# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
I’m Willow Croft aka “Bringer of Nightmares and Storms” and I have a self-published poetry book titled Quantum Singularity: A Poetic Voyage Through Time and Space. I also write horror/speculative fiction, and my short stories can be found in a number of great anthology collections.
# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
Uh, I guess the closest “real-life” story behind the poems is a little tricky to mention. A few of my early poems were inspired by The Cure, a band whose members I actually met in real life. While the experience was just as amazing as their music, I like to reserve a certain…I don’t know…creative license? So, my poems have almost nothing to do with real life, typically. I like the world of my imagination to be exactly that…this wonderful, fantastical realm of magical, amazing possibilities that defy logic and rationale and what have you. And I like there to be a firm line between “reality” and my imaginary worlds and the imaginary muses that live there. But there are a few exceptions: “Welcome to the Police State” and “America,” for example.
# What inspires/inspired your creativity?
Dream worlds, parallel dimensions (and the imagined muses that inhabit them), wildlife, nature, plants, animals, atmospheric music like film and video game scores, classical, and bands like Amber Asylum, Ataraxia, Raison d’etre, and Zoar. And, having an animal(s) or plant(s) companion definitely helps with the writer isolation. (But, remember, please #AdoptDontShop!…so many great pets need homes. And older/mature cats are wonderful pets for writers—they are mellow and calm and very centering.)
# How do you deal with creative block?
I have to admit that I don’t ever have any sort of creative block. But if I were going to give tips? Get up. Move around. Light candles. Burn incense or sage. Make a transition ritual for when you sit down to write. Change the atmosphere in your writing space, and even change where you write if the words aren’t coming. The worst thing you can do is engage in self-doubt and self-critique. I always told the kids back when I was teaching around and as a substitute teacher, just write or make art and try to ignore the voice that’s hounding you with statements like “I messed up” or “This isn’t good.” And, if writing in some odd, unconventional space or way works for you, then do it. Experiment! (But don’t write while you’re driving or operating heavy machinery! *laugh*). My problem is, as a writer with ADHD, is that I really struggle with time management. But that’s actually less of an ADHD problem, as it turns out, and more of a “there’s just not enough hours in the day” type of problem. I use my time pretty efficiently when it comes to balancing writing with the work that puts food on the (kitties’) table.
# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
Not hiring an outside editor. I’m an exceptional editor—for the works of others. But I turn around and make the exact same typos I catch every time in other peoples’ manuscripts. Depending on your content, also enlisting the services of sensitivity readers can be wise.
# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
Make sure you have the rights/permissions to use the art/graphics on the cover, or go through a reputable book publishing company when you self-publish your book. I also made sure to get the permissions to use the definitions of the astronomical terms I used in my poetry book directly from the publisher of the book I used as a resource. Even though my book was fiction, I also attributed those sources on the copyright page and/or in the book.
# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
I try not to let it bother me. If it’s constructive criticism and/or a negative review that somebody put thought into, I absolutely welcome it, and use it to make my writing better. Sometimes, though, it’s clear somebody’s just trying to be mean and hurtful. So, as much as I might want to respond emotionally, I don’t engage with them. It may not be the best approach, but I have limited time in my day, and I consider said time valuable. The good thing about social media is that if someone really gets ugly, I can unfollow them, or even block them. But, luckily, I haven’t had any bad reviews for my poetry book.
# What are your plans for future books?
I want to publish a full-length manuscript. And continue to get short stories published. I have a few projects in the works (okay, a lot!), but the one that’s closest to maybe getting published someday is a middle grade adventure/mystery.
# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself.
I’m always “rescuing” animals, abandoned plants, spiders, et al. Once, I spotted a turtle trying to cross the road in front of my car. It was rush hour on a very busy street in Florida, so I jumped out while traffic was stopped at a light and I put the turtle on the side of the road, where it would be safe. When I got back to my car, I discovered that the auto door locks had engaged because I left the keys in my car. Then I heard this dreaded sound. “Bloop, bloop.” Yep, it was a cop behind me. The cop unlocked my car door, and then the police officer said, “You better take the turtle with you” because the turtle was trying to cross the road again. So I had to get this very large snapping turtle into my car and, while I was trying to navigate rush-hour traffic, the turtle was trying to scale the seat and the console to get to me, hissing and snapping all the while. Finally, though, I got to a nearby park and released the turtle in the pond the officer had suggested.
My author blog: https://willowcroft.blog
My Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16978140.Willow_Croft