I am pleased to introduce to you Winter Goose Publishing‘s newest author and poet Monty Wheeler. His Facebook page declares: “I’m what I consider a lil’ ol’ man living out his days in the shadow of the Ozark Mountain foothills. I work to pay the bills and write as my passion.” Monty seems to be a man whom enjoys the simplicities of life, and verse at it’s best. I hope you enjoy our interview as much as I did.
Using the letters of your first name, how would you describe yourself?
Monty= Many of neurotic’s traits yet
Tell us, how did poetry enter your life?
I fell in love with one poem in junior high when our teacher read it aloud to the class, a long ballad, THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER. No poems before or in the thirty years between that and my late start to college ever set upon my imagination. The bits and pieces of verse in Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series piqued my curiosity but not enough to send me on a search. When I started college and changed my major to creative writing I began to study poetry both in content and mechanics. The real birth of my love for formal verse begins with my first introduction to the challenges of writing in meter and rhyme.
Tell us your latest news?
My latest news. I’m learning I enjoy the public eye more than I would have thought. Low profile and flying under the radar has always been my preference. Now. With having to venture out into the real world with copies of “The Many Shades of Dark” in hand, I love being asked to sign a copy or watching someone flip through a copy, pause to read a bit of verse. The business aspect of the writer’s life? Ask me how I like that after I’ve had more dealings in it. 🙂
What inspired you to write “The Many Shades of Dark”?
I’d switched focus from short fiction to verse before I was guided to Twitter and my introduction to social media. I’d also been rejected enough I’d vowed to keep my writing for pleasure and ne’er would I ere submit again. Wrong. I friended writers and poets on Twitter and with them and because of them I began to entertain the notion of a full collection of darker verse. I began to talk about it, ask questions about others’ experiences. And it finally came down to either do it, make it happen, take the plunge. . .or shut up about it. We know what direction I followed now.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Both. It’s fun to don a persona and write, and I think you can adapt personal experiences to fit another persona, but it seems the strongest writing still comes from the gut of a personal experience as in the two included works of my father’s passing, CRYING and MY FATHER’S SON.
How did you come up with the title?
I didn’t have a title until I was ready to submit the full MS for consideration after the publisher had viewed the first fifteen works and wanted to see the rest. And they wanted a title. . .imagine that. I realized that although I billed the collection as dark verse, the work as a whole had many shades from the morning’s dew in THE STROLL to lover’s grief in GRAY. And as the twilight’s part of night, yet ne’er as dark it glows, the title came as gift from works wrapped neatly in a bow.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Early on, I would have noted Stephen King as both inspiration and unknowing mentor. Now I’d have to name a much lesser known, Paul Lake, a formalist poet and fiction writer as “mentor.” Mr. Lake was both teacher and encouragement through college, and after the alma mater encouraged me to keep writing.
What book are you reading now?
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here is a sonnet and one of my favorites from the current collection I’m working on and toward
BEFORE THE MORNING
Be still, before the morning draws a breath;
Leave closed your eyes as vestiges of night
Keep company your inward focused sight;
Be still as night will once more meet its death.
God wanders in this time of pre-dawn lull,
Between what was and what will be new day;
This magic time, this time of miracle,
Belongs to you and God; it’s time to pray.
The words might not be uttered in a voice
That might be heard by lovers in the bed,
But free your mind to walk with God—rejoice
In Him and cleanse your heart of lingering dread.
Before the morning draws first breath, let God
Wash you in His blessings and His blood,
Do you have any advice for other writers?
It’s going to sound so cliché and it’s all been said before, but all I can say is “keep writing” and hang onto that dream with all the clutches of a roped calf. And like I’m having to now, decide how much I’m willing to give up in time and chosen activities to be a real writer. Decide how much you want it.
Tell me about one of your proudest moments:
It may sound a tad morbid, but it was a special feeling I had. When an appropriate thank you card could not be found to my father’s church for all they’d done for his family at his passing, I was asked to compose one. I’d never attempted a card type verse, and when the time came for the card to be read aloud, I’d asked it be read as anonymous, as recognition still seemed a distant thing. It wasn’t. And as much as I turned red at mention of my name, the feeling I was able to use my talents to express my father’s gratitude from his “beyond” gave to me more reason to be proud of who I am.
Describe your IDEAL writing space:
That one’s easy enough. Anywhere I can fit a notebook and old #2 pencil can serve me as an ideal writing space. Love to sit on the front porch, feet propped up, spiral notebook in my lap. . .and write.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Heed that small still voice from somewhere deep inside yourself. For me, it can be the voice of God as I understand him guiding me. If it’s not coming from my head or my self-will run riot, but somewhere deeper, not to listen and heed can come with a high price.
How would you describe your life as a “headline” for a newspaper?
MAN BUYS HAPPINESS WITH TWO DOLLAR NOTEBOOK AND ONE PENCIL
Where can we buy The Many Shades of Dark?
or you can purchase print versions directly from my publisher’s online bookstore: Wintergoose Publishing
And lastly, soon I will have all the stones in place to offer signed copies for sale via web page and paypal. Watch my Facebook link below for coming details.
Where can we follow you in social media?
Anyone is welcome to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’d welcome those who’d want to “like” and follow my progress on Facebook
I’d welcome a visit to my blog and a sampling of my verse.
And I’d enjoy to connect on Goodreads
Monty Wheeler, author of The Many Shades of Dark, his debut collection of formal verse comes to the shelves via Winter Goose Publishing. Wheeler considers himself naught but a little old feller living out his days in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. With his work in meter and rhyme, he strives to keep the art of formal verse alive and well.