Today, on Thursday, 1st October, (aptly National Poetry Day) Olivia Snowdrop celebrates the release of her debut poetry collection, Snowdrop: A Collection. Below is an interview with Olivia and there will be details about where you can buy the collection and follow Olivia, as well as a link to my advance review.
KRISTIANA: Snowdrop: A Collection is your debut poetry collection, what led you to decide to take the plunge into self-publishing?
OLIVIA: I had been toying with the idea for a while and figured self-publishing would be easier than the traditional publishing route, but I was really inspired after reading your debut poetry collection, Between the Trees! Following other poets on Instagram who had already taken the plunge, really gave me the confidence to try it for myself. Also, this particular collection grew from a difficult chapter in my life and I wanted to be able to hold a physical reminder that I could get through the bad stuff and turn it into art.
KRISTIANA: What lessons have you learned from choosing to self-publish? What has the process taught you about yourself?
OLIVIA: It’s harder than it looks! There is no one to guide you, so you have to seek out answers by yourself. Luckily, there were a few helpful people in the community who offered great advice. I definitely learned that my motivation is sporadic: I had finished all the writing for the book by the end of 2019 but found it hard to move forward with the formatting stuff that I knew nothing about. I think it taught me that being a beginner in a new skill is okay, and that you can’t expect to be good at everything on the first try.
KRISTIANA: Snowdrop: A Collection is divided into three sections, which section is your favourite and why?
OLIVIA: My answer to this changes all the time! I think the strongest section is The Root and a lot of the poems in there were very cathartic for me, although it is the hardest to read back because it is so deeply personal. I have quite a soft spot for The Bud; that section is really where my writing began, as a teenager, documenting heartbreak in my diaries!
KRISTIANA: The collection is a witness to your growth as a woman and a writer; what three things do you wish you could say to your past self?
OLIVIA: First, I would say, family doesn’t mean obligation. You decide who you let into your life. Second, trust yourself because you know what is right and you are in control. Third, loosen your grip on that ego and allow yourself to be loved for who you really are.
KRISTIANA: If you were to describe the collection in one sentence, what would it be?
OLIVIA: A documentation of my early young adult life, which consists of a lot of trauma and heartbreak, a dash of hope, and some very wobbly drawings!
KRISTIANA: Are there any specific influences (other writers, artists, musicians) who inspire your poetry and prose?
OLIVIA: Every person I follow on Instagram is absolutely an inspiration! Music tends to influence my writing but I find it hard to write and listen at the same time. I also recently watched (and read!) Normal People and it resonated so profoundly with personal experience. Sally Rooney’s other novel, Conversations With Friends, also had the same effect. Most often, I find inspiration catches me off guard, and the majority of my ideas just come from experiencing a well of deep feelings on a regular basis!
KRISTIANA: In the acknowledgements you thank the online community for their support, what has being a part of this community meant to you? Would you recommend being a part of it despite the negative press it receives from mainstream media?
OLIVIA: I think it can be really beautiful when small creators connect and support each other as they grow, and it has made me feel a sense of belonging, especially throughout this uncertain year. It feels comforting to know my words are being held by understanding, like-minded people. On the other side of that, of course, is when online relationships become one-sided and if that personal connection isn’t there, it can be easy to fall into the trap of measuring your value by the number of likes. I would recommend joining a community but making sure you’re actively and authentically participating in it and having conversations off the platform as well as supporting each other’s work on social media.
KRISTIANA: You ran writing prompts in September ready for the release of this collection, how have you found writing daily and how has your decision to host prompts been rewarding?
OLIVIA: The beauty of creating my own prompts meant I could write a few poems in advance! So, I haven’t been writing every single day, because I’m not sure my brain is equipped for that kind of emotional output on a daily basis! When I do write, it is usually multiple rough poems at a time, and I choose the best idea to edit for Instagram. Hosting the prompts has been fun, especially these musical ones, as I get to see all the interpretations of songs I love so much! And in general, it is always incredible to see how one prompt can trigger a variety of responses/reactions, depending on that person’s life experience etc.
KRISTIANA: What’s next for Olivia Snowdrop?
OLIVIA: Hopefully, another poetry collection! I’ve already started working on the next one, and I feel a lot more prepared the second time around! Aside from that, I’ll still be posting to my Instagram and perhaps venturing into the world of spoken word poetry as I find a lot of joy in performing my pieces.
KRISTIANA: When will the collection be available and where can it be purchased?
OLIVIA: Snowdrop: A Collection will be available on Amazon on October 1st and I am also hoping to get some copies available on Etsy – my Instagram @oliviasnowdrop is where you can find details about that!