Today we talk about Unsent letters, a book by Christopher Valentine, published with our publishing house Europe Books.
Europe Books had the pleasure of interviewing the author Christopher Valentine, to get to know him better, where he found the inspiration to write his collection of poems Unsent letters, as well as which authors of the present and/or the past he takes as a model.
Below you can find our interview. Take a seat and enjoy your reading!!!
- Where did you find the inspiration to write this collection of poems?
I get my inspiration from pretty much anything you could think of. All around us are things that become magical, when viewed from a certain angle, which is very inspirational to me. There is a particular reason I got inspired this time, however. It all started one day when I met the most amazing person, and something in me simply clicked, it was sort of the drop that made the cup overflow with inspiration. After that I felt inspired like never before, the words seemed to fit together in a different way, a better way. Usually I would get an idea, write down maybe a line and circle back to it in a day or so, but this time the ideas just kept coming and I would find myself writing complete poems out of thin air in the middle of lunch or even in class. It was a very sudden, very rapid burst of inspiration that swept me off my feet and I was pretty much writing daily for a couple of weeks and that’s where 95 percent of the book came from.
- What would you like to hear from your readers?
I would honestly like to hear everything they have to say. I am very, very new to this, and even though it was a dream of mine to publish a poetry book I never expected it to be while I am this young, so all feedback is greatly appreciated. I would love to know how people interpret certain metaphors and the poems in general. One of the things I love about poetry is that is it’s very open-ended and people can draw upon their own experiences while reading and connect with the author that way. Of course, I would very much like to know what their favourite poem is, because I still haven’t decided on mine and I’m very curious to see what people think. With the idea behind the book being, do not leave your letters unsent, I would love nothing more than to hear someone got inspired and got the courage to do something that once scared them.
- Which authors of the present and/or the past do you take as a model?
Well, my interest in writing in general comes from listening to a lot of 90s Hip-Hop. Rhymes were something that I always found fascinating and hearing some of the great artist like Biggie, Tupac, Nas, and later Eminem make such intricate rhyme schemes never fails to amaze me. Their influence maybe isn’t shown as much in this work, but their wordplay, and use of metaphors, alongside their masterful breakdowns of words to fit their rhymes and rhythms is something I strive for. On the other hand, AURORA, and Lana Del Rey are the ones that I look up to the most and aspire to be like. Their songs as something I consider timeless and ethereal. In fact, Lana’s poetry book, “Violets bent backwards over the grass” is my favourite poetry book of all time, also seeing Lana add pictures to it made me first think of adding pictures to mine as well. I think their influence is much more present as I even borrowed a quote from Lana for one of the chapter descriptions.
- How was your publishing experience?
For me personally it was quite stressful, since there were a lot of decision to be made and being an over-thinker by nature didn’t really help me there. I did however keep the changes to a minimum, other than redesigning the cover to better fit the overall theme. The publishing process itself went very smoothly. Everybody I worked with was very kind and helpful, offering insight and advice at every step of the way, and I would like to hereby thank them all once again. But the scariest part is yet to come, people reading the book. Since I never actually wrote these poems to be read, but rather to be written, to get things of my mind by jotting them down, it is quite a scary thing to now send them out into the world. This being the scariest part also makes it the most exciting, and I can honestly say that publishing a book is quite wonderful and otherworldly, something I would love to do again.
- Are you working on a new writing project?
I wouldn’t say I’m working on anything in particular currently, but I have been writing, quite a lot this July especially. I think in my case the writing process is maybe a bit backwards, I simply write down anything and everything that I want or need to write, and if I see some connections between the poems, I’ll try to find an overarching narrative and slowly shape it into a collection or book. It is what I did with Unsent Letters as well, they were never written to be a book, but rather became one, once I saw a pattern those poems could fill. That being said, I would very much like to write something new, and something after that as well. There are a lot of poems which didn’t make it in this book as it just didn’t feel like the right place for them, and I would absolutely love to find them a home and share them with my readers.
Europe Books thanks the author Christopher Valentine once again for taking the time and answering our questions. We are really pleased to have walked alongside him on the editorial path that led to the publication of his book Unsent letters. We wish him the best of luck for his book and for his future works.
To you, my dear reader, I hope that this collection of poems by this young author will strike you and capture you, allow you to reconnect with yourself and make your life a better life, where nothing is left behind, unfinished or unsent.
So, my dear reader, all I have to say is to enjoy your reading!