GirlBoss Featured: Q&A with Kristen Lem, Author of ‘Haiku To Fall In Love To’

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We love supporting amazing Girlbosses, so we are launching a whole new series called GirlBoss Featured, which highlights some incredible, inspiring gals who are just killing the game. And what better way to open up the series than with with our friend, contributor and now author, Kristen Lem. We recently sat down with Kristen to talk about her new book, “Haiku To Fall In Love To”, set to launch in June.

But before we jump into our Q&A, why don’t we introduce Kristen a bit.  

KRISTEN is always surprised when people describe her as quirky because in her brain, where the streets are paved with melted pink peeps and guinea pigs run rampant, she is completely normal.  She’s been writing since childhood, filling notebooks on notebooks, lined and unlined, with lines and lines of who knows what. Before Kristen learned to count numbers, she was counting syllables on her fingers. This behavior eventually turned into haiku, which she won a contest for in the 6th grade.  Kristen continued to write well into adulthood and went on to be published in indie magazine Grunge N’ Art and books such as Beyond Depression:Essays About Feeling Low, Feeling Stuck, and Finding Healing and We Can Hear You: From First Class to Third World.  Kristen is also a contributor on websites Thought CatalogBustleProject Girl CrushModern Chic Mag, and Talk Thirty to MeHaiku to Fall in Love To is her first book of poetry, which she collaborated on with artist Molly Ha.

Now let’s begin the Q&A.

Q&A

First off, congratulations on your first book. Can you give us a snippet at what your new book is about?

Thank you so much! It’s a love story told through a series of haiku poems. There are 17 poems, each with 17 syllables. This the first in a series I’ll be working on.

 

Where did you get the idea to do a collection of haikus? And why love as the focal point?

Gosh, I’ve been counting the sounds of words on my hands before I learned to count numbers. In 6th grade, I learned what a haiku is (5-7-5) and won a poetry contest. Since then, I’ve used its simple form to convey complex emotions … and what is more complex and grand than love?

 

We know writers often grab material from their own lives and incorporate it in their own work, was this the case for you?

Yes for sure! Sometimes I write about myself or friends, and of course I alter reality to make a better story or fit the number of syllables in the poem. The haikus in Haiku to Fall in Love to were inspired by different people and written at different times in my life. I arranged them later to form a story.

 

How long did it take you to write the book?

Almost exactly three years. I started diligently writing haiku daily in May 2014 on my blog haikubebe.com, and the book is now launching in June 2017.

 

What is the most difficult and positive part of your artistic process? Can you walk us through it?

The most difficult part is staying committed to my creativity. Yes, there’s a part of me that “needs to get this stuff out,” but life distracts and pulls me in so many directions that it’s easy to let my writing, artwork, whatever I’m working on fall away. It takes discipline to give myself the time and space to nurture my soul on a regular basis. The best thing by far has been has been the creative energy exchanged between the people I’ve worked with – from Molly (artist), to Natalie (publisher), other poets I’ve met, and so many others. The magic that happens when different people bring their expertise and ideas together for a common cause is indescribable.  

 

Tell us more about your collaboration with artist Molly Ha for your new book?

Molly and I went to high school together and have known each other a very long time. She made me a hand-drawn bookmark once and I carried it around for 15 years, when I ran into her one day at the market. At that time, she was deciding whether to go back to school and pursue a career in the arts. She wound up doing so and we continued to stay in touch. I always knew I wanted my book to be illustrated and tried many times to do it myself, but was never happy with the results. It wasn’t until Molly illustrated a book for a friend’s baby that it clicked and I knew I wanted her for this. She agreed to the collaboration and when I saw her first round of sketches, I knew it was a perfect fit.

 

What period of your life do you feel has influenced and continues to influence you the most in your writing?

I would say my 30s have been a time of deep self-reflection about what I’ve done and where I want life to go. Writing helps me process these thoughts and questions.

 

How did you begin to write? Did you always want to be a published author?

I’ve been writing ever since I can remember. I used to fill notebooks with stories, poems, thoughts, who knows what. And yes, even as a kid I knew I wanted to publish a book someday. It wasn’t until later in my life that I solidified a certain style and felt like I had something to say.

 

Is there an author(s) or book(s) that have had a strong influence on you and your writing?

Dr. Seuss, Shel Silvertein, Rupi Kaur (Milk and Honey), B. Abbott (High Poets Society), Lauren Eden (Of Yesteryear).

 

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers who want to write a book and eventually publish it?

Start. Just start. And don’t stop til it’s done. These days you can self-publish so there is really no reason to let that writing sit in your drawer. The process can feel daunting but it’s so worth it. And honestly the only difference between publishing a book and not publishing is that one of you chose to do it.

 

What would you like the readers to take away from Haiku To Fall In Love To?

In life we will fall in and out of love, become vulnerable, break hearts, and have our hearts broken. It’s so tempting to close off after being hurt. I’d like readers to feel hopeful about love no matter what happens. Maybe even turn their pain into something, or at least a better experience next time and know that love is everywhere in many forms and that there will always be a next time.  


You can follow Kristen on her Blog, haikubebe.com and on her Instagram  @haikubebe. Also check on he blog to find out where you can pick up a copy of “Haiku To Fall In Love To”


  • Kylie Olive Abreu

    I had never heard of a Haiku before. I just looked at her website and I love the little quotes. They are so inspiring. I love this girl boss series. Great Idea

    • Kristen Lem

      Thanks so much for checking out my site – I’m so glad you enjoyed the poems! I’m excited to read more from the Girl Boss series at Modern Chic too (:

  • Robin Rue

    I loved reading this interview. Now I can’t wait to go start reading some of her stuff.

    • Kristen Lem

      So glad you enjoyed the Q&A (: Link to my site is here with my newest stuff: https://haikubebe.com/

  • Jamie Fray

    I absolutely love haiku poetry! This new series you are doing is fantastic–I love that you are supporting amazing women 🙂

    • Kristen Lem

      Yay! Another haiku lover!

  • Vanhishikha Bhargava

    I love haiku poetry. Although I write a lot, haiku was something I could never pic up on. It is so great to see you supporting women in poetry!

    • Kristen Lem

      so glad you love reading haiku! would love to read some of your writing someday as well (:

  • Karyn Locke

    Yes! The art of Haiku has always fascinated me. And the fact that these are all about emotion? Even better.

    • Kristen Lem

      So glad you enjoyed reading them! Thanks Karyn (:

  • Kaylee

    I have always loved reading haiku poetry. I think this series you have is great, I would love to read some of her work.

    • Kristen Lem

      I’m loving the Girl Boss series too and really glad you’re another haiku lover. If you like, I post my latest work here: https://haikubebe.com/

  • Jay Colby

    I’ve always loved reading haiku poetry. I love this series you have!

    • Kristen Lem

      Yes! Another haiku lover – awesome!

  • Haiku poems are definitely some of my favourites, as they sound so lyrical and magical. Thanks so much for sharing this interview, I’ll definitely check the book out!
    Lots of love,
    Marina Rosie xx
    https://marinawriteslife.blogspot.fr/

    • Kristen Lem

      I’m loving your site! And thank you for the kind words – always good to meet another haiku lover. Ther will be more info about the book coming up here: https://haikubebe.com/

  • The Headcase Christian

    You had me at melted pink peeps and guinea pigs. ❤️😂

    • Kristen Lem

      Haha! It’s nice to know there are more of us (;

  • I love it when Girl Bosses are featured and it is amazing that not only did Kristen win a competition with her haikus when she was younger but she has also released a book full of haikus. Good for her x

    • Kristen Lem

      Thanks Ana ! I’m excited to read more from the Girl Boss series as well

  • Jessica Taylor

    This is such a great interview. I have never read any of her work, but I am definitely going to look into it.

    • Kristen Lem

      Thanks Jessica! Let me know what you think (:

  • Glory

    I recently visited Huntsville Alabama and saw Haiku on the steps of Big Spring Park. Absolutely loved. It was written by 8th graders and it totally blew me away.

    • Kristen Lem

      Yea! Haiku is so fun (:

  • I feel like a lot of my problems with being creative stem down to my inability to see a project through. This book sounds like it was a tough commitment!

    • Kristen Lem

      I totally understand! I’m not sure about you but I found that even my unfinished projects were still a work in a progress on the way to other future projects – so none of it is really wasted.

  • I love this, girls supporting girls and bringing on the girl boss power! Also congrats to Kristen on her first book!

    • Kristen Lem

      Thank you so much Freya !

  • Sara Montague Miller

    So interesting! I love haiku. I think I want to go write some after reading this! I love that she is inspired by Shel SIlverstein, too. My photography business is named from a line in one of his poems. 🙂

    • Kristen Lem

      I hope you did write some! Please share if so (: And yeah, long live Shel!

  • I love this interview! I will have to check out her book. Girls rock, that’s for sure.

    • Kristen Lem

      We certainly do! More info on the book coming here: https://haikubebe.com/ And so glad you enjoyed reading the Q&A

  • Such an interesting post. I have loved reading the interview. I want to write a book too so this is super inspiring! I love to read successful women’s stories. xx corinne

    • Kristen Lem

      Best of luck to you on your book ! Please do share the info when it comes out.

  • Anosa Malanga VA

    I have yet to read the book. I seems so interesting to read. Nice interview too.

  • Claudia Krusch

    This is a great interview. I will have to pick up a copy of the book to check out.

    • Kristen Lem

      I would love for you too! It’ll be out in June (just a few days) and more info about it will be here: https://haikubebe.com/book/

  • Alison Rost

    What a wonderful interview! Good for her for the book .. I love haikus and can’t wait to check it out. It’s so great to see all of the ways women are showing off their talents and even better they’re successful!

    • Kristen Lem

      I totally agree! Women are slaaaaying it! Glad you enjoyed reading my Q&A

  • Ophelia Tang

    Great Interview. I love haikus due to its simple structure. May check out the book one day.
    XOXO //SINCERELY OPHELIA | NYC Petite Fashion Blogger

    • Kristen Lem

      I hope you do! Loving your site as well.

  • I liked this concept.The interview is quite interesting..The book also sounds interesting.

  • Maro Akamatra

    That’s a nice interview. And what a dedication for three years! She’s admirable!

  • David Elliott

    I agree with the fact that far too many people do things to prevent themselves from being hurt when they trying to date. They then prevent themselves from being to fall in love unfortunately.

    • Kristen Lem

      It’s SO SO true. I really believe in dating from an abundant mindset – it makes this fearful and less stressful for sure!

  • Sharifah Chikaha

    A big congratulations to her! Three years is quite a while. And yes, we will try to be hopeful about love no matter what 😉

    • Kristen Lem

      Thank you so much Sharifah!!

  • Sondra Barker

    I love this series! What a great way to support fellow ladies! “Haiku to Fall in Love Too” is now added to my summer must read list! Great post!

    http://prettyfitfoodie.com/

    • Kristen Lem

      Yay! I hope you will check it out Sondra. It will be on sale in a couple of days and more info will be here: https://haikubebe.com/book/

  • Anamika Ojha

    Great interview! Kristen Lem sounds dynamic and intelligent woman! Thanks for introducing her to us! I’ll check out her book!

    • Kristen Lem

      Thank you for the kind words Anamika!

  • I have never written a haiku after having it as a requirement in our English subject. I admire people who do and it’s awesome that you got to interview this lovely lady! I think she’s great!

    • Kristen Lem

      Thanks Mai !

  • What a lovely interview. I would look out for the book.

    • Kristen Lem

      Please do Stella! More info will be posted here (and I’m so glad you enjoyed reading my Q&A): https://haikubebe.com/book/

  • lexhan

    good interview, in-depth and good to get to know the person behind alot of successful reads. such a warm and gentle character.

    • Kristen Lem

      Thanks !

  • Megan

    Great interview! I enjoyed the questions you asked. I’m going to look into her book!

    • Kristen Lem

      Thanks Megan! I hope you do!

  • Nicole Cochingco Escat

    I never heard about this but this kind of interview is really great!

  • EG Green

    Great interview! I love the concept of her book and the fact that she has stuck with writing Haiku’s since middle school.

    • Kristen Lem

      So glad you enjoyed it EG!

  • I love the idea of interview series! So helpful!

    • Kristen Lem

      It is! Modern Chic Mac is the best!

  • Rosey Gembe

    Great interview with the author. It reminds me of how I want to start reading again.

    • Kristen Lem

      I hope you will! And glad you enjoyed the Q&A (:

  • I’m super excited about this series! I have never been able to write poetry well, so I am always interested to read what others have written!

    • Kristen Lem

      I’m excited about the series as well and can bet you’re better at poetry than you think (;

  • Cindy Nicoletti

    Great interview. Very interesting book that I will check out.

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