november author spotlight: the interview (part one)
November's author spotlight shines on the beautiful and talented Natasha Dubalia. Born in Spain and now living in the U.K., 27-year-old Natasha is a full time engineer and part time writer, dancer, and actor. Stepping on the Instagram scene just six months ago, she's gained an audience of over 4K and has just released her debut poetry collection Palm Trees and Rain.
Natasha granted me the opportunity to interview her and i was able to not only ask questions about her personal journey but also her book creating process. Please take some time to get to know Natasha in part one of the interview below and stay tuned for part two in which she gives us the inside scoop on Palm Trees and Rain.
Describe the first time you wrote a poem. How old were you? Do you remember where you were or what sparked you to do so?
As a child I used to dive into my mom's poetry books. I remember being sat for hours trying to find the meaning to some of the pieces I had read. At such a young age I suppose you are not able to comprehend the complexity or appreciate the beauty of a bunch of words. I was around 14 years old when reading 'Uno aprende' ('you learn') by Jorge Luis Borges when I first got inspired to write. I vaguely remember what I wrote but it came as an outcome of reading him.
Where do you gain your inspiration from? Does it come from your own life experiences?
I tend to write about my own life experiences but when it comes to inspiration I always say that inspiration comes in any shape or form. A landscape, a person, the tone of a voice, a smell, colour, someone's story, anything. Dancing and seeing people exploring their inner movement through contemporary dancing is a big one for me.
What are some of your favorite topics to write about? (Love, loss, etc).
I genuinely don't have a single favourite topic. I mainly write about emotions and reflect on experiences that I go through or what others do around me. I suppose that one of my favourite topics to write about is hope. Through my writing I enjoy showing people alternative sides to a situation, encourage them to see beauty even in the most painful moments, to help people find their inner strength, to spread kindness, and to be grateful - always to be grateful.
Describe your writing style. Do you prefer long/short form? Why?
I write from the heart so there is no filter for this. I can never guess if it's going to be a long or a short piece - it just is what it is. I like to think that the length of a piece doesn't determine its quality but what makes you feel or reflect about instead.
When did you first make the jump to posting your poetry to social media? What was your intention or goal when you decided to create your account?
Posting on social media was a very difficult process for me. I've always written as a method to let things out and sharing them with other people became something very hard for me. It was like truly opening up and that doesn't always makes you feel comfortable. I had friends supporting (pushing!) me to start posting and one day a few months ago I just said to myself, “well, maybe they are right, maybe I should just start sharing who I am.” I remember the first few weeks of posting feeling incredibly vulnerable and even a bit down. The level of exposure can be frightening so I decided to treat it as a tool to connect with other people, to to put my work out there, and stop worrying for no reason.
Do you think social media created a platform or paved a way for writers? If so, how? What are some positives and negatives about social media for writers?
In general I believe that social media is a unique platform to promote your work. As long as you treat it with integrity as a tool to share, connect with people and promote your work/business then that's fine. The more you use social media the more of an expert you become at it.
For writers, it's a great opportunity to get exposure, however it also has a flip side to it. Some people (including publishers) judge the quality of your work just based on your numbers (followers) and that just doesn't feel right.
Does your family/friends know about your poetry? How do you feel about them seeing your works and also, how do they feel about reading some of your more personal pieces?
My mom always knew I wrote although I kept it quite personal. One day (approximately a month after I started to post content on social media) she text me saying 'you should publish, you know?'; it made me laugh because by that time I was already writing my first book but it was something very nice to hear from her. My dad never really knew until I shared it with him not long ago (this past summer) and it was the funniest moment ever because he replied to my text with an audio message of himself reading a poem in Spanish that he would have written 20 years ago! I was SHOCKED!
For some of my friends it has been very surprising and for others not that much as they already knew. Overall I have had a very good response. Sometimes it’s actually overwhelming to read some of their messages / feedback / comments. I feel very lucky and incredibly grateful.
What would you want to tell your 15-year-old self?
This is probably one of the most difficult questions so far! I'd honestly say to myself that it's okay. That everything falls into place eventually, that there is no reason to worry but to also care. Care enough to become the person you want and deserve to be BUT don't worry about it too much. Just enjoy the process.
I’d also say not to wait until it's too late. You will eventually realize that you never really know when it’s too late until it actually is so just go for it. Replace hesitation with trust and just GO FOR IT
Lastly, I’d just want to tell myself to stay soft, spread kindness, and smile double (at least!) the times you cry.
Name one long term goal that you have. (it can be anything - not specific to writing).
I would love to make the art industry (my passion) my career. I have a project in mind that involves writing and dancing that I can't really wait to share. Hopefully everything goes well and I’ll be able to say more early next year! As long term goal I would love to become a recognized actress within the film industry. That's my DREAM and my most honest answer!