Red was wiping down the counter while she waited for an order of beignets. When Claret popped them into the grill window, Red grabbed them and two mocha lattes before she headed over to another redhead out on the patio. She wondered if Alex was working on a guest post for M3 or another book of poetry.
M3: Lots of the M3 Readers have been getting to know you since your recent guest post while I am on vacation. How about giving them the book jacket version of Alexandra Heep?
AH: Alexandra Heep always had an interest in writing, but did not start pursuing her passion until 2007. She has been a full-time copy writer on a freelance basis since April 2011. Love, Life and Time is her first book.
M3: Can you give me the pared down list of who you would like to thank?
AH: My boyfriend, Tom, because he unlocked what I call the lighthearted side of me I did not know I had. He was the inspiration behind my book. I also want to thank my writer friends, too many to mention individually, and I don’t want to forget about anyone because they have always encouraged me.
M3: You do have a large following of writerly colleagues. How do you feel about them?
M3: Tom inspired this book, but you are not new to the writing game. Where did you start on the road to publishing?
AH: I started on several online writing websites. I remember the date I decided to become a writer: June 13, 2007. I had not done any writing prior to then, despite excelling at it in school decades ago.
M3: I love that answer. Half of the people I know write because someone thought they were awful at it. What advice do you have for newbie writers?
AH: Forget about bad stuff from the past that might inhibit your goals. In my case it took me 30 years to get over one teacher in Elementary school who scribbled the German equivalent of “lacks imagination” on an assignment because I did not give the answers he liked. Don’t wait 30 years like I did to follow a passion! Yet, balance this out by being able to accept constructive criticism to help you grow.
M3: So, you are both! Quelle surprise! We all know this economy is bone dry. Has it changed the way you perform?
AH: Hah, it’s because of the economy I have to perform. In essence, it had a hand in creating the writer in me. I found myself with few options. This was the one that coincides with my passion. I call it mountain climbing.
M3: Exercise of the mind. Anyone in the audience going to be interested in your day job?
AH: It’s funny, up until 2009 I had one, and used to daydream of what I could do if I did not have one. Well, Karma kicked me in the rear, and here I am. As they say, be careful what you ask.
M3: Mothers everywhere are proud to hear you say that. So, is time an issue?
AH: Time is not so much an issue as energy. Everyone has 24 hours per day, but I find that energy really is the determining factor of how much we get done. Outside influences, like demanding people, jobs, kids, health issues, etc. rob us of energy. Some things we can control; others we can’t. Since I have a large, non-controllable energy-drainer (how is that for syntax), writing is pretty much all I do. I even forget to eat at times.
M3: Have a beignet. I skipped breakfast, too. If you do not stop to eat, do you ever go on hiatus?
AH: My creative side goes on hiatus, yes, because I have to make a living first by writing stuff for others. However, sometimes the muse won’t be silenced, and I have written poems on article documents because I did not even take the time to open a new document. Dangerous business, I know … imagine copying and pasting the wrong stuff.
M3: That may just be one of the best reasons I have to write at M3. And I would return your poem if you sent it to me…but only after I had read it a couple times. What are you cooking up at the moment?
AH: I started a novella in 2010, but it has been on hold due to other obligations. I do have an idea of creating a Feng Shui e-book for beginners. The articles are written, I just have to overhaul them. I am also thinking of publishing some of my recipes, once I have unearthed them from storage. My boyfriend is also working on a logo for me, and I plan on using it to renew my online presence.
M3: A replacement for the shield? Hmm. Tell me why this book is close to your heart.
AH: Because it is my first work that has come completely from the heart. I used to snicker at people who saw the world in rose-colored glasses, until I became one of them. My future work will contain more of a mind/heart balance.
M3: (Raspberries) Write what you want. You write sensible …searching for a non-expletive… things for clients. Poetry has been a topic of conversation around M3 for a great while. Do you think the genre is in revival?
AH: From my personal stand point: yes, as I used to write very dark poetry. In general, I think so too as poetry has become more free in style, in my opinion.
M3: Preaching to the choir (who writes poems with thirteen feet regularly). If you took a break from the dark side with this one, what makes it stand out from the pack?
AH: It breaks rules. I know that the use of pronouns is frowned upon in poetry, and I included some poems that break that rule. However, I don’t think they alienate the reader, and I included other styles. Plus, I balanced the book out with technical poetry (haiku, even a Shakespearean sonnet) that simply show time and life in a way a lot of us can relate.
M3: Oh, for cripes’ sake, do not tell Mantra that. Knowing all the technical writing you do, did this genre pick you?
AH: Oh, yes. Robbed me of sleep; then, came to me in the dream when I did sleep, then woke me up and poked me.
M3: Probably the main reason Mantra may not have a Facebook account. Let’s circle back to money. How important is your marketing effort on social media?
AH: Still learning the ropes. I understand the importance, just trying to figure out how to implement.
M3: You are in a crowded boat there. Any triumph over the industry thus far?
AH: Every day that I am alive and still here, being able to do what I do, is a victory for me.
M3: Here, here. You have been really honest about the struggles you face. Anything in particular I should just keep between us?
AH: I played Fluegelhorn for a few years in church when I was a child. After all, acne, bad teeth and glasses were already enough to label me a loser in school, so not something I wanted to get out!
M3: I think the recital is now available on iTunes. Be your own best agent. In 15 words or less, why should the M3 Readers buy your book?
AH: You might discover and unlock facets of your personality. Poems are reflective, positive and uplifting.
M3: And we could all use a little more light in our lives. Looking forward to doing this again. You will have to hep me feng shui the café.
Dearest M3 Readers,
When you tweet and +1 this post, please use the hashtags #books, #poetry and #authors.
Thank you for your continued support of the authors of the M3 Coffee Shoppe.