Kristina Hamlett‘s writing journey shows that good things happen when you just DO THE WORK.
In 2018 she self-published her e-book What I Love About You: A Guided Journal to Writing Your Proposal and Vows. She’s been blogging for years, she’s written for several websites, and she was selected to participate in The Storyteller Project: Digital Storytelling for Women of Color.
Now her first collection of poetry and prose has been published by L10 Press.
“At this point, it feels like every opportunity was a stepping stone or in preparation for this moment,” Kristina says.
She Lives Here is available now and what better way to celebrate Kristina’s book release day than to honor her as the See Jane Write Member of the Month for March 2021.
Read on to learn more about Kristina and her new book.
Tell us more about what we can expect from your new book.
She Lives Here is a book of prose and poetry published by L10 Press as part of their new subscription service, Unzipped. It takes you on a journey through my early childhood as a Haitian-American girl in Queens to womanhood in Virginia. Everything is laid bare — the examination of fear, insecurity, faith, sex, commitment, rage, and sorrow, while embracing Black identity and, ultimately, choosing joy.
How is this book different from projects you’ve done in the past?
She Lives Here is not so different from the writing and blogging I’ve done for years but seeing it all in one place is what feels wildly different for me. Holding a book in my hands with my name and gorgeous art on the cover along with the support of a press is a dream come true for me.
Tell us more about Life in 10 Minutes.
Life in 10 Minutes is an online literary magazine and an organization that offers writing classes and workshops founded by Valley Haggard based in Richmond, Virginia. L10 Press was created to amplify the voices of women and underrepresented populations. In 2020, Unzipped, their subscription literary magazine service, published its first issue and my new book, She Lives Here will be the second issue. I began taking creative non-fiction writing classes with Life in 10 Minutes in January of 2017. After many classes and eventually taking a facilitation workshop, I began facilitating classes in early 2020 at a local non-profit. In late spring, I will teach my second workshop, Get Lifted: Using Music and Poetry to Find Your Light.
How did your publishing partnership with Life in 10 Minutes come about?
The partnership with L10 press for She Lives Here came about organically. I had been blogging for four years and there were pieces I had written for myself. Around August of 2020, I was contemplating compiling reworked blog posts and those pieces into a book to pitch to an agent. I was already in communication with Valley about potentially teaching a class when she proposed I construct a collection of prose and poetry. She had already spoken to her team and it was truly an honor to be chosen for this opportunity, especially by a female-led press that uplifts points of view that are often dismissed.
In the past, you’ve blogged a lot about your wellness journey. Where are you now on your wellness journey and what kind of impact has it had on your writing — specifically on this new book?
I am finding balance on my wellness journey. I was in training in early 2020 to compete in my second Strongman competition when COVID-19 turned the world inside out. It took me a while to recover from the new normal and the isolation living in an immunocompromised household. However, I have started working out again, enjoying my plant-based diet, engaging in therapeutic practices like journaling, meditation and prayer. I am looking inward more often, which feels exactly right to me. While writing She Lives Here, I was going through some of the most anxious moments of my life, but I can honestly say deep breathing and reminding myself there is peace on the other side of these moments allowed me to finish the book in more of a mentally healthy place.
What motivated you to join See Jane Write?
I was motivated to join See Jane Write because I needed accountability and community. I tend to lack structure with my writing practice and sometimes, I am waiting to feel inspired. I find myself daydreaming, reading, watching TV–anything but sitting my butt down and writing. I knew having the support of the SJW Collective write-in nights would be critical to completing my book. Even though I was not sharing work on those nights, being in a virtual space with other women focused on writing was enough to motivate me.
What do you like most about being a member of the Collective?
I love being a member of SJW Collective because I feel more organized and empowered with my writing. I am actually writing with intention each week, learning from other people and checking off monthly goals. With everything that’s coming with the release of She Lives Here, I can’t think of another community outside of SJW Collective where I am happier to invest my time and energy.
Join Kristina Hamlett for her virtual book release party for She Lives Here on Friday, March 19 at 4 p.m. CT. RSVP here.
Who should be the next See Jane Write Member of the Month? Send your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org and don’t be afraid to nominate yourself! Not a member? Apply to join here.