Interview: Stephanie Harper
Can you start by telling the readers a little about yourself?
I am a Colorado native and I received my Bachelor’s in English from the University of Colorado in 2009. I went on to complete my Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Fairfield University in 2012.
My debut poetry collection, Sermon Series, was published September 2017 with Finishing Line Press. My work can also be found in The Huffington Post, HelloGiggles, HerStories, Matador Review, Poetry Quarterly, Midwest Literary Magazine, Haiku Journal, and Spry Literary Journal.
I currently live in Littleton, Colorado and work as a freelance writer and editor. I travel anywhere I can. I try to read anything and everything. I occasionally dogsit.
You just published a poetry book. Can you talk a little bit about what inspired the poems in the book?
The poems in this collection were all directly inspired by sermons and worship experiences at Abiding Hope Church in Littleton, Colorado. While the poems in this collection are meant to be universally spiritual in nature and do not conspire to adhere to a particular religious tradition, they are thematically arranged to pay homage to the Lutheran liturgical calendar, beginning with the season of Advent.
You are a pretty widely published author. What drew you to writing as a career path?
I’ve always been a storyteller and I think I always knew that writing would be a part of my life. It was a major leap of faith to decide to pursue writing and editing as a full time career but it was something I needed to do for myself, for my health, for so many reasons. It’s been the best decision I could have made.
What is something you've learned from writing?
More than anything, I learned to let go of my fear of failure. I am creating a life for myself where my passion continues to be a central and essential part. This is wonderful and scary all at the same time. Part of writing is about skill, and about wanting to do it. But the other part comes from sweat: From putting in the work, from sitting down and doing it, even when you’re not sure what will be at the other end of that paragraph. Sitting down and just putting pen to paper can sometimes be the hardest thing. I am learning a lot about balance and mindfulness.
We are never really done growing up. What do you hope to do in the future?
My short-term goal is to see one of my fiction novels published. It’s been a slog but it will happen. In the long term, I want to keep writing constantly and broadly and continue finding ways to make my writing self-sustaining.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
The thought that every day is a new day, so full of possibility.
Do you have advice for girls growing up today?
Do what you want. It’s so hard figuring out who you are and where you fit into this world that you don’t need to listen to all those outside voices whispering in your ear. Listen to the voice at the center of yourself, pay attention to what makes your heart beat a little faster, and find a way to make this an essential part of your life.
Do you have any female figures that you look up to?
My biggest role model is my mom. She's taught me a lot about love, compassion, sacrifice, patience, and family and she's still teaching me every day. She's a rock, the firmest foundation that holds our family together and props us up, and we really don't make it easy sometimes. Really, I’ve been blessed with many amazing women in my life who show me what love and grace look like every day.
Why do you think it is important to tell our stories?
Storytelling helps us build relationships with one another and understand the world around us.
What is something in life that you are most proud of?
I am proud of how far I’ve come in the last five years. I’ve battled chronic pain and illness, and may other setbacks, to create a life for myself and find joy in living. It’s a daily struggle but it’s a battle worth fighting.
What is your life motto?
“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.” - Rumi
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