Tuesday, October 11, 2011

She Was Allowed to Guest

Today I have a treat and by treat, I mean a guest blogger. Welcome LaviniaThompson, she is going to tell us about her recently release collection of poems, She Wasn't Allowed to Giggle, and why she decided to go the indie route.

1)What got you into writing? Tell us about your journey.
I have been writing since I could put pen to paper so it seems. I don’t remember when I started writing, but I was very young. It has always been my passion. Growing up, I couldn’t think of what else I wanted to do with my life. I went through the motions of trying to figure it out. I got told lots- “Don’t go into writing or journalism. There’s no money there. Go into nursing. Do something with yourself.” As if following my own dreams wasn’t doing anything for myself.

I don’t remember exactly when my mother’s abusive ex came into the picture, either, but I do remember all the dark days and nights that followed. I remember watching my mother get hit and thrown around, screamed at and accused of cheating or not caring for her kids or of being an alcoholic or a drug addict. I remember getting yelled at, for not doing well enough in school or not doing something right or being a bad sister or a lesbian. In a small town, these accusations and verbal abuses got around. I was bullied at school, abused at home and witnessed abuse. Writing back then was my sanctuary. My bedroom was the only place where I could shut the world out, hide away and write away everything only for a little while. My dark fantasy series, “Spellbound” was started around this time. This is also when many of the poems in “She Wasn’t Allowed to Giggle” were written.

Many of those pieces were lost when Mom’s ex burned down the house in 2004. Eight years of abuse and life went up in smoke that July. So did my original draft of “Spellbound by Fire” and so did numerous poems which I never got to salvage. Mom’s ex left town that summer. I guess the healing journey should have begun...or so they say it should. In reality, the healing journey never ends as much as it progresses. I kept writing. I graduated high school and was still trying to figure out what to do with my life. In 2009 I began working seriously on “Spellbound” for the first time since the house fire and was toying with the idea of a poem book about domestic violence. But I wasn’t ready to face those poems then. I went to college and majored in journalism. In my second college year, “Spellbound by Fire” got accepted for publication through Hellfire Publishing. It was just this past summer (2011) when I decided to embark on a self-publishing journey and I knew what my first project would be: I wanted to get that poetry collection about domestic violence done and published. And so here it is. All these years later after the abuse came and went, dominated and defeated; I have the voice and power today.

2)What are some of your favorite books and authors? Any in particular inspire you?
I don’t really have favourite books...my favourite authors vary. I love Ann Rule, a true crime author. My mother got me hooked on her books. I love J.K. Rowling...I kind of grew up with the Harry Potter series. I read a variety of things though.

3)What made you decide to self publish? What do you hope to achieve from going this route?
I decided this past summer to self-publish. I looked into it and did a lot of research, talked to other authors. I looked around on blogs, websites and got an insight into what other authors were saying. It was at the same time as Amanda Hocking signed a contract with a publishing house and at the same time Barry Eisler turned down a $500,000 deal to self-publish. So the publishing world was in a bit of chaos with all this news. I read what became a lengthy read by Jeo Konrath and Barry Eisler, a conversation about ebooks and self-publishing they came to call “Be the Monkey.” A must read for anyone interested in self-publishing.

Not everyone gets six-figures a year from self-publishing, but the eventual goal for me is to make enough money from my writing that I can become a full-time novelist. Especially since, as my blog, Twitter and Facebook followers would know, I have had rotten luck with jobs this past year since graduating college. I spent two years studying journalism and spent money on college to get a legitimate diploma for all my work and passion, just to end up as one of these college grads not able to find work in their field. It’s frustrating. So instead, I am trying to apply some of the publishing skills I got from college to publishing my own books. I’m working jobs that are far from what my diploma certifies me to do, but I tell myself it’s only temporary until self-publishing takes off.

4)Have any tips to share, inspiration to give to aspiring authors?
Don’t ever give up on your dream! It’s tough at times and there is a lot of frustration as a writer. You work hard for your books to sell and to write, and it’s tough to work at another job or two other jobs sometimes when you’d rather just be home writing. But don’t give up. Your passion will pay off.

5)Tell us about She Wasn't Allowed to Giggle?
“She Wasn’t Allowed to Giggle” is a project I have been wanting to do for a long time. It is a collection of poetry based on my experiences as a child witnessing and experiencing abuse. The poems just compiled over the years and I kept saying that I wanted to do a book with them. But a few years ago when I was saying this, I wasn’t ready to face these poems. I often intertwine my dark childhood experiences into things like “Spellbound by Fire.” But putting together “She Wasn’t Allowed to Giggle” meant going back and looking into the very real eyes of what I went through and reliving the memories. It was hard but I’m glad I did it. It is my letting go, in a sense. It is a voice for those who can’t speak out for themselves yet. You’re not alone and you have power and a choice.

6)Anything else to add? How to find you on twitter and facebook? Your blog?
Thanks for having me. I have two Facebook pages; one as my writer’s page:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lavinia-Thompson/155049924551916 and one for Spellbound:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spellbound-by-Fire/164218530279552
And you can find me on Twitter @LaviniaThompson.


  1. Great interview, and good luck to both of you :)

  2. Very engaging interview.
    "She Wasn’t Allowed to Giggle" is an interesting poem collection since it's based from real experiences. It's sad to know that you have to go through all of those but I think this having your emotions translated into poems and get it published is quite liberating.

  3. Rainy, Jose, thanks for stopping by and reading. =)

  4. Thanks for posting this, Patricia.

    Lavinia, thank you for opening up about all of this.