Eliza Kent is an author from Phoenix, Arizona studying for her Bachelors in filmmaking. After periodically writing poetry while completing her first three novels, she accumulated over a hundred poems. Her poetry book, “You Were the Graveyard” is releasing on May 27 and can be bought where books are sold.
O: When did you begin writing?
Eliza: I’ve been writing since I can remember. It started with comic stories and developed into little booklets. When I was eleven, I began plotting what became my first full-length novel. Since I was fourteen, I haven’t stopped those serious projects.
O: Is there a writer that you look up to, whether it be someone who motivated you to begin drawing or someone whose work inspires you today?
E: There are a lot of writers I feel I look up to, but the first one would be Neil Gaiman. I remember watching Coraline for the first time and feeling strangely inspired. At that age, I had never watched anything so spooky. Weirdly enough, that inspired me to begin writing my own creepy stories. Books eventually turned into poetry. Another person that inspires me, especially in my poetry, is Taylor Swift. Her lyrics are so metaphorical and have definitely made me want to get better at planting my own hidden meanings in my words.
O: If you had to describe your work in three words, what would they be and why?
E: Lyrical, intense, and honest.
O: What is your favorite part of the creative process?
E: I love seeing my work come together in the revision/ending stages. Drafts are often just a barf of the idea in my mind, and as fun as they are, they’re not often a good representation of my intention. Watching my work become what I imagined is so powerful.
O: Your work is striking, heartbreaking, and impassioned. Where does your inspiration come from?
E: I like to think that my writing comes from all the little moments in between the big events. Some bad people and times in my life inspired my poems, but I often find myself remembering the little events, rather than the huge betrayals. You always remember the weather on your worst days or the way the open window felt. I try to encapsulate that into my poems. Words can’t describe massive emotions like love and loss, but starting with describing how they felt in individual moments narrows it down.
O: What is your favorite piece of work so far and why is it your favorite? (Please include a link if you have one, we’d love to include it on the website!)
E: It’s hard to pinpoint one piece of work that’s my favorite because they all represent different stages of myself. But if I had to choose one, it would probably be rosie or Hysterics. Both of these poems are very personal to me, and both showcase a similar time in my life.
O: Okay, so of course, we have to ask you about your poetry collection debut! Could you talk about what inspired you to start this collection and why it’s titled “You Were the Graveyard”?
E: My poetry collection naturally grew over the years. At first, it became a casual part of my routine. But as I self workshopped my poems, I realized they had potential. I wanted to put together a collection of poetry for several years, but they never felt cohesive enough until recent months. I reached a point with all my poems that it felt a section of my life had a clear beginning and end, all documented in my writing. I categorized my poems to tell that story. I drew the title, “You Were the Graveyard” from a line in one of my poems Hysterics. I thought it described the overall emotion behind most of the poems. “You Were the Graveyard” is for when you feel like somebody is a graveyard for all of your love and emotion.
O: Your poems in this collection are especially lyrical and metaphorical. How did you find your style and voice throughout the process of writing these poems?
E: I’ve always been pretty good at noticing little details, and throughout the years I would jot down little things that seemed important. Oftentimes, I would come back to them years later and just write and revise them until I found something I liked. For my other poems, I would just brain dump my emotions and metaphors would come naturally with the flow. Above else, I tried conveying my style in the way I felt things. Some would come on very quickly, others simmered in my mind for years before they got words.
O: This is more of a logistical question, but we’d love to hear about the process of self-publishing and how it’s worked out for you. Have you encountered any challenges along the way? What made you choose this route over traditional publishing?
E: There are so many challenges in self-publishing, most of them coming from annoying self-publishing rules and software. My other issues have been with promotion, and all the tiny annoying things I don’t think authors should have to worry about. Putting that aside, I chose to do it for my collection of poetry because I wanted the freedom to tell my words exactly how they were. These poems are so personal to me, so I couldn’t imagine altering them for a publication like I would for my fictional projects.
O: You’re working on a few short films for social media promotion! What attracts you to film as a creative medium—both in terms of why you’ve elected to use it for promoting your collection and also why you’ve chosen to study it in college?
E: Storytelling has always been my calling. It started with writing books, then poetry, and in the last few years I’ve become interested in telling stories through film. I find it so interesting because you can show details on screen rather than just saying them. For some of my poems, I thought adding imagery and a physical image to them would help people relate. I’m currently working on a short film for my poem rosie. I’m also writing and directing a short film over the summer.
O: If you could give new artists some advice from what you’ve learned, what would it be?
E: Stay true to your personal style and the genres that call to you. As a young writer, there was pressure for me to write less mature things instead of love poems and thrillers. But I kept true to what I knew I could write, and it paid off because I always felt satisfied with it. Never let anyone tell you what is right or wrong. That being said, don’t be closed to constructive feedback. Knowing the difference between pointless criticism and constructive feedback is often the key between destroyed confidence and, well, destroyed confidence (but with a better plot this time!).
O: Do you have any upcoming projects that we should look out for?
E: Yes! I’m working on filming a short film over the summer for one of my poems rosie. I’m also always writing more novels! While I do not plan on self-publishing any of my fictional novels, I’m always working on several projects which I either share or provide updates on, on my Instagram.
Everybody give a hand to Eliza for her time answering all of our most pressing questions about writing and her exciting new debut “You Were the Graveyard! You can find out more about her on her website and also on her Instagram, Twitter, and Tiktok.
PS. Don’t forget to preorder her book where books are sold!