# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
Hello, my name is Chelsea DeVries. I am a poet and author of Sticks and Stones: Poetry and Prose. This collection came together after spending 10 months working in a toxic work environment. It is currently nominated for Book of the Year through OnlineBookClub.org.
# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
I worked ten months in a toxic work environment and to cope while working there I started writing a lot of poetry. I also developed strong feelings for a guy I befriended and worked alongside there and so it shares my vulnerable truth without leaving out much detail or much gaps in between the timeline of events.
# What inspires/inspired your creativity?
I was entirely inspired by the guy I worked alongside there. For someone so young, his work ethic was something I never witnessed up close and personal, and I just found him to be incredibly brave continuing to show up each day knowing all he was responsible for there and how the management treated him. Plus, I was personally harassed and demeaned by the boss’s wife and sexually harassed by a coworker and my boss while working there so I just felt like these truths had to come out to help others be brave in similar situations.
# How do you deal with creative block?
Normally, I take a break from a project I am having blocks with. This poetry collection was the complete opposite. It wrote itself, and the poetry and the ideas for poems just poured out of me much like tears after staying silent during a verbal fight. And the poems keep coming which is why I am republishing this collection and it should be out before the end of this year.
# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
Poor editing, not following a theme or sticking to the topic, and not promoting your book and yourself so as to raise awareness to it.
# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
For me, it felt like a good idea to stick to the theme of sticks and stones since my poetry collection discusses workplace bullies but it also stood for a greater theme of pain and mental health, and not drowning in it but rising above it.
# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
Thankfully, bad reviews have been few and far between but lower star reviews made me take a good hard look at the collection and realize that I wanted it to show the entire healing process from start to finish so that people understood that it can and will get better no matter what you have been through.
The first collection has been reviewed by over 25 people but I still felt like I could do better and there was more to expand on. As well as more that happened after I published the book.
# How has your creation process improved over time?
I used to stress about writing, editing, and publishing a book strictly because I was very stubborn about thinking you need an agent or a traditional publisher to make it as a writer but now I see that I lost a lot of time not putting out my book and getting hung up on the rejections from some several agents I admired. Now I just work hard on getting the book perfect but focus more on telling everyone I know that it exists.
# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
The best was an email I got from a reader after it was published that called me an inspiration and showcased how moved they were with the book and it’s story and message and I cried reading that email and I still read it from time to time when I think I’m never going to make it as a writer. The worst part of publishing my book was that my publisher was hacked while I was publishing my book so it delayed my release but it didn’t really defer the success of the book which was good. The most surprising aspect of publishing my book so far is how so many fellow poets and writers have seemed to shun me and/or my book after finding out about it. I’ve even had writers block me out of nowhere on social media and all I chuck it up to is that the truth was too close for them, and it can be hard to accept for some. You have to be at a place of personal betterment when reading my book because despite it’s heavy content and themes, it does serve to help people grow with real honest no edits truth that I’ve witnessed in my life, and didn’t want to hold back from saying anymore.
# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
I definitely start with personal satisfaction with a project and then aim to serve my readers. Those first few reviews were critical to me and I used them to fix the parts of the book I felt could be expanded and to rid the book of some elements that were not impressive so that the collection really reads like a novel from start to finish but in poetry form.
# What role do emotions play in creativity?
For this book, my emotions were entirely inspiring in that I had a feeling that I felt needed to be expressed and it became an idea for a poem. Overall, I think emotions used within any sort of writing give it a personal feel, and lead to loyal readers who can’t wait to read your next work.
# Do you have any creativity tricks?
I write my poetry on the notes app on my smartphone after being bombarded all day by several words, phrases, lines, or even an image. Then, I type it up on my computer and figure out if it’s good as is or it can be rephrased.
# What are your plans for future books?
Some plans for future books would be to finish editing my NA Romance novel and to edit and publish my memoir finally.
# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
Like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Thoreau, I walk almost daily and come up with a lot poetry ideas from being out and about in nature. It clears my head and inspires me all at the same time.