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Unsettled Feelings: An Interview with Alyssa Gambacorta, author of Lovely Minds

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Born and raised in upstate New York, Alyssa gets deep and personal in her first published poetry collection. These poems cover a range of personal challenges every young adult has experienced through the course of growing up. Although Alyssa is quite vocal and advocates for herself and others today, she was a very shy and reserved child. Alyssa grew up with a love for writing as early as five years old, despite her struggles with dyslexia. Her mom began buying her journals, which encouraged her to write as she began using writing as an outlet to express herself. She found writing has helped her cope with large obstacles in her life: heartbreak, depression, and her 2018 diagnoses of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Alyssa acquired her degree in Event Management from Niagara University and currently works as a wedding planner at Walden in Chicago, IL. She has always had a desire to grow in knowledge and experience. Traveling is one of her many passions, along with romance and murder mystery novels, action movies, and game nights with friends.

You can buy Lovely Minds here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

I gave this book the title Lovely Minds as it relates to every irrational thought, fear, and your own subconscious voice that lingers while you are not alone with yourself. I chose this title because I want to normalize the idea that minds which hold so much sadness, self-judgement, and fear are especially beautiful because they endure every type of pain imaginable and still manage to come out stronger on the other side. The title, like most of my poems, came to me naturally; I wanted it to speak to the content of the book.

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

Seeing my book cover for the first time felt surreal. It was a project I had worked on for three years, some poems revised over and over. I started off with one poem and it transformed into a book. It was an odd feeling knowing that others would be reading about my thoughts and feelings, which felt vulnerable yet exciting.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

This book started at the beginning of Covid. I am someone that does not like to have too much free time as I begin to overthink. During this period of time where a majority of the United States was in quarantine, I was cleaning my room one day and found multiple journals I had written poems in over the years; the poems weren’t great but the story behind them was meaningful—the structure just needed to be changed. During this period of my life I was still dealing with grief from my last relationship. Music has always allowed me to channel those inner feelings, whatever they may be. Listening to what others might classify as “sad songs” helped me get in touch with unsettled feelings and thoughts from my past relationships which in turn created something great!

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

While I have many passions in life, my greatest is hospitality. There are 7 billion people in this world. To be able to connect with someone and have a good conversation, even if it is only for a few seconds—to know that you had a positive impact on their life, to let them know they are seen and heard—is a very powerful thing.

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

The most rewarding part of publishing my book has been the amount of positive outreach I have experienced. Family, friends, old acquaintances, and strangers have reached out to express how the book has influenced them to continue fighting through their struggles and seeking the help they need. The main purpose of this book was to let others know that they are not alone in their struggles. So many are experiencing the same struggles and dealing with the same feelings. There is a comfort in knowing that someone understands what you are going through—it is a level of support and encouragement like nothing else.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

My book contains a soundtrack with the following song suggestions:

1. Peaches by In the Valley Below

2. Hear You Me by Jimmy Eat World

3. I See You by MISSIO

4. Meet Me in The Woods by Lord Huron

5. Love the Way It Hurts by Keith Urban

6. Advice for The Young At Heart by Tears for Fears

7. Great One by Jessie Reyez

8. Somewhere Only We Know by Keane

9. You Get What You Give by New Radicals

10. Slide Away by Miley Cyrus

11. Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

12. Collide by Tiana Major9 & EARTHGANG

13. Heat Waves by Glass Animals

14. Never Tear Us Apart by INXS

15. GROWING UP IS by Ruel

16. Let It Be by The Beatles

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

I am currently working on a second poetry book with similar themes from Lovely Minds!

How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?

I knew from day one that Atmosphere Press was different than other publishing companies. They saw my vision from the beginning and not only supported it but made it a reality. The publishing process was smooth and easy, and with their guidance they made it an enjoyable and stress-free process.

You can buy Lovely Minds here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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