Interview – Australian poetess Vicki Case
Self-Publisher’s Showcase: Please welcome to the Showcase Lounge, the talented Australian writer and poetess, Vicki Case.
So Vicki, wasting no time with preamble… Can you tell us a little about where your love for the written word grew from and which authors inspired you to write?
Vicki Case: Prior to meeting the ‘love of my life’ in August 2007 I struggled putting well wishing words together on a Christmas or birthday card. I was married for 23 years and never once wrote him anything of significance.
After I left my husband, I met and I fell head over heels in love with ‘the love of my life’ and we shared an incredible 14 month relationship. I loved, adored and admired this man with a love and devotion I have never previously known. This may sound rather stupid to those reading this but it wasn’t until after I met the ‘love of my life’ that words literally began appearing from nowhere and bombarding me relentlessly from every direction; all day and all night long. They were insistent and persistent and my poetry books are the result of their tenacity.
This man and this man alone is the sole reason that I discovered my creative literary chakra. He essentially unearthed my poetic gift from the depths of the earth and excavated them, dragging them to the surface. He literally reincarnated a Phoenix from the ashes of a broken and shattered woman and gave Australia, and the world, a poetess. It is truly a shame that even today, he has absolutely no idea of the fact that I am a published poetess or that his few simple and encouraging words gave me the courage to present my poetry to the world.
To be honest no author(s) actually inspired me to write. I didn’t find poetry, it found me. My love and admiration for the ‘love of my life’ inspired me to write poetry. He is the sole and only inspiration for my poetry.
However I do have a favourite author. For many, many years I restricted myself to reading autobiographies and factual books. I never really enjoyed fiction novels or similar. One day a neighbour loaned me a Patricia Cornwell novel and from that day onwards I have been a true and loyal Patricia Cornwell fan.
SPS: For those unfamiliar with your work you have produced a trilogy (soon to be quadrilogy) of poetry books. The poems contained therein are an honest portrayal of a relationship break-up with the ‘love of your life’. Was publishing these works a difficult decision? And, were you ever tempted to make them purely private?
VC: Yes for sure, publishing my poetry was an extremely difficult decision for me and one that took me some considerable time to decide on. The man that I loved unconditionally was a high profile personality and I promised him from the very start that I would do everything in my power to protect him. I feared that by publishing my poetry and putting my every feeling out there, that people would put one and one together and obviously end up with two. In light of this, I edited my poetry so as to protect his identity from the world.
The decision to publish was made even more difficult because both close friends and family alike could not understand why I would “put myself out there”. Australian country (rural) people are very private people and this, coupled with the age and generational differences I shared with these people opposed to my publishing, only added to the decision process.
SPS: Your books offer in great detail your journey from despair to healing. Do you hope that others in similar situations will find strength in your words and poems?
VC: Absolutely; I have actually gone to great lengths to endeavour to help others (of both genders) who find themselves in the same position, promoting my books and just this very thing. I have liaised with Psychologists who present positive psychology courses and offered to speak on these courses. I promoted this very issue on my live On-Line Event on Hay House Radio on 27/06/2013. I also frequent tweet messages on this very subject and attempt to reach people who need a crutch until they can find their way out of despair; a crutch such as poetry.
SPS: Where do you think you would be now emotionally, if you hadn’t managed to find this release for your hurt?
VC: If I hadn’t found poetry I know that I would be in an incredibly dark place. I did reside there for a while and just didn’t know how to find my way out. To say that my poetry saved my life would be an understatement. Poetry allowed me to vent, to express my myriad of feelings without judgment or ridicule. Poetry empowered me and provided me with; not only a reason to live, but with a medium through which I could express the emotional roller-coaster ride that I was transversing.
People of today definitely underestimate the power and influence of the written word. I sincerely hope that my poetry books help others, both now and in the future. I know that writing my poetry categorically helped me.
SPS: Was it always your intention to self-publish your work?
VC: Not initially. Initially I just composed my poetry which I sent to the ‘love of my life’ each and every morning during his commute to work. I wrote the poems as my way of expressing to him just how much I loved and adored him. After a little while he started telling me that he was flattered by my words; that my poetry was good and that I should consider publishing it. Cynically I just thought he was being nice.
It wasn’t until after he severed me from his life with an SMS message that I began to seriously contemplate the possibly of publishing my poetry. I perused the Internet for publishers and sent off a number of inquires and, luckily for me, Balboa Press contacted me and the rest of the story is history.
If I am totally honest I believe that my reason for publishing was in fact two-fold. Yes, I wanted the world to see and like my poetry; but most of all I wanted my poetry “out there” hoping that he would one day see it and realise the depth of my love for him.
SPS: In your day job you work as a Criminal Analyst. Can you tell us how you manage to switch off and settle into writing after a hard day?
VC: I don’t really switch on and off. I write on the train on the way to work. I write on the train on the way home from work and I write at night and on the weekends. I have found that the majority of my poems come to me between 9pm and 1am. As such, I now sleep with a notepad and pen beside the bed so that I can record the poems are they are created. If I try to remember them the next morning they have generally disappeared into the ethos.
I also write on the weekends. Although I own and personally maintain a quarter acre block of land and home I still do not have any problems finding time to write. Perhaps I am just good at time management.
My career is one facet of my life and my writing is another. I do not find it difficult to step from one to the other.
SPS: Have there been situations in your day job that have sparked ideas and situations for future writing? Or are we getting ahead of ourselves and imaging things to be more exciting than they are? We do this a lot…
VC: I sincerely believe that I have the best job in the world and that by doing my job well that I contribute significantly to making the world a far safer and better place to live.
There is never a dull moment in my job as a Criminal Analyst and I have often said that I should write a book about my experiences however I have always been of the sincere belief that people would not buy it as they would not believe the shenanigans that do actually go on.
You must be reading my mind though. I have actually begun writing a fiction novel about that very thing which I have titled ‘Chameleon Blue’. It is a behind the scenes look at life in a police station and the lives of those that serve the community. It’s not about crime it’s about individuals, their lives and how they deal with different situations in their lives from a personal perspective as opposed to a professional perspective.
SPS: You have spoken about turning your attention away from authoring poetry and moving more towards writing both fiction and non-fiction works. Can you give us an idea of anything that we might expect from you in the coming years? And will you return to Poetry in the future?
VC: In addition to ‘Chameleon Blue’ my father worked on the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) for over 30 years and he and his colleagues tell some great stories about their mischief whilst maintaining our roads. When they get together and talk about their exploits the entire audience end up in fits of laughter. I have recorded their stories and have also begun writing another fiction novel which I have titled: ‘The 99 Mile Peg’. Readers who think that road maintenance men and their jobs are boring are in for a rude shock.
I have also completed writing my own autobiography which I have titled ‘No One’s Story’. People have repeatedly asked me to write my autobiography and I eventually gave in and wrote it. I have entered it in the Penguin Australia fiction novel manuscript contest for June 2013 so watch this space.
Poetry has been such a significant part of my life recently; it’s filled a giant void in my life after losing my beloved Eros and it literally saved my life. I believe it has cemented its place in my life and I can’t see myself relinquishing poetry from my life anytime soon. I owe poetry far too much.
SPS: We notice that are incredibly active on Social Media, do you utilise these platforms mainly as a self-promoting tool or more for the interaction with fellow authors and readers?
VC: Actually I am active on Social Media for both the reasons you have mentioned. My publisher Balboa Press has been very insistent that we (authors) have to push all the boundaries available to us if we truly believe in ourselves and our books. I have since found that the interaction has also provided me with, not only some fellow author friends, but with some worthwhile advice and tips.
SPS: It’s the point now where we like to ask… Is there anyone out there in particular right now whose work you are enjoying that you’d like to bring to our readers attention?
VC: Not only do I want to promote our own home grown Australian talent but I sincerely believe that this young Australian lad has a great future in the literary world. Via Social Media I met and forged a strong friendship with a young 16 y.o lad from Brisbane, Australia. He is in the process of writing his inaugural YA novel titled ‘The Paesian Prologues’ and he asked if I would edit it for him. I am so sincerely impressed with this young man and his writing ability. I believe that he will be a renowned author of the future and one that we should watch and follow with anticipation. His name is Jae V Reeve.
SPS: We’ll be sure to check out his upcoming novel. Thank you once again for sitting down with us today Vicki, it has been an absolute pleasure to chat.