside the bed so that I can jot them down as they come to me so that I don’t forget them. Generally, the following day I will re-write them (so to ensure they are legible) or type them up for inclusion in my next poetry book.
More recently however I have diversified into the world of fiction and for this writing I generally write in my study (or ‘ego’ room as I call it). I have a PC set up in my study so I find it easier to write my novels in there.
14. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
The greatest joy in writing for me is seeing my book[s] come to fruition and appear on the Internet to buy.
15. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
I don’t believe that I actually have a favourite author per say; however the author whom has written the most books I have read would have to be Patricia Cornwell. I must; with some embarrassment admit; that prior to reading a Patricia Cornwell novel I preferred non-fiction works. However since reading her work I am now more read in the fiction genre.
16. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
Without question, the greatest compliment I have ever received from a reader was after she read my poetry and then; on social media; began referring to me as the ‘Aussie Poet of Love’. What greater compliment could a poet receive than to be given a title such as this? Each and every day since I have endeavoured to be worthy of this title.
17. WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
It’s not really a comment that is the worst comment from a reader; it’s a common reaction that I receive that is difficult to deal with. When the topic arises and I tell people that I am a published author; you can visually see their demeanour change to one of enthusiasm and a willingness to get to know me better. However once I tell them I write poetry they generally just respond with an ‘oh’, followed by a shrug of their shoulders and they disappear back into the ethos from which they came.
When you consider that poetry was the inaugural form of literature; coupled with the fact that it takes a creative person to write poetry; I find this reaction extremely difficult to deal with. You can call me ‘vain’ if you wish but my poetry is exceptionally good and it takes enormous personal courage and faith in one’s self to publish one’s works. Considering all of the offender’s to date have not published a book themselves; I find their reaction[s] a poor reflection on our lack of literary culture and our education system.
18. WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
Absolutely, whether it is my poetry or my current memoir or fiction projects, there is always something within them that is or was influenced by an event or an individual.
19. OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
I am a very diverse individual actually. In my spare time (what I have of it) I love to play the guitar (I have three). I have a music room set in my home with all the mod-cons and I regularly play and sing to my heart’s content. Generally at a decibel that doesn’t upset the neighbours though.
I am also learning the violin. My father gave me his great; great; great; great-grandfather’s violin a few years ago as a family heirloom. However for me though it had been in his wardrobe for 40 years and my grand-fathers shed for umpteen dozen years prior and, as such, it was in a state of disrepair. Luckily for me; after a few months at the violin hospital it came back to me looking incredible and sounding awesome. It was then that I decided that if I had it, I should learn to play it; and I have. It was the best feeling when I sat my father down and played Amazing Grace and the Marseille’s for him. These two songs were very dear to him as my grand-father would play them for him when he was younger; before a farming accident which left him with a severed finger.
I also sing with a band (when the opportunity arises). My girlfriend is the lead singer in a band & on occasion she invites me up on stage to sing duets with her. It’s an amazing feeling.
Finally, I ride my racing bike. It’s a great form of exercise and when you consider Santa had to take my first bike back when I was much younger because I couldn’t master riding it; being able to ride the roads today is quite an achievement.
20. DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
No. I have a number of great friends that perform this function for me and do it for the love of it. Admittedly we may miss an odd spelling but so too do the professionals.
21. DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
A perfect day for me would begin with the privilege of a sleep-in followed by a big plate of mum’s porridge. Then take my beautiful Australian Cattle dog (Patch) for a long walk in the sun before enjoying a meal and a glass of wine with family and friend.
22. IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
Without question it would be my mother. She is the greatest and most courageous woman I know and I would be lost without her and her guidance.
23. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
Come and live in the ‘real world’ for a while. You have spent far too much time in your ivory tower, protected by your body-guards and bullet-proof vehicles, surrounded by everything that is bought and paid for by the tax-payer to truly know what it is really like. You don’t risk being mugged on our trains or streets, or robbed by someone who is off their face on a cocktail of drugs or having to look your family in the eye when they ask what’s for dinner when you know there is only small change in your wallet.
24. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
My goal is eventually to retire from my career and make a liveable income from my writing.
25. WHAT FIVE BOOKS WOULD YOU TAKE TO YOUR GRAVE?
My Prison Without Bars by Taylor Fulks
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCulloch
The Dictionary (for sure); and
A blank notebook to record my poetry in heaven
26. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
Yes, in my upcoming fiction novel I am one of the main characters – Valencia; an intelligence practitioner working in the police station.
27. DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
The most frustrating thing for me is that the publishing industry is all about the $. If they’d only realise that by making literature more readily available to reader’s at a less cost; that they would ultimately sell more; hence making more money. Everyone would and could win.
28. DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
Often! It is easy to consider quitting when you compare your expenditure to your royalty cheque (if you ever get one that is). However then I sit back and realise that God gave me this incredible gift and, as such, I should share it with the world.
29. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE POEM TO WRITE? WHY?
I don’t really have a favourite poem per say. Each poem is precious and was written for a specific time, hour or minute in my life. If you single one poem out of my four poetry books I could probably tell you where I was when it was written and exactly how I was feeling and why.
30. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER?
I define success as a writer when the author has created a literary work with which ‘they’ are completely happy. Even if the author never sells a copy; or it is never read by another individual; if the author is totally (100%) happy with their finished work; then they have succeeded as an author.
31. WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR POETRY KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
I want readers of my poetry to know that it is okay to feel; to hurt, to laugh; to want; to desire. Too often we feel that we have to adhere to the standards society has set for us, such as ‘grown men don’t cry’. Well, the truth of the matter is that they do. We all love, hurt, want, grieve, and the list goes on. I loved the only man I have ever loved but it wasn’t enough for him and he walked away. He left me feeling alone, rejected and desperately considering the worst alternative. Yet he didn’t know or even care. Only a hand full of people actually knew of the horrendous time I was going through and my one and only salvation was my poetry. It allowed me to vent and to hurt. I want everyone who has ever been hurt and heartbroken to read my poetry and put it down knowing that there is life after loss and that I epitomize this.
32. HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
I put a lot of thought into my books covers. Firstly and foremost, the cover has to capture the reader’s eye. Secondly, the cover has to say something about me (the author) and the book’s content. How many great books have your ever seen sold that had a plain coloured cover with just its title and author’s name on it – none?
33. WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
That my upcoming fiction novel – ‘Chameleon Blue’ goes as viral as Fifty Shades of Grey did.
34. WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
To be effective you must market your product and this in itself is a full-time job. There are so many would-be authors in the world and now social media and the internet are bringing them right to our door.
35. ARE YOUR BOOKS SELF-PUBLISHED?
Yes, all of my books are self-published. To date I have four (4) poetry books available; those being:
Unconditional Forbidden Love
A Journey of Hurt; Captured in Ink
Love is Eternal
Book Trailer (UTube) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTAMo9ejE28
36. ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
One thing that I have learnt from the experience of becoming an author is that there are oh so many people out there that will help you at a whim and never ask for anything in return. I am sincerely grateful to each and every one of them for their help and assistance. To single one or two people out would be difficult.
Clancy's comment: Thank you, Vicki. Agree with you about the joy of a book coming to fruition. The production of a book is involved, and it doesn't happen overnight.
I recently read one of Vicki's poetry books and gave a review. Here it is:
‘Forever Love’, Poetry by Vicki Case, Balboa Press, 154 pages
Don’t shy away from this book of poetry. Don’t. Trust me. This book is a must read for anyone who has broken anyone’s heart, or had their own heart broken. Yes, it’s for anyone old enough to have loved and lost, and the preface to this book is raw, passionate and honest. Vicki Case writes simple but easily understood poetry that makes you recall names of people who have come and gone in your life – the special people who have moved you, changed your life or left you gob smacked and speechless. Vicki Case writes a beautiful style of poetry. It’s almost as though she has visited my mind, heart and soul at some stage during my life. I’d highly recommend this beautiful book, which comes with a matching bookmark.
Clancy Tucker, Author, Blogger and Photographer."
Keep scribing and stay positive, Vicki.
Love ya work!