We offer our first and exclusive Q&A Interview with Elaine Nadal, a writer whose literary works have been featured on our Spillwords pages as well as being Author of the Month of August 2022.
What does it mean to be selected as Author of The Month?
I’m filled with gratitude. I appreciate the space to share my work, and I’m thankful to the readers and members of the Spillwords Press community.
How have your friends and/or family influenced your writing?
In my family, there are many great storytellers. Gatherings are dynamic, fun, cathartic, dramatic, sometimes chaotic, but always containing a lot of heart. My family members and close friends have inspired me to observe, listen, and analyze and reflect on the complexity of humanity. I always aim to write about different experiences and perspectives with authenticity, especially those that have been obscured for some time. Lastly, my husband encourages me to set aside fears, and when I’m discouraged, he uplifts me with his sense of humor.
What inspires you to write?
My passion for writing is my biggest inspiration. I find growth, enjoyment, fulfillment, and catharsis in telling stories.
What was your writing catalyst?
I was dealing with grief, loss, and uncertainty when I started writing again (I had stopped when I was twelve years old.). From a place of pain and fear that needed to be released, I wrote poetry and then fiction. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed writing. I wasn’t only reminded when I picked up a pen again, but also when a classmate from elementary school sent me a photo of our fifth-grade yearbook. In it, I responded that I wanted to be an author under the leading statement, “Let’s see what the future holds…”
Tell us a little bit about your writing process?
I usually write in the mornings. If I have the day off from work, I write throughout the day. I take many breaks, though often during those breaks, I’m thinking about how to improve my story or poem.
What would you say is most fulfilling about writing?
Many aspects of writing are fulfilling. I love getting an idea, feeling inspired, completing a piece, and improving my work through the editing process.
Does the addition of imagery help to tell your story?
Though my work contains much imagery, I place an emphasis on sound. I read my work out loud numerous times for musicality, rhythm, and cadence.
What is your favorite reading genre?
It depends on my mood. I try to read nonfiction often. I also enjoy historical fiction, family sagas, and poetry.
What human being has inspired you the most?
I learned about struggle, determination, compassion, and love from my grandmother. Unfortunately, it was when she passed away that I discovered so much about her. She overcame many obstacles to give our family a better life. I wish I had taken more interest in her experiences when she was alive. I don’t want voices and experiences like hers to remain in the dark or be forgotten.
What message would you have for the Spillwords Press community that voted for you?
Thank you so much. Your support means a lot to me.
What would you like your legacy as a writer to be?
I want to tell great, moving stories that inspire and provoke thought. I would like someone to list my book as a favorite.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I have an associate degree in music but didn’t make it into the music program when I transferred to a four-year college. I was devastated at the time. In retrospect, had I made the program, I most likely wouldn’t have been a writer. Switching majors enabled me to learn more about my culture, exposed me to great poetry, and gave me the opportunity to study abroad. This was life-changing. I had never traveled before, as my family didn’t have the means. Now, I travel often, have two books of poetry published, and use my music knowledge in my work. I also sing for fun, sometimes on Instagram.
Writing has helped me realize that when working diligently, your experiences aren’t wasted. It taught me to avoid being hard on myself– to move forward. For my fifth-grade yearbook, I expressed my aspiration to become an author. I’m exactly where I need to be. Whatever lies ahead may not be what I desire but may be better than what I imagine.
My wish, dear reader, is that you dream, discover, devote time to your passions, and delight in your surroundings. ¡Diviértete!
A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net-nominee, Elaine Nadal is the author of two poetry chapbooks: When and Sweat, Dance, Sing, Cut, published by Finishing Line Press. Her work has appeared in several journals, including Beyond Words Literary Magazine, Haunted Waters Press, Hoot Review, Grasslimb, and Latino Book Review Magazine.