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An Interview with Tinamarie Cox, Author of Self-Destruction in Small Doses

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Tinamarie Cox lives in Arizona with her husband, two children, and their one-eyed cat. Her written and visual work has appeared in numerous publications in a variety of genres. Her first poetry collection, Self-Destruction in Small Doses, was published with Bottlecap Press in 2023. She is currently working on more poetry collections as well as her first fiction novel. You can find more of her work at

You can buy Self-Destruction in Small Doses here.

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

I think I was born to write. I wrote my first “book” in the first grade using a recycled composition notebook from my schoolwork (I still prefer these notebooks for writing!). I remember the story (lovingly called “I am Me”) didn’t make much sense to my readers, however, I was still proud of my accomplishment. Life got in the way during adulthood, but writing continued to call to me. While I hadn’t completely given up on creative writing, I also didn’t start writing again in a more serious fashion until a few years ago. Which goes to show you that it doesn’t matter how old you are when you start!

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

I’ve worked a lot of different jobs, mostly in the retail field. My longest employment was with Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and I’ve had many interesting experiences there that may or may not have been utilized in my writing. I think everything I’ve done in life has enriched my work. Especially, being a mother. Parenthood has been the best and sometimes the worst “job” I’ve had. What a rollercoaster it is. Motherhood has been a wonderful evolution for me as a person and a writer.

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

I was fortunate enough to have a say in my cover development. And it was thrilling to see the finalized version. There was a genuine “this is really happening” moment for me. When I held a copy in my hands for the first time, it was surreal. A publisher actually put MY words on paper and readers will be able to have a piece of me in their collections. I feel as though every copy of my work is a little piece of me, spreading across the country like seed.

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

You can find the SelfDestructionInSmallDoses playlist by tinamariethinkstoomuch on Spotify! I created this playlist as a reaction to a beta reader’s comment about my chapbook. Someone close to me said, “I think maybe you’re listening to too much metal.” And that made me think about what my music-mood had been while composing this poetry collection. There was definitely a lot of influence and inspiration from bands such as Currents, Polaris, Fit For A King, I Prevail, Asking Alexandria, Miss May I, and Bullet For My Valentine. These and others are on that playlist. I realize that metalcore music isn’t for everyone, but I’m also not a generic-radio-listening type either. So this playlist is authentic to me and this poetry collection. If you’re into heavy and melodic riffs/ hardcore elements mixed with metal/ sung choruses and gritty verses, then check it out. I won’t take any offense to those turned off by the types of music I love.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

The number one thing I want readers to take away from Self-Destruction in Small Doses is that they are not alone in this world. Mental Health struggles are nothing to be ashamed of, and they look and feel different for everyone. And just because there are differences and variations, doesn’t mean each one isn’t a valid experience. One experience is not better or worse than another. Emotions make us human. There are no good or bad emotions that a person can have. Every emotion is our soul sending us a message. How we choose to act upon those feelings is up to us and our responsibility, but ignoring our feelings should never be an option. I want readers to take an emotional journey with me through my poetry. I want them to pick out the parts that resonate with them on a personal level. I invite them to use my poetry to explore their own psyche.

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

I have two full-length poetry collections currently being queried, and a third that is already in development. All three manuscripts rely on the authentic and emotional elements typical of my writing. I am also in the process of editing a literary fiction novel manuscript which also deals with topics similar to my poetry. I think I am more nervous and have more anxiety over querying my fiction because it’s such a different type of storytelling than poetry. Also, I am a recovering perfectionist. Nevertheless, I hope to begin querying that manuscript within the next few months. Expect many more things from me!

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

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Atmosphere Press is a selective hybrid publisher founded in 2015 on the principles of Honesty, Transparency, Professionalism, Kindness, and Making Your Book Awesome. Our books have won dozens of awards and sold tens of thousands of copies. If you’re interested in learning more, or seeking publication for your own work, please explore the links below.