1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
As someone who has struggled with depression, social anxiety, and ADD for most of my life, writing was always something of a therapy for me; to release any negative thoughts in a non-violent way that I could turn into something creative. Most of my creative writing was during my high school years outside of school, but after graduating, I didn’t start writing again until about 12 years later when I began spiraling into one of my worst depression periods. It would end up being the catalyst that would give me reason to expose all of my pain onto paper. I didn’t want my writing to be too autobiographical, because honestly, I don’t really enjoy writing about specific things in my life, but the idea of using poetry as a vessel to carry myself into the hearts and minds of those like me allowed me to be open and honest while still keeping it vague and relatable to anyone who may read it.
2) What inspired you to write your book?
I’ve always had a fascination with astronomy and cosmology. Even at its most basic level, you can still be enthralled by its infinite landscape of mysterious and majestic beauty. I wanted to convey that in a very simplified take of a well-known science fiction premise of an astronaut going on a deep space mission. But I didn’t want him going in order to save the earth or to take part in an intergalactic war, this was going to be extremely personal. He was doing it for love, even at the cost of his own sanity and existence. I wanted this story to be relatable to anyone who has felt that type of connection, that they would risk it all to be with the one the had lost to either natural causes, an unforeseen tragedy, or even just venturing off from your timeline. The thoughts that run through your head, both logical and illogical, calm and erratic, overwhelming and empty, create the atmosphere for this story, as well as the celestial splendor experienced by the Astronaut, as a sort of reminder that no matter how dark everything may seem for what feels.like eternity, there is always something beautiful passing by that reminds you how wonderful life is and there is always a new journey to go on.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
Swan Songs is all about overcoming impossible odds when struggling with mental illness. People are welcome to interpret whatever message they find within this Astronaut’s mission, but the one I hope they see shine the brightest is “You’re not alone.”
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
I always think of poetry as songs that you don’t sing, your heart does. As a teenager, I would spend a bit of my free time writing song lyrics to music that, for the most part, didn’t exist, but it was an important first step to what would eventually be my passion. I enjoy the simplicity of poetry, the ability to convey so much emotion and story in few words, and even though poetry does have its rules, I find I like telling my stories through verse and prose as it makes it feel like I’m composing a kind of silent album.
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
Perhaps the Astronaut’s friend, Patrick, to ask them how they would spend their life after their friend was launched into what was, in his mind anyway, a sort of suicide mission. Would he continue to work with INSTAR? Would he follow the mission until his dying day? Would he be so overcome with grief and guilt that he would walk away from it forever? I can’t imagine what it would do to him on an emotional and psychological level.
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I would say Instagram has been great to reach multitudes of new fans and building a wonderful poetry community where I can share drafts of pieces I’m working on, promote book releases, and, of course, enjoy the writings of other poets from all different skill levels and give them support as they support me. It’s a very helpful and motivational platform.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
I say just go for it. Read authors and genres you enjoy. Take notes of words you like. Use everything as inspiration, not just books. Films, songs, history, paintings, casual conversations. Anything can be your muse, so make mental notes on the things that get your attention. Odds are they can be made into something your wouldn’t have thought of on your own sitting at a desk.
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
I’m hoping the books I write will be enjoyed by those who find comfort in the melancholy of their pages when facing their own personal darkness and possibly seeing a part of themselves in the verses as well.
Currently, I’m in the midst of a few projects, one is the story of a haunted house I expect to release early in 2021 and the other is the sequel to Swan Songs. I’ve been working on the haunted house story since about April and I’m very pleased with how it’s developed. The Swan Songs sequel has gone though a multitude of changes and rewrites since I first finished the first half of The Weight of Black Holes and has ended up on the backburner while I worked on other projects, but it’s about time to take it back out and bring it to life.
About the Author
VINCENT HOLLOW is an astro-poet and interstellar storyteller living aboard the space vessel, Aquarius. Shooting from the star system to star system. Vincent spends his time gazing out into the universal abyss and the depths of himself where he hopes to find his place in the cosmos through the words he weaves in the fabric of spacetime.