Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I was born in Oakland, California and grew up in the Bay Area. I'm the third daughter to Bulgarian parents who immigrated to California shortly before I was born. At a young age, I began drawing, reading and writing. As a child, I was an avid reader and writer, but I focused on the fine arts in high school. I received many art accolades, including a Congressional award for my piece "Boy in Red" in 2009. In 2015, I received my Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley. I began writing poetry again at age twenty-four when I was in graduate school. I earned my Master's in Education from the same alma mater in 2017. After, I spent two years as an English teacher in Richmond, California. During that time, I self-published my first poetry collection: "The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder". Currently, I'm writing my first novel. I speak English, Bulgarian, Spanish and am now learning French.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is a poetry collection titled "The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder". I started it while I was a soon-to-be graduate musing about feminist issues like street harassment. Eventually, I began writing about the romantic relationship I was involved with at the time, and about the man I was falling in love with. When that relationship ended, the poetry took a tumultuous turn into heartbreak that melted into a depression once I found out my sister was dying, two weeks after my break-up.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I tend to only use Moleskin notebooks–something about that leathery smell ignites an artistic nostalgia. I also frequent the same writing cafés: Caffè Strada in Berkeley, Farley's in Oakland, Barrelista in Martinez, Coffee Shop in Walnut Creek. The ambiance needs to be peaceful and romantic; twinkling lights, kitschy furniture and a patio are preferable. I like to write with a delicious latte in hand and a luxurious string of words on my mind.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
My biggest influence would be Georgi Gospodinov–his novel "The Physics of Sorrow" in particular. He's a contemporary Bulgarian author and the novel is about a sense of apathy and identity-finding following the communist fall in Bulgaria. It also dabbles slightly in magical realism, which is surprising to see outside of Latin American literature, but it's fantastic. "100 Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is also another novel that has kept inspiring me long after I finished it. Sylvia Plath is one of my favorite poets; her boldness in exploring her own darkness encourages me to explore mine. Similarly, the musical artist BANKS and her album "Goddess" aided and inspired me to write my first poetry collection, "The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder". Then, rupi kaur inspired me to self-publish and promote myself on Instagram! I also think we have similar writing styles, ironically enough. Female (especially women of color) authors like Chimamanda Adichi and Yaa Gyasi (if you haven't read "Homegoing" yet–go read it NOW) make me realize that I CAN make it as a female author, if I have a good enough story to tell. Lastly, "Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens has always been one of my favorite novels. I always come back to that opening chapter–its a masterpiece.
What are you working on now?
Currently, I'm writing my first novel. It's about my life but it's told in novel form. It's about my childhood and young adulthood dealing with losing family members and always being denied one of my own. I'm also writing a short story about a Salvadorian migrant family, and I'm putting poems into another collection as well. I'm promoting myself and my poetry online a lot; you can follow me on Instagram @emmy_speaks.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I've found the best method to be word-of-mouth. It's slow, but it works. You need to get your work out there to people who will enjoy it and recommend it to their friends and family.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
I think this question is silly because I'M a new author! But as my editor would say: "just DO it!" Whatever that is: write, publish, send, call, write, revise, send, write some more. Don't stop yourself, just do it.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
In January, I read some of my poetry to one of my best friends. She told me to publish, so I did. My editor also tells me to just DO it. Finish a work, submit it to journals, publish, share, write, repeat.
What are you reading now?
I'm reading "Americanah" by Chimamanda Adichi, "Nonviolent Communication", the final Game of Thrones novel, and I'm somewhere in the middle of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I'm embarking on a 6-9 month journey around the world with the purpose of finishing my novel and promoting my work online. And having tons of fun traveling of course!
What is your favorite book of all time?
It's a toss up between 1984 and Tale of Two Cities.
Author Websites and Profiles
Emmanuella Hristova Website
Emmanuella Hristova Amazon Profile
Emmanuella Hristova Author Profile Other Bookseller
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