Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Interview with "Dancing With The Pen II" Contributor Hope Bolinger

Today we continue our Dancing With The Pen II blog tour with an interview with young writer Hope Bolinger, whose poem "Her Eyes Breathe Life" is featured in the book. Order a personalized copy of Dancing With The Pen II: a collection of today's youth writing here or on Amazon here.

What would you like readers to know about you as an introduction? 

I am a nineteen year old sophomore at Taylor University. I major in Professional Writing and Philosophy. I am from Hudson, Ohio. When I'm not writing or going crazy, I like to sing in choir, do theater, copyedit our school newspaper, and play tennis. I am a Shakespeare nerd and have read every one of his plays.

Describe your piece or pieces that were published in Dancing With The Pen II

Dancing With The Pen published my poem "A Paragon of the 21st Century." The poem describes my mother through uses of sensory imagery. The line "her eyes breathe life" repeats several times, indicating even the breaths I take I owe to my mom. I got the idea for the piece from a Carol Shields quote. She states, “Write the book you want to read.” I altered it slightly to declare, “Write the poem you want to read.” I wanted to read a poem about mothers which engages all of the senses. My writing process most often begins with a little spark that ignites in my mind. No matter what I do, I can’t stop thinking about it. The idea can take the form of a psychological situation or a character with an odd quirk. No matter what shape it encompasses, I must, must, must write. Writer Bob Hostetler would describe me as a “pants-er,” or I ride by the seat of my pants when I write. I often let the characters take me where they want to go. I let them speak their mind for the first draft. Then, my editor speaks even louder for the next draft.

Have you been writing for a long time? What do you like about writing? 

I have written for nearly as long as I could read. In first grade, I would write three to four page stories. In middle school, I experimented with stage plays and had one I wrote performed during my eighth grade year. During my sophomore year of high school, however, I decided to tackle a different kind of giant. My close friend wrote novels, and I would often exclaim, “How in the world can you sit down and write 300-some pages? I don’t have that kind of patience!” The next week, I started my first novel.

To answer the second question requires words that do not exist. I like writing because it helps me explore realms I could never encounter. Words place me in the shoes of characters quite unlike myself. Writing gives me a chance to mold sentences with my hands and swirl bits of the unknown between my fingertips. Most of all, I like writing because I need it almost as much as I need to breathe.

What does it mean to you to have your piece included in this book? 

To have my piece included in this book means I get the honor of joining hands with brilliant wordsmiths. Getting in the news certainly thrilled me, and as my Professional writing professor states, “[I] have been bitten by the writing bug.” The chance to take part in a Dancing With The Pen book gives me the verve to keep writing. I don’t recall doing anything to celebrate, but I do remember the poem evoked tears from my mother. She wrapped me in a hug when she read Dancing With The Pen had published it.

Do you have any advice for other writers, or for other young people going after their dreams? 

Never, never, never quit writing. Even if you receive a thousand rejection slips, defiantly force your fingertips onto that keyboard and type. Harper Lee in To Kill a Mockingbird states, “Real courage is when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” Do not deprive the world of your words. They are your words. No one can tell your story quite like you.

Can you share a few of your favorite books or authors? 

Anything by Shakespeare (The Comedy of Errors is my favorite), The Great Gatsby, The Book Thief, and Redeeming Love.

What inspires you? 

People often inspire me. Those who use their weaknesses as strengths or those who laugh in the face of fire. I also owe a thanks to my Lord and Savior Jesus for the ability to write. He is the ultimate Author, and I am grateful He has given me the skills to craft words.

What are you working on now? What’s next? 

Currently, I am editing my latest novel, Lukewarm. In one sentence: In a dream, an indecisive teenager must decide which of his friends lives and which one dies. I also have two other books and a play I plan to write when I finish editing. I want to do a nonfiction piece on ancient philosophers and a contemporary retelling of the book of Daniel. The play will feature the psychological phenomenon known as the chameleon effect.

Anything else you’d like to add? 

Thank you for this opportunity, and I look forward to seeing what the young generations of writers create! For more information visit:


Hope Bolinger has had her work published in two anthologies for Creative Communications and also participates in theater, choir, the school newspaper, and tennis.


Order Dancing With The Pen I & Dancing With The Pen II directly (personalized copies available!) or via Amazon.

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