Amanda Lovelace (she/they) is the author of several bestselling poetry titles, including her celebrated "women are some kind of magic" series as well as her “you are your own fairy tale” trilogy. They are also the co-creator of the believe in your own magic oracle deck.
When I hear the word poetry, I think of Amanda. Their words made me feel a unique way that nothing before had. Her poetry makes me feel seen and empowered.
The fact that we managed to interview this wonderful human being means everything to me. So please, sit back, light a candle, sip your tea, and enjoy reading this interview as much as I did. We chat about the writing and publishing process, the inspiration behind and appreciation of Amanda's work, and catch up on their current reads and future projects.
Poetry, yours included, is usually about very private, intimate and often painful moments in the writer's life. What made you decide to share those with the world? What were you most excited/scared about when doing so?
i was silenced a lot as a child. i grew up in an environment where i was not allowed to have feelings, let alone express them.
around the time i was 10/11, i felt like i was bursting at the seams with everything i couldn’t say, so i began to pour those unsaid words into poetry; after all, the page couldn’t invalidate me or punish me for doing so.
throughout my childhood & early teen years, i wanted my feelings to be heard, so from time to time, i shared my work at cafes or on online forums (in a time before social media as we know it today), but it was terrifying. once you put your work out there, it’s no longer just yours. your readers can have all the opinions they want on your feelings & traumas, not all of them good.
to my surprise, most of the feedback was really encouraging.
i got distracted by life & stopped writing for a while, but in my late teens & early 20s, i began writing again. eventually, i shared some work—past & present—on my book blog at the time. it seemed like a lot of people not only saw my pain but resonated with it, too. their support gave me the last little bit of confidence i needed to start putting together my first poetry collection, the princess saves herself in this one.
i was super excited at the prospect of reaching more people by publishing it, but it wasn’t just about me being seen or heard anymore. it was also about (hopefully) giving someone—even one person—the words they needed at exactly the right time in their life, to give them some hope through my story that things can & will get better.
honestly, i tried not to expect anything after pressing publish. apparently, that’s the formula for me, because i ended up reaching more people than i ever imagined. readers often ask me, “was this book written about me?” it’s amazing to be able to express myself in this way, but it’s even more amazing to connect with others on such a personal level. taking that chance also landed me the book deal that launched my writing career—something i never imagined could happen.
Could you tell us about your writing process? Do you set word count/page number goals per day or let the creativity flow a little more naturally? Is there anything that helps you write, such as music or a cup of tea, snacks, etc.?
i find that i have most of my ideas when i’m not actively writing, so i make sure to stop & take note of every bit of inspiration i get during my day, whether it’s a word, a phrase, or a fully formed poem. most of the time, i wait until i have enough of those inspirational notes tucked away to sit down & type them out. i’m not someone who’s in the right mind frame to write every single day, so when i’m actively working on a book, it’s anywhere from 2-5 days a week.
music with singing tends to distract me while i’m writing, but i’ll usually go on youtube & play some quiet ambience. right now, it’s all about late autumn ambience: snow on pumpkins, crunching leaves, soft piano tunes.
candles help my process, too. i like to go for apple this time of the year since it’s my favorite fall scent, but magically speaking, apples also have properties relating to fertility—making your words grow & grow!
How do you decide which poems to choose for each collection? Do you choose the theme and book title before or after writing the poems?
when i write, it’s usually specifically geared towards whatever collection i’m writing—as opposed to writing whatever i want & then going back to gather pieces to see how they can fit into a collection.
(of course, sometimes i do find something i wrote without a book in mind & sneak it in, but that’s only a small percentage of the time.)
i tend to choose the theme as well as the title—even if tentative—before writing the poems; however, for flower crowns & fearsome things, the poem actually came first, inspiring an entire collection of persephone themed poems.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and how do you remedy that?
oh yes, i definitely go through periods where i feel uninspired!
whenever that happens, i like to revisit my favorite stories—books, tv shows, movies—& see what, if any, inspiration i can glean from them.
sometimes i’ll even watch interviews other authors & creatives have done. when i was a teen, i remember constantly watching this one interview holly black & tony diterlizzi did about the spiderwick chronicles; their passion for the magic of words, in turn, fuelled my own.
The collection of your books keeps growing and growing (thank you for that). Which one is your favourite? Are there any that hold a special place in your heart?
i’m very fond of the “you are your own fairy tale” trilogy, which includes break your glass slippers, shine your icy crown, & unlock your storybook heart. this winter (jan 3rd, 2023), they’ll be released together as one massive series bound collection titled you are your own fairy tale.
it may be a fictional series with made-up characters & storylines, but the feelings in them are very, very real.
i especially enjoyed writing the last collection, unlock your storybook heart, which was loosely inspired by “beauty & the beast.” i definitely think it’s the most atmospheric with its beautiful green illustrations & mentions of moss, mushrooms, & autumn leaves, but i also got to write about personal topics that didn’t necessarily “fit” with my previously published poetry collections, such as my struggles with perfectionism, ocd, & binge-eating. for that reason, the writing process was extremely cathartic.
furthermore, through the belle-esque protagonist, i was able to explore the grief of losing my mom at a young age, this time from a more sentimental perspective: just missing her, despite the (many) flaws in our relationship, which i explored in several other collections. i’m grateful i allowed myself the space to do that for once.
storybook heart is also a sapphic tale with a happy ending (both for the protagonist & for her romantic relationship), so it makes my queer heart very happy. i’m sure you’ll be happy to hear that her partner is a knight, sword & all!
On that note, is there a poem of yours that you love to return to every now and then?
there’s a poem in break your glass slippers that goes:
“i don’t know who
needs to hear this, but:
it’s okay if someone doesn’t like you.
it doesn’t mean there’s
something wrong with you.
it doesn’t mean there’s
something wrong with them.
some kinds of magic
just don’t call to each other.”
this is a reminder i need pretty often, especially as an author whose career has been controversial since day one, from the style i choose to write my poetry in to the topics i choose to write about. my words—& my existence—won’t be for everyone, & that’s okay. if i tried to make every single person happy, then my work would have to become diluted & meaningless, & that would defeat the whole purpose for me.
Are there any poetry writers who inspire you? Any that made you want to become a poet?
i’ve always admired emily dickinson. on the surface, her work seems short & simple, but once you really dig your hands into it, you find that every word—every em dash—holds immense meaning. i’m especially drawn to her work on death; anyone who reads her work knows that she was fixated on it, which has always resonated with me, as someone who’s experienced a lot of it in their life.
the queer themes in her work also make me feel seen. it reminds me that we have always been here. as a queer writer, i also relate to the fact that most people totally miss the queer themes in my work—they’ve been there since my very first book, yet people were still shocked (in the worst possible way) when the protagonist of glass slippers spoke about her dreams of fearsome princesses & wanting to kiss other girls, which were a mirror of my own as a teen/young woman. reactions like that aren’t fun to deal with, but it won’t ever deter me from writing about what matters to me.
You co-created oracle cards, you are releasing a non-fiction book on witchcraft, make your own magic: a beginner's guide to self-empowering witchcraft, in 2024 and I remember you used to do a lot of tarot card readings on your Instagram. How did you find your way to witchcraft? What place does magic have in your life?
i have a long & complicated relationship with witchcraft.
i felt drawn to it from a young age, but at that time, most of the information available was on wicca (a witchcraft-based religion), & while there were parts i resonated with (& still do), i never felt fully connected to it with all of its rules, formalities, & ceremonies. a lot of it was just super confusing & intimidating, too.
it wasn’t until i found more down-to-earth & easy-to-understand content via places like tumblr & youtube that i finally felt capable of being a witch. eventually, i settled into a very simplistic practice where i mostly find ways to bring magic to the things i already do, with a focus on healing, self-love, & self-empowerment. a few years after i officially began, witchcraft started growing in popularity—thanks to instagram & tiktok—& was thrust straight into the mainstream. you can find so much content on it nowadays, which is incredible for novice witches who are just starting out. i only wish it were like that at the beginning of my journey!
while there are countless modern witchcraft books being released on the regular, part of the reason why i decided to write make your own magic is because i wanted the ultra-accessible book i needed to exist back then, which i knew only i could possibly write. it wasn’t easy. i had a lot of self-doubt i had to work through along the way, but i did it. when it’s finally out in the world, i hope it’s an inspiration to new & aspiring witches as well as people who didn’t even realize they could be one.
Our podcast is all about women, so who's your favourite badass woman in fiction? (Bonus points if they own a sword.)
right now, my favorite is rhaenyra targaryen from house of the dragon. i’m not sure about a sword, but she definitely has a dragon!
Your poetry book titles are usually centred around strength and femininity, as are the poems within. Are any of your poems inspired by specific individuals, whether people you know personally, historical figures, or fictional characters?
most of my collections are inspired by girl- & women-driven stories i love, even if just loosely:
- the princess saves herself in this one – “rapunzel”
- the witch doesn’t burn in this one – tales of witches throughout time, both real & fictional
- the mermaid’s voice returns in this one – “the little mermaid”
- to make monsters out of girls – twilight
- to drink coffee with a ghost – i don’t think there was a single main inspiration, but i had gilmore girls on the mind while writing & even wrote a poem based on it (“chasing emily”)
- break your glass slippers – “cinderella”
- shine your icy crown – frozen/“the snow queen”; practical magic; & the lion, the witch, & the wardrobe
- unlock your story book heart – “beauty & the beast” with bits of alice in wonderland
- flower crowns & fearsome things – the myth of hades & persephone
During each episode of our podcast, we talk about the media we are currently consuming and what we currently love. What's your most enjoyable book/movie/show/podcast right now?
i recently read such sharp teeth by rachel harrison & loved every word. i wasn’t at all surprised by this because i read cackle around this time last year, an unexpectedly creepy & feminist read that immediately became my new favorite. sure, the magical & paranormal themes draw me to her work, but the real reason i love it is because of the way she writes her women protagonists. they’re allowed to exist in a very human way—to be imperfect, nonsensical, & messy af.
amanda lovelace (she/they) is the author of several bestselling poetry titles, including her celebrated "women are some kind of magic" series as well as her “you are your own fairy tale” trilogy. they are also the co-creator of the believe in your own magic oracle deck. when she isn't reading, writing, or drinking a much-needed cup of coffee, you can find her casting spells from her home in a (very) small town on the jersey shore, where she resides with her poet-spouse & their three cats.
Where you can find Amanda:
hive: @ladybookmad (app)