Thursday, December 9, 2010

Writers Talk with Tess Kincaid (aka "Willow")

Tess Kincaid aka “Willow” is a self-proclaimed magpie, poet, Hoosier by birth, who lives in small town Ohio at Willow Manor, a ramshackle limestone house on the banks of the Scioto River, with her husband and resident ghosts. She stumbled into the blogosphere on a whim one gray February day and her life hasn’t been the same since.  Feel free to stop by and pay her a visit at Life at Willow Manor.  

I'd just like to add that if you want to put together a successful blog, Life at Willow Manor would be a great model to use.  Tess has assembled a blog that is always diverting to read & is always a visual pleasure as well.  I had the pleasure of meeting Tess last spring during a cross-country road trip, & I must say that the good spirit found in her blog presentation is also abundantly there when you meet her in person.  Finally, please don't forget to check out the Writers Talk blog, where you'll find a set of three poems by Ms Kincaid!

When did you first realize your identity as a writer?

Poetry has always been an integral part of me.  My earliest memories are of my grandmother reading the delightful Hoosier poet, James Whitcomb Riley.  As a precocious colt-legged girl, I adored memorizing little pieces for “show and tell”.  Fascinated with the rhythm and textures of words, I read poetry aloud to a captive audience, my youngest sister and her stuffed animals.  It became a delicious habit, which I imposed on my closest friends, and later, my husband and children.  It wasn’t until a year or so ago, waking up one day in an empty nest, that I began to write my own poetic tools of torture. Only in recent months has it occurred to me, that I am, indeed, a poet; a curious, sadistic notion.

Describe your creative process.

I am a collector, a magpie at heart.  I keep several notebooks handy to jot down words and phrases that tickle my fancy.  Sometimes an entire poem will come to me in that wonderful semi-lucent space, just before waking, and other times the process is like digging a trench.  Most of my inspiration comes from my macro views of the mundane.

Could you describe your relationship to the publishing process?

Since I am a fairly new writer, I am currently sending my first chapbook manuscript out for publication, a process which I’ve found is not for the faint of heart.  It is, however, a huge encouragement to know hundreds are currently reading my poetry posted via my blog, Life at Willow Manor.

How has being a writer affected your relationships?

My husband and adult children have been my personal cheerleaders, but many of my friends and extended family don’t really “get” me, as a poet. I’ve learned to skirt the subject, if I throw out the word “poetry” and it lands like a dead fish on the coffee table.

How would you describe the community of writers you belong to?

It’s exciting to be part of a virtual “Bloomsbury” community of talented poets and writers. The immediate feedback and rapport is tremendously supportive. Last February, I started a creative writing group blog, Magpie Tales, which has been the impetus for much of my writing. 

What are your future goals in terms of writing?

My current goal is to procure a publisher for my poetry.  I also have a rough outline for an autobiographical novel, actually more biography than novel, since truth is often stranger than fiction.

Bonus question:  If your writing were a musical instrument, what would it be?

A button accordion, since my writing is small and quirky.


  1. Thank you, John! I'm very honored to be included in this series. xx

  2. Tess-great interview!! John-great blogs!!

  3. Terrific interview with Tess! Oh, I can so relate to that dead fish on the table!

    Tess, I wish you great success with the publishers. I know someone is bound to see that your work deserves to be snapped up!


  4. Delightful interview. Thanks to both of you!

  5. Hi Tess, C.M., Kat & Annell

    Tess: The pleasure is mine! You did a great job with this.

    C.M.: Thanks! & thanks for following Writers Talk.

    Kat: So glad you liked it. I join you in wishing Tess good luck in the wild & wooly publishing world.

    Annell: Thank you!

  6. Wonderful interview with Ms. Willow! Thank you!

  7. Wonderful interview with Ms. Willow! Thank you!

  8. thoroughly enjoyable - thanks john and thanks willow for adding so much beauty and enjoyment to our world! your poetry is pure pleasure

    button accordion - LOVE IT!

  9. Interesting how you enjoyed poetry from young and read them aloud- a wonderful sign that you loved words,their cadence, and emotional power.

  10. Hi Angela, Mouse & Paul

    Angela: So glad you liked it!

    Mouse: Thanks so much!

    Paul: Glad you enjoyed the interview!

  11. I'm a big Tess/Willow fan. Was captivated the first time I visited her blog and read her profile on the side. It was how I would love to be able to describe myself, you know if I was a great poet like she. Enjoyed your post.

  12. Thanks, everyone, for your good wishes in the wild and woolly world of publishing. I'm giving it my best shot.

  13. Kudos, John, for you seem to have
    captured the hoosier essence
    of this comely buckeye babe,
    and have given we, her ardent
    fans and followers, a peek into
    the person who has the humor
    of Erma Bombeck, and writes
    like a titan. You might join
    the ranks of we magpies during
    one of the weekly challenges.
    It is incredible how every week
    Tess garners over a hundred
    entries and responses, and has
    done so for 44 weeks, putting
    together, literally, a weekly

  14. Great interview, John! I am a big "Willow" fan. This is my first visit to your blog, but I will defintely be back!

  15. Thanks for this wonderful interview with one of the most beloved bloggers out there. I just signed up to follow your Writers Talk blog, John. As Rahsaan would say, bright moments!

  16. Somewhere, somehow, I found Willow and have been completely enthralled...look forward to her twists of mind every day. Because of her, I have found your blog and I am thoroughly enjoying it also..Like the interview aspect. I look forward to reading more of you!

  17. Wonderful interview! Best of luck with the chapbook!

  18. Hi Jeanette, Tess, Glenn, LadyCat, Lorenzo, Kim & Vicki!

    Jeanette: Willow is a great blogger & a wonderfully supportive person too!

    Tess: :)

    Glenn: Thanks! & thanks for the invite. We shall see.

    LadyCat: Thanks so much! Yes, do drop in!

    Lorenzo: Thanks for following Writers Talk, & so glad you enjoyed the interview!

    Kim: Thanks--glad you enjoyed this feature. It runs most Thursdays & is currently booked thru January!

    Vicki: Thanks for stopping by, & I join you in wishing Tess luck.

  19. Very good to hear Tess playing away from home! How I relate to the 'dead fish on the coffee table' situation. And how fortunate we all are to have this community within which all the important stuff that has little or no currency in the 3-D world can be shared. So thanks, John, for having Tess over at yours!

  20. The 'dead fish on the coffee table' - know all about that!

    This is wonderful. Congratulations to both of you.

  21. Excellent interview, good solid questions of interest to any writer, and Tess, as always, well-worth listening to on any subject. Great way to discover the place.

  22. Hi Dick, Bee & Hedgewitch

    Dick: Thanks for stopping by--it's my pleasure to host these interviews--your turn is coming soon!

    Bee: The dead fish comment seems to be a winner! Thanks for stopping by.

    Hedgewitch: So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks!

  23. I enjoyed this interview, from the button accordion to the poet's captive audience :) (I start with the music instrument question first; I love the answers people give to it.)

  24. Hi HKatz: So glad you enjoyed it! Funny--I usually read the musical instrument question first when folks send the interview to me!

  25. What a delightful interview- the spirit of Willow comes through beautifully through to the bonus question and makes you want to read everything she wrote and writes.



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