This week's blog is one I have been SO excited to share with you all - another author interview, this time with poet and YA novelist Miranda Kulig!
Author of Breaking into Butterflies and the upcoming Paper Planes, releasing March 13th, Miranda Kulig is a Michigan native with a penchant for art - both visual and written - a knack for baking, and a beautiful and unique way of seeing the world!
I'm so fortunate to call Miranda both a fellow writer and a friend; her debut poetry book brought us together and I've been a huge fan of her as a poet, a novelist, and a person ever since! I'm so honored she agreed to this interview in celebration of her upcoming release and can't wait for you all to read it. Check out the end end of the post for links where you can purchase and dive into her books!
1) This is your second poetry collection about to be published. Congratulations!! Did you find the process easier, harder, or about the same the second time around?
Thank you! This process was (to my surprise) much harder. After writing, editing, and publishing Breaking into Butterflies, I did not anticipate how difficult it would be to start that process all over again. I actually started and stopped more than five other poetry books before completing Paper Planes.
2) Wow, starting and stopping that many times can be such a challenge! Do you have any idea what it was that made Paper Planes stick where the others didn’t?
Honestly, I think it was the message of the book itself. I didn’t realize how badly I needed to write the words to this book until they started pouring out of me. It was a really freeing experience!
3) I love when the theme or message we write in our books is the thing WE need to hear! It’s such a rewarding experience! So besides message, what stood out to you in this book? What were the differences in terms of style, feel, and content between Breaking into Butterflies and Paper Planes? What about the similarities?
I tend to keep my books slightly similar (enough that they complement each other) but the main differences between the two is the chapter lengths, interior artwork, and overall message. While Breaking into Butterflies talks about growth and change, Paper Planes is more about the process of hitting walls in life and learning how to get back up again. However, they both follow the same chapter layout (though PP has three chapters and BiB has four) and the cover fonts and elements were purposefully made similar.
4) I’ve gotten to sneak-peek at the artwork of Paper Planes (actually, at the whole thing) and let me tell you, the illustrations are such a treat! So tell us a little about your process! Do you have a method for how a poetry book comes together?
Yes and no! I usually start with a vague concept or even a title, and then try to work that concept into a layout of three to four potential chapters. I like my poetry books to have a distinct flow that tells a message, so usually if I have an idea that doesn’t work with that kind of layout, I tend to scrap it. But more often than not when I’m really meant to write a book, it ends up flowing on its own and I’m able to piece nearly a whole book together in just a few days.
5) There’s something to relatable in that method! I think as a novel writer myself, I tend to think poetry is a much more ethereal process, so I love getting to see how your ideas and structures work! What is your FAVORITE part of the writing process?
Without a doubt, my favorite part is writing poems that seem to fall right out of my heart. There are certain poems that I have to think about when I write them, and there are others that jump right out of my emotions. The emotional poems always surprise me when I read back over them; especially the ones that make me go, “did I just write that?”
6) You’re dang right you wrote it! Everything about Breaking into Butterflies and Paper Planes just screamed that emotion to me, from style to flow to covers! And speaking of covers, you design your own! What inspired the feel behind Paper Planes’ cover?
Interestingly enough, I was actually messing around with the design of a completely different book when the idea for Paper Planes hit me! Usually when I’m designing a cover, all it takes is one image to inspire me. In this case, (obviously) I stumbled upon a pencil-drawn doodle of a paper airplane. I was instantly hit with the concept of using a paper plane as a metaphor, which then also led to me teaching myself how to draw a paper airplanes. I knew I wanted to include my own artwork in the interior of the book, so I thought I should include it on the cover, too. I envisioned something bright and airy and blue for the background with a hand-drawn style paper airplane over it. It took a lot of trial and error to get the cover how I wanted it, but not nearly as much as it took for Breaking into Butterflies, surprisingly!
7) I can totally see how each cover is distinct and yet so much love went into them both—and so much time! How do you balance writing and the demands of your daily life? Have you found any particular schedule or strategy they helps you get words on paper?
Oooo. What a question. My writing schedule is something that I’ve always struggled with and have felt guilty over way, way too many times. I used to feel like if I wasn’t filling every bit of free time I had with writing, then I wasn’t a true writer. But (thankfully!) I have learned and accepted that that is just absolutely not true at all. I work full time every day, but have thankfully found a way to squeeze in at least a half hour of writing every day. I leave for work an hour early and will either go to a coffee shop or sit in my car and knock out as much writing as I can. It took a bit of an adjustment, but now it’s a schedule that really works for me!
8) A fellow morning writer! There’s so much inspiration to be found in those young hours of the day! Now, you’re a writer of fiction as well as poetry – what do you find to be the biggest difference between the two? How about what’s most similar?
I think the biggest difference for me is . . . well, everything! My poetry is nonfiction whereas my writing is fiction, and that in of itself makes these two writing forms very separate. I write my poetry books very differently than how I write my novels; I will create an incredibly detailed outline with my novels and follow it chapter by chapter, whereas for poetry all I need is the chapter titles and I can write the poems in randomly.
The only thing that tends to be similar between my poetry and fiction is my writing style and the speed at which I write. If I get into a good writing zone, I can knock a first draft of either kind of book out in a week.
9) Here’s to you hitting a good writing zone!! What’s next on the horizon for you with writing?
After Paper Planes releases, I plan on focusing on my fiction for a while! I have one project that I would love to start querying, and another that is still in the writing phase that I would like to complete. I’m hoping to have the first draft of the latter done by the end of the year.
10) We will take ALL the novels, yes, please! Your work is such an inspiration, as is your heart and dedication to your craft! Any advice for fellow writers? How about for readers?
Write what you want to write and read what you want to read. Don’t let schedules and other people’s paces rush you or slow you down!
11) That is such fantastic and needed advice, especially with more and more opinions floating out there on social media! Last but not least, would you share with us your FAVORITE of all the poems in Paper Planes and tell us why that one means so much to you?
So hard to choose! I love so many of the poems in this book! But the one that always stands out to me the most is this one, which is found just a few pages before the end of the book:
You have spots that I can mend
and I have spots that you can mend
what a beautiful thing it is
to be human together.
I think it means so much to me because it’s so simply truthful. Everyone has good things and bad things about themselves, and there’s nothing more incredible than finding someone who understands your struggles so perfectly. This poem gives me an image of people coming together and fitting together like puzzle pieces; each one helping another feel whole. It’s both inspiring and comforting to know that no matter where you go, we’re all human beings with ups and downs.
We’re all paper airplanes who crash sometimes, and if we can humble ourselves and show some kindness to those we meet every day, I think the world could become an incredible place.
An incredible place indeed, and made all the more lovely by writers sharing their hearts! If you like what you see here, check out the links below to order Miranda Kulig’s poetry collections and follow her on social media for more amazing poetry, book updates, encouragement, and more!