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AMANDA LINSMEIER

IN CONVERSATION


AMANDA LINSMEIER is the author of Our Wild Magic, Like Waves, and more. Her writing has
been featured in Portage Magazine, Literary Mama, Brain, Child Magazine, Feminine Collective,
Moonchild Magazine, and more. 


WHAT INSPIRED ONE OF YOUR POEMS?

Siren Song was written as a black-out poem, my first of the sort. I was experimenting and ended up
really enjoying the process, so I included a few black-out poems in my collection. For most of the poems in this book, I really started with an everyday moment and tried to twist it into something slightly
fantastical, or vice versa. It was sort of amazing to me how many things reminded me of fairytales, no
matter how small or mundane.

TELL US AN OBSCURE THING YOU FIND INTERESTING ABOUT THE WORLD?

I don’t know how obscure this is, but I find it interesting, especially lately, how when I’m open to
possibility and ideas, more ideas come my way. It’s like if I go ahead and try a story or poem out, even if
it’s odd or I’m not sure what to do with it, the muse is like, okay, you’re willing to TRY, to have fun, to
work. Then more ideas are flooded my way. The best creative bursts in my life have been when I went
okay…here goes. Then magic really seemed to happen.

WHAT ODD, FUNNY OR INTERESTING FACT CAN YOU SHARE ABOUT YOUR WRITING HABITS OR PROCESS?

I absolutely cannot write in silence. If it’s too quiet my mind starts turning, spinning out worry and
overthinking. If I have background music (preferred) or even just chit-chat in the room, my overthinking
can’t get turned on. It’s like the noise keeps that part of my brian distracted so that then the story or the
poetry comes. I love music. It really sets the tone for whatever I’m working on.

How important is language and/or word choice to your writing?

It’s definitely important. I care about rhythm and sound of a word individually as well as the poem as a
whole. For the first draft of a poem I don’t think about word choice at all. I just let the poem out the way
it comes because for me it’s a very organic and quick at first. Then in subsequent drafts I go through line
by line and see, is this the best word for what I mean to get across? Have I used this word a hundred
times already? (I think we’re all guilty of those “overused” words). For fiction writing, it’s kind of
different. I have a hard time moving on to the next sentence, even in a rough draft, until I’m happy with
the prior one. It doesn’t mean they don’t change or evolve but if I know a sentence is just not strong
enough, it affects what I put out in the next sentence. I try not to edit as I go. Maybe I’m just so much
slower at writing fiction because it’s longer and my revisions are more for plot changes, dialogue, etc. I
think the writing/language in general is stronger the first go ‘round than anything else.

Are there any themes or reoccurring threads that you try to explore in your writing? 

I think I always, in some way, explore love and the forms it can take. I definitely like to imbibe a bit of
magic into my work, maybe not in the early things I wrote, but always now. Sometimes I’m drawn to
strange things, or nature. I also seem to be sort of fascinated with how characters come into their own,
how they learn who and what they are (myself included). There’s such a freedom that comes with
discovery about yourself. I like to learn that along with my characters.

Is there something you find particularly difficult about the writing process?

The most difficult thing for me is trying to balance everything with the limited time I have. Do I revise
today? Do I write? Do I outline? Do I do social media? Do I send a newsletter (still trying to figure that
out)? Do I submit poetry somewhere? Do I query? For the actual writing, it’s hardest for me, in fiction,
to connect plot points into an overarching story. I might have lots of ideas, but ideas don’t necessarily
translate to a story. And I hate abandoning things I’ve started; it’s hard to let go. The easiest part for me
is just being in love with writing. It’s always a joy, even when it’s difficult. And I’m probably the biggest
writer nerd. I can chat about writing all day. I’m super nosy. I LOVE knowing how others write. It makes
me so happy. I really think writers are the luckiest people. I’m the opposite of a tortured writer. For me,
the torture is not always finding the time or energy to get the words on paper. The actual writing, even
the task of editing, is my peace.

How much research do you do when writing?

Not very, to be honest. I might look up a story or myth, or origin of a word or something. But most of my
work is very much “make it up as I go”, and I just create things from scratch. I don’t do historical or
realistic very much, and my basic knowledge is enough to get me through. I do have to ask my good
friend Bianca sometimes for things—like about old-fashioned carriages or theatres. She knows all about
that stuff.

wHAT IS THE TITLE OF AN underrated (or little recognized) book you love?

Just one? There’s so many. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin was beautiful, about people who die and age
backwards in the afterlife until they’re reborn on earth. Godmother by Carolyn Turgeon is a Cinderella
retelling which messed me up in the best way. I could go on and on. Lace Bone Beast is truly my favorite poetry book, but there are dozens more good ones by small poets. The best way I’ve found underrated books is just by stumbling upon them through Bookstragram, usually.

What is your most recent work and where can readers find it?

Our Wild Magic, a fairytale-inspired poetry collection, in five parts, was just released May 16th. It’s
available on Amazon.

LASTLY, WHAT COMES TO MIND WHEN YOU THINK 'KINGDOMS IN THE WILD'?

I think of gorgeous poetry, the wilderness, sunsets, crowned jewels hidden somewhere special, the
unknown I’d like to know, a place I’m honored to be included in.

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ABOUT IN CONVERSATION

What makes a writer write? What resides behind the impulse to create a work of art?  We have always been interested in these questions here at KITW. Incredibly, we’ve received such varied responses to the same questions from each of our published writers, that we thought we’d share.

We hope you enjoyed your visit to Kingdoms in the Wild, if you did, please tell a friend. Thank you for your support.

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CREDITS: in this issue
Author: Amanda Linsmeier
Editor: Shompole N.L
Graphic Design: Shompole, N.L.