Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
Sometimes it seems as if I was always a writer. When I was a baby, I used to love magazines and would rip out each page and wad it up. Maybe I was being a critic, but I like to think that I loved the paper, ink, and pictures—not to mention the sound of the crumpling paper. I have always loved books, reading, and writing. However, I don’t think I was ready to begin to write in earnest until I was in my late twenties, when I had enough life experiences.
What inspired you to write your book?
Rooted and Winged came about from the experiences I had throughout the writing of the poems and the memories that came to light during that period. The book took about five years to write as I began it after my chapbook Kin Types was published. Then, after COVID surfaced, I finished the final poems. These pandemic poems can be found in Section IV. Death, loss, aging, and terminal illness inhabit the final part of the book along with the lonely surreal feel of living in the first few months of a pandemic. “Hearing Aids” describes how my mother bought her first hearing aids during these scary months when we were both trapped within our homes almost two thousand miles apart, feeling isolated yet united:
“She pours tea there / and I pour mine here. Our spouts speak the same.”
What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
I hope readers draw what they personally glean from the poems, drawing upon their own perspectives and experiences. Writing poetry is a discovery process for the poet. I don’t know what I am going to learn until I complete a poem. From this collection, I found that the images of flight are meaningful to me as both a spiritual site and as a source of great power. But without roots to tie me to earth and its human and animal inhabitants, I would lose the balance that guides the power.
What drew you into this particular genre?
I have loved poetry since I was a child. I still love to read poetry, but I also enjoy memoirs and mysteries. I tend to write in short bursts of time regularly, which is very conducive to writing poetry. To write a novel, I would need large blocks of time. Also, I love the imagery and succinct quality of poetry.
What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
Definitely my blog, Writersite.org. I started it ten years ago and have made wonderful friends through blogging. My readers are so supportive of my writing and me personally. Facebook is an excellent way to share my writing with friends from different parts of my life and with other writers. I like Twitter because I can keep up with what is going on with other writers. Instagram is fun, but I use it more for my art journaling since it is a visual social media.
What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Read, read, read in several genres, especially in the genre you want to write in. And take every in-person or online workshop or writing class that you can. Many free or low-cost ones become available, so watch for them. Don’t publish too soon. Even if you are planning a novel or full-length memoir, start with smaller projects and submit stories and poems to literary journals. Finally, don’t publish a book that hasn’t been adequately edited.
What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
I just completed my memoir in flash nonfiction “scraps.” Fittingly, it’s called Scrap: Salvaging a Family. I’ve also been assembling a chapbook of poems based on Little Red Riding Hood stories.
About the Poet
Luanne Castle’s Kin Types (Finishing Line Press), a chapbook of poetry and flash nonfiction, was a finalist for the 2018 Eric Hoffer Award. Her first poetry collection, Doll God, winner of the 2015 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award, was published by Aldrich Press. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, she studied at the University of California, Riverside (PhD); Western Michigan University (MFA); and Stanford University. Her writing has appeared in Copper Nickel, TAB, The American Journal of Poetry, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Verse Daily, Saranac Review, Lunch Ticket, River Teeth, and other journals. An avid blogger, she can be found at luannecastle.com. She divides her time between California and Arizona, where she shares land with a bobcat. Her heart belongs to her rescue cats.
Luanne blogs at Writer Site and The Family Kalamazoo.