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Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Purpose Behind the Pain: Author Interview with Queen of Spades

Hi, everyone!  Here at All Authors Blog, you are in for a special treat.  Welcome to the kickoff of the "Still Standing" Tour, featuring Private Pain: Amidst These Ashes by Queen of Spades.

Before we begin the interview, let's take a look at the book trailer:


As well as where you can find her:

Queen of Spades

Queen, as always, it's an honor to have you with us again here on All Authors Blog. I'm super excited about this blog tour that we are gladly able to host for you.

I must say that after reading “Private Pain: Amidst the Ashes” I was incredibly impacted for several reasons. The biggest one was the will to survive that rang true at the end of such a powerful complication of poetry.
I was able to relate to this composition in so many ways, however before I divulge anything, I'd like the general public to learn a little bit about what “Private Pain” is about from you.

Please, if you wouldn't mind sharing the premise of this collection of poetry with us.

Premise (The One Liner):  Private Pain: Amidst These Ashes is a poetic concoction of universal tribulations and the author’s own trials, outlining the journey from pain to hope.

Would you mind giving us some insight on the reason it's been divided into different stages of fire?

Good question!  The reason why Private Pain's sections are based on different stages of fire is because I felt it was the best way to illustrate the progression of the pain. 

For example, with Stage One “Flicker”, all the child knows is that something is not quite right in her world and she's trying to work her way through all the emotions.  However, by the time one gets to Stage Three “Blaze” and beyond, all she is encountering is pain and more pain, wondering if it will ever come to some sort of end.

I believe that I was mostly impacted by the trials of a child and the hardship of growing up without the love of a mother and father, as well as the constant trauma of having to deal with bullying in school. What was the inspiration for such an inclusion in your collection?

I could have easily started this work in the later stages, but in this day and age, a child has to deal with so much.  Lately, you see more broken homes or single parent households, a far cry from the family structure in earlier generations where two parent households were celebrated and encouraged.   Although broken homes are becoming more commonplace, that doesn't mean that the impact is any less on a child's development. 

Bullying has not only become more vicious but technologically advanced as well.  When I was growing up, I mainly dealt with name calling and laughing at school.  Now bullies have other ways to attack you—Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and more.  It's scary trying to survive in the environment.  Kids no longer just rely on fists.  Some carry knives or even manage to get access to that gun you thought you had successfully hidden.  It can't be swept under the rug; all have to        be mindful of when bullying has been taken too far, so I wanted to highlight it somewhat in this collection.

Spousal/Partner abuse is something that affects so many. I was simply impressed with the way that the stages of abuse shown so clearly in your prose. Can you tell us a little about that please?

When people think of abuse, most automatically focus on the physical.  Yet there is another type of abuse, psychological abuse (emotional/mental).  I wanted to mirror that both physical and psychological abuse can take place, even within the same relationship.  In addition, I wanted to outline the impact of each type of abuse on the human spirit.  Not everyone deals with it in the same way, but Private Pain: Amidst These Ashes magnifies just a few of the side effects which can occur from dealing with that type of trauma.

Another fantastically impacting theme that I noticed in this compendium was rape. Was it hard for you to write about this subject?

Originally, I wasn't even going to include the “rape” segment.  All I had in there relative to “What True Horror Is” was the Aftermath, and it didn't even hint that a rape had taken place. 

I was going through one of my old binders.  One of the binder rings wasn't fully closed, and all the material came out.  Everything was faced down except one sheet of paper.  That one sheet of paper was the prose I had written about the rape, and I felt like there was a reason that happened.  Plus, the Aftermath didn't seem to have as much meaning if “What True Horror Is” (Arrival) wasn't added.  So I took the prose, edited the presentation somewhat and sandwiched it in relative to the time it took place. 

Was it hard for me to write about?  Yes, and no.  No: in the sense that it was something I not only could imagine but it actually did occur.  On the same token, yes, because there are times when I read it, and the scene would play in my mind; I would have to fight to not blame myself or be stuck in that moment.  There is such a sense of humiliation and shame when it does happen.  Some women (myself included) don't even report when it happens because the court system villainizes you, like it tries to find justification (from the clothes worn to the way something is said) for an act of inflicted violence.

I think I've read every one of your poetry books, and needless to say, I'm a huge fan. You're greatly talented. Each one of your books has a theme and every one has a power in its words that is electrifying. Please tell us what makes Private Pain different than the rest.

Thanks for that!

Private Pain: Amidst These Ashes is different in quite a few ways.  I had to battle with the aspect of censorship because this is one of those works that really isn't for everyone.  

Private Pain: Amidst These Ashes doesn't have the constant snapshots of lingering hope like Reflections of Soul.  

Nor does it have different styles for everyone to indulge in like the Eclectic collection. 

It certainly doesn't have the same construct of expounding on different themes like
Spaded Truths: Themes and Proclamations, although they do share the air of controversy.

Private Pain: Amdist These Ashes is tightly constructed with no deviation from the overall theme.  The     language is extremely strong (it makes Spaded Truths PG in comparison) but it is because it had to be: some of the experiences are based on real events, and those were the emotions that were felt at the time.  I felt I would be bastardizing the work if I watered down the words used.  Even the way I approached the cover was very simple (covered more below) as opposed to how abstract I had gone with my others. Private Pain: Amidst These Ashes, in a nutshell, is the only collection purposely designed as a testimony to assist others who may have or are currently going through similar situations. 

Cover Concept:  I used a picture of myself, but it couldn’t be just any picture.  It had to be one with the right combination of longing and vulnerability.  Yet I still wanted it to have a bit of an abstract feel to it.  The picture shown strikes the right balance.  

I really like the color that my cover artist chose--a purple, grey type mix, putting emphasis on the closing of the eyes and the fullness of the lips.  The red and white look very stark and powerful against it: the red representing passion/pain and the white representing purity/hope.  

I want the content to be the star.  I hope I’ve succeeded.

On that note: Why "Private Pain: Amidst These Ashes"? Was there a reason behind the title?

I chose “Private Pain” because when I was growing up, it was encouraged not to let anyone know what was going on around you.  When I was hurting, I felt like I didn't have permission to really express it, so I carried it inside.  I actually got the nickname Ice Maiden for a while due to that coping ability.  “Amidst These Ashes” was because I added the fire element.  It's reminiscent of the song “Still Standing” by Monica.  It's how I feel and what the ending of this work represents.

Please tell us which one of the poems in this collection is your favorite and why?

Wow, this is definitely a difficult one, but overall, I would have to go with “Tainted Thoughts”.  It mirrors the very moment when the light bulb comes on after many layers of introspection.   The final statement says it all:

            It has taken this many years
            For me to realize
            That the thoughts of others
            Should have never been
            The thoughts of me.

Was there a lesson learned when you completed this project? If so, what was it?

I learned that the way I (and others) was dealing with pain was unhealthy.  Certain things that I did lead me down a treacherous path.  I discovered that it's hard to learn how to love in the right way when those elements weren't dominant in the beginning.  Although my beginnings were humble and my experiences harsh, they didn't have to keep me in limbo; instead, I could use them as launching pads to do bigger and better things, like I am now.

If there is just one thing that you'd wish that this poetry collection would accomplish, what would that be?

I want others to know they aren't alone in their struggles.  Pain is an inevitable and universal thing, but holding on to it is burdensome and time consuming.  Recognize the purpose in the Pain, and one will find appreciation in the Joy that follows.  Rise Amidst the Ashes.

Thanks again for taking the time to chat with us here on All Authors Blog!  Don't forget to enter for your chance to win an autographed copy of Private Pain: Amidst These Ashes!

Private Pain: Amidst These Ashes
Available on CreateSpace
Amazon Kindle 

Blurb:  In Life, one is expected to put her best face forward, but what if the process of revealing her best face involves putting the demons on display? Would the journey continue? Or would one stop dead in her tracks. 

Private Pain: Amidst These Ashes is the response in its rawest form. It is an inside look at: in its simplest form, Life's growing pains; in its most complex form, a person battling internal and external forces to find peace in her own existence. The lines are blurred between what's real and what is embellishment in this second edition, a sleeker remastered collection that doesn't miss a step in intensity.