#PoeticPerspective With Best-Selling Poet Molly S. Hillery

Today, my guest of this new series is Molly S. Hillery Best-Selling Author of Bare Roots and Recently Released Follow-up collection The Medicine That Burns.

The Smart Cookie: Molly, Thank you for joining me today. Any writer would definitely agree that the act and art of writing is in itself very cathartic. What was the moment you realized you should write poetry to share your story?

Molly: That’s a great question! I have always wanted to become an author and I always loved journaling and writing as a child. After what I went through in my teen years, I really felt like sharing my perspective. I didn’t write for fame or fortune, it was just special to me to be able to share my story and fulfill my dream of publishing.

The Smart Cookie: You write about real human struggles related to trauma and mental illness. What inspires your ideas for poems?

Molly: All of my poems come from my own experience and perspective. A lot of the poems I wrote in bare roots were inspired by blogs I had published in early 2015, that I fit together into a cohesive narrative. Many of the poems in The Medicine That Burns were written in first-person perspective from journals and many were written following therapy sessions.

The Smart Cookie: Outside of poetry, would you ever consider writing a memoir to share your full story?

Molly: I think in their own way, both of my collections are a memoir. They are just more stylized and easier to digest, in my opinion. Readers who have read both books will have a pretty solid idea on what I have been through throughout my life!

The Smart Cookie: I think in their own way, both of my collections are a memoir. They are just more stylized and easier to digest, in my opinion. Readers who have read both books will have a pretty solid idea on what I have been through throughout my life!

Molly: On the good days, I feel creative and enjoy writing and being artistic, like painting and collaging. I love to just relax and unwind after a full workday, so the normal Netflix, snuggling with my dog, and talking to friends on the internet works for me! I also spend a lot of time with my family these days, which has been a nice change of pace. My nephew will be three this summer!

The Smart Cookie: Bare Roots and your upcoming release Medicine That Burns share similar truths about the after effects of trauma and traumatic experiences but Bare Roots uses a resilient view while Medicine that Burns is darker, raw, and emotive. What was the writing process like for each book, and which one to you felt like more of a release than anything?

Molly: The writing processes for both books were very, very different. I wrote, edited, and published bare roots in four months. I worked on it almost addictively; my husband and I were going through a rough time and I almost used writing the book as a safe haven/escape. My perspective on life really changed after my divorce; Four years passed between the two books and I lived a lot of life in between then. I started writing The Medicine That Burns in quarantine last year when I was on furlough from work. This process was a lot slower, and I took my time with it. 

The Smart Cookie: What are your final words to those who are broken and bruised, and resonate with your poetry?

Molly: It sounds cliche but, that you are not alone, and that there is hope. I also really encourage people with trauma to continue to seek out appropriate treatment, because seeking the wrong kind of care can make things worse. At the end of The Medicine That Burns, I share some modalities of therapy that have helped me– I even had a medical procedure done to aid in symptoms. I want to share these with people in hopes that they can find relief in some of their symptoms, too. Trauma informed care is essential to recovery.

To find out more about Molly and her poetry, visit mollyhillery.com

#SmartCookiePR: Interview with Author Oscar Redden, IV

Today, we are bringing you an exclusive author interview with debut children’s book author, Oscar Redden IV.

The Smart Cookie : What made you want to become a writer?

Oscar: Writing poetry was a way to express my thoughts and feelings in a constructive manner. At the time I was extremely shy. I was not the “social butterfly” in high school or college. I needed an outlet. Additionally, writing helped me understand and discover my voice. It was the only time I did not care about breaking a few grammar rules—delivering the unvarnished truth about life.

The Smart Cookie: How have your life experiences contributed to the creation of a character such as Albert The Albatross?

 Oscar:  I believe the exceptional home-training my parents instilled in my childhood was crucial in the creation of the character of Albert the Albatross. Lessons such as “treat others fairly, standing for a purpose, leading with integrity, sharing, being a team player and etc” all fueled the character. Many of the challenges that arose I had experienced or watched others endure. Throughout my life experiences, I was able to apply these teaching moments to become wiser, all while managing my emotions and projecting an effective attitude.

 The Smart Cookie: What made you want to transition from writer to author?

Oscar: I consider myself to be an entrepreneur; I like to “dip and dabble” in different areas. I was not privy to authorship prior to my initial picture book. I looked at the transition as a short-term goal for 2019. Again, I do not have formal training or background in writing.

I took a chance on a message that I think resonates in society and will ultimately define everyone: how did we treat others, and did we live a life of pride that we would be comfortable telling our parents about?

The Smart Cookie:  If you could chat with one person living or dead, who would it be and why?

Oscar: I would love to chat with my beloved grandfather, Oscar Redden JR, who recently passed away suddenly. He was my role model and gave me my very first job. Working alongside him, I witnessed his ambition, service to his community and love for family which left an everlasting impression on my life. I dedicated my book to him in memory of his life.

 The Smart Cookie: In the book, Albert travels around and meets many people. Name a place you traveled to that changed you for the better. Talk about the experience.

 Oscar: Approximately 4 years ago, I traveled to Costa Rica on a mission trip. The country was beautiful and solely driven by agricultural. Costa Rica contains over 100 volcanoes, positioned throughout the land. Uniquely, when the volcanoes erupt, the molten lava rolls down from the highest peak and saturates the land with minerals- spurring vegetation growth. Because the minerals in the lava are so rich, there is no need for farmers to do crop rotation, making farming easier and prosperous. When crops are harvested, they are sold as exports into America helping Costa Rica’s economy.

During my mission trip to Costa Rica I had the honor of serving at a non-for-profit recreation center for the youth. There I assisted with the sanding and painting of walls and helped with the mentoring of kids. This center was located right outside the capital, San Jose, in a small village called La Carpio (or the Village of Hope). I learned this village’s population is mostly children. Most of the kids attend school for half the day while the reminder work jobs to help support their families.  Because children start working at an early age, education becomes less of a priority. I learned that the kids in this village do not have the opportunities to attend college. This was an “eye opener” for me as often we take access to education for granted in the United States.

Also, I visited another town called La Fortuna located right outside the capital. There I volunteered at an adoption shelter doing yard work- digging, planting and removing weeds from the garden. Also, I played board games with kids and colored with them. The kids seemed to really enjoy our company. However, it was heartbreaking to see them start to cry once we started to leave; their smiles faded. There were children asking us to adopt them. They sensed that no one was coming to pick them up. Unfortunately, our departure meant that they would have to deal with this harsh reality.

 

 The Smart Cookie: What is the most important thing you have learned about attitude?

 Oscar: A positive attitude can be contagious. Once you spread it, everyone gets a piece. That’s why I believe positivity is the catalyst to achieving altitude in attitude!

 

 The Smart Cookie: Did you always want to write for children? Why or why not?

 

Oscar: To be honest, my intention was never to write for children. However, I saw an opportunity and took on the assignment. There are millions of kids across the world growing up without hope and aspirations. I wanted to create a picture book that had some substance and taught valuable life lessons to impressionable, young readers.

The Smart Cookie: When not writing, what do you like to do in your free time?

Oscar: I like to exercise. Also, I enjoy listening to old school R&B and hip-hop. I enjoy attending sporting events such as basketball games. Most of all, I enjoy spending quality time at home with my fiancé tending to our flower garden.

To order Oscar’s book, please visit here.

 

#SmartCookiePR: Willie Handler’s Interview On The Author Show

June 24, 2019 —– Canadian author of political satire The Road Ahead and forthcoming science fiction Loved Mars, Hated The Food (Kyanite Publishing, August 13, 2019) Willie Handler did an interview with Linda Thompson of The Author Show Podcast.

The interview primarily covers Handler’s first novel The Road Ahead and will only be up on the site and various other media platforms for 24 hours today only.

To listen to the inteview, please click the image below.

Hear Willie Handler on The Authors Show!