We’re thrilled that American poet and author Kellie Elmore has made WordPress.com her home on the web. A Southerner at heart, Kellie grew up in a small town and is inspired by love and loss, nature, and “the humble surroundings of her backyard” of Southeast Tennessee.
We talked to Kellie about her new book, her site design, and why she chose WordPress.com for her official website.
Can you tell us about Jagged Little Pieces?
Sure! Jagged Little Pieces is my second collection of prose and poetry following my first, Magic in the Backyard, from Winter Goose Publishing. It will be released in paperback on March 20, and the ebook will be available on March 25. You can purchase them on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and most major book retailers online.
Both books were written from personal experiences, though Magic was more “flowery” in nature. The subject matter in Jagged reflects a bit more on pain and depression. Each of the four chapters are specific in contents — pieces of death, love, depression, and hope and how they have personally affected and influenced me. I hope people will be able to find a “piece” of themselves in the material and maybe get a feeling of “wow, I’m not the only one who feels (or has felt) this way.”
Word on the street is you’ve been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Tell us more!
I was so surprised! Winter Goose Publishing editor-in-chief James Logan is the culprit. He selected three of us to represent Winter Goose Publishing in the running for this prize. I was ecstatic to be nominated and to stand alongside such amazing talent — Natasha Head and Robert James Russell. The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses has been published each year since 1976 and was named among the most influential projects in the history of American publishing — a literary prize that honors the best poetry, short fiction, and essays. It is, of course, such a thrill to even be recognized.
Kellie’s website customizes the versatile Sight theme with the features available in every WordPress.com dashboard:
- A custom header image that displays her name.
- A nature-inspired custom background of pink blossoms.
- The About.me Widget to display social media icons like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.
- The Milestone Widget to count down the days to her book release.
- Image Widgets to call out external sites, like Southern Writers Magazine.
- Two custom menus: a primary menu across the top, and a secondary menu near the top right for links to Amazon and other book sites.
We love how you’ve customized Sight to make your website your own. Tell us about your site’s design and what we’ll find when we poke around.
I love playing with design. I like to keep it fresh, and I’m constantly checking to see what new themes have been added. The use of the slider for featured posts has been helpful in highlighting my latest news, updates, and “author notes.” Separating these from my writing entries keeps them up front and center, as well as drives traffic to those specific articles that can sometimes get lost in the mass of blog posts.
What’s one piece of advice you’d like to share with aspiring poets on WordPress.com?
Seek out other poets. There is so much talent across WordPress.com to learn from. Follow and read writers you enjoy. Build your network and your blog will be a success.
How about a bit of advice for aspiring poets in general?
In my opinion, the best work comes when written in the moment, when you are completely enveloped in the emotion. Never force your pen. Also, write because you love it . . . for no other reason.
Writing can be a solitary craft. Does blogging influence your work?
That is the wonderful thing about writing. You own the words — they belong to you. There is absolutely no wrong in writing if you do it from your heart. I’ve found the pieces I’ve written while swimming in an emotion — whether love, pain, grief, etc. — are the works that receive the most positive feedback.
When people comment and tell me they felt it, it inspires me to write more and urges me to relate on an even deeper level. It gives me courage to share more freely and open up when readers do the same for me. Often, readers will comment and share their own story, memory, or feelings on a subject. That is the sweetest reward of all.
Why did you choose WordPress.com for your official website?
I absolutely love the “built-in” community on WordPress.com, as I enjoy feedback and networking. The ability to instantly “like” or follow other bloggers is great. The Reader also makes it easy to read, share, and keep up with my favorites. I’ve also found Zemanta to be a useful tool: it provides the opportunity for a more engaging post. As for writing, scheduling posts is helpful, and the Copy a Post feature is great for my repeating Friday prompt (Free Write Friday).
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Kellie!
Check out kellieelmore.com for recent writing and latest news, and look out for her new book, Jagged Little Pieces, available on Wednesday.
I love discovering talented, emerging writers. I’ll be sure to check out her new collection when my local library gets it in!
Recognition well deserved! hugs, pat
Great interview! Kellie, best with your book. I’m looking forward to trying your Friday prompts.
Hi Cheri, Thanks for bringing Kellie in front. I will surely get and read Kellie’s book. Regards, Yakub
Me being a new writer i am constantly being inspired By random things in my day to day Life but i have to say nothing has inspired me more today than your Blog and the interest i have in your book! I will certainly be buying it! Poetry has a special place in my writing so much so that i haven’t gained enough courage to post any yet on my own Blog,Just a few Book reviews. I Love to see other Writers and especially writers who focus on poetry….decide to make a wordpress account so that i may enjoy its content! You are absolutely right,writing can be a solitary craft That is why i love it when new authors join wordpress so i can view there opinions on things and enjoy there work,wordpress is such an awesome way to connect with fellow writers i am so glad i came across it yesterday. Every now and then an author inspires me to the extent that i just want to fetch my pen and pad and start writing! Thanks for the inspiration Kellie and the great content!
Very inspiring article. I recently initiated a poetry blog but didn’t found it much ‘reader-charming’. I personally felt that people didn’t enjoyed my writing.
Anyways if you feel like checking some of my poem you can catch me up here-
i personally love when people comment after reading a poem.
Well thanks for sharing this awesome blogger profile.
This is very inspirational and encourages me to keep going and doing what I am doing.