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Spinning Verses: An Interview with Tricia Johnson, author of Whirl Away Girl and Sway

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Tricia Johnson is a poet wishing to share her work with others, using the written word to embrace the essence of life. She is a retired teacher. She lives in the beautiful hills of Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. Her published work includes the poem Living with Lupus which appeared in Still You Poems of Illness & Healing, Wolf Ridge Press, 2020, and her debut book of poems, Whirl Away Girl, published by Atmosphere Press in 2021.

You can buy Sway 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?

The title for Whirl Away Girl may have multiple meanings. Is it the inner child happy, twirling in circles, reminding yourself you are still here living—to enjoy life? Is it to whirl and run away from the magnitude of disease? Yes to both of these and possibly more.

The title to Sway lends itself to moving in rhythm with Mother Nature, her seasons, weather’s limitless bounty of secrets. If you have ever watched the treetops sway in the wind or clothes on the line and felt yourself swaying too, in that movement is the meaning to the title.

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

I was absolutely elated seeing the cover both times. Indeed, it is a magical moment; that first touch of the button to download the image—perfection and a 100-watt smile.

The first time holding your book is similarly surreal. You hug it to your chest, smile, and bubble with laughter.

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

I began to write when I became sick. It was needed therapy and a way to healing. Lupus Fog pushed the writing to short segments, which organically led to poetry. Today, a decade in, it is my creative outlet, meditation, and exploration of the infinite possibilities within the written world.

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

The most meaningful part working on my book with Atmosphere Press was being chosen by them to be published. The first email and the first call saying “yes, we would like to work with you.” The positivity and deep insight Nick Courtright saw in my writing has forever stayed with me. He summarized and saw me and my writing style in a way I could not express, which left me amazed and speechless and so very grateful to have found Atmosphere Press.

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

One thing I hope readers take away from Whirl Away Girl is that they are not alone. There are others out there feeling the same things—your feelings are valid. For Sway, my hope is for readers to embrace nature, get outside, feel the sunshine and snowflakes, get lost in nature’s serenity and beauty.

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

Working with Atmosphere Press has been an amazing experience. The staff is upbeat and positive. They are quick to respond and truly heard my voice in all matters. They are a professional team and were a much-needed guide through the publishing process. It has been a wonderful thing in my life to work on two books with Atmosphere Press.

You can buy Sway here.

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.