Vintage Sundress with Danny M. Hoey, Jr.

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Vintage Sundress is back with another installment, this time featuring Sundress author Danny M. Hoey, Jr.

Danny wrote his debut novel, The Butterfly Lady, in 2013, and he took some time to speak with intern Lauren Sutherland to touch base on life since his first publication and take an honest look at the struggles of publishing and the literary community.butterfly lady

Sutherland: What has changed for you since The Butterfly Lady was published?

Hoey: Since The Butterfly Lady was published, honestly, I have become a little more anxious. Not because I can’t write or produce, but because I am afraid that what I write next won’t be good enough. I have been invited to a lot of readings/panels; people have taught my book, and I have gotten great feedback about the work. And, every time, the question comes up, “When is the next book?” So, that makes me anxious and nervous and fearful that I can’t write a good enough book again.

Sutherland: Has the publishing of The Butterfly Lady altered your perspective on the literary community?

Hoey: Honestly, I thought more folks in the literary community would be more supportive. I support other artists by reading their books and telling folks publicly that I read their books. I have folks who read my book and tell me in private that they loved it but never say it publicly. That bothers me, and I hate that I feel bad about that.

Sutherland:  Was your rise to publication smooth or a struggle? What obstacles did you face?

Hoey: It was rough—I got a lot of rejections that were “positive” with remarks like, “I like the book, but it’s not for us.”  Also, because of the subject matter, I was fearful of folks not accepting the work. But once it was accepted, things moved smoothly, and the book was received very well. And, I am thankful for that.

Sutherland: What is something worth noting about being published that you would want unpublished writers to know?

Hoey: You must keep going—keep producing, writing, creating—even when the book is out. Because the work must continue.

Sutherland: Have you published other full-length works or chapbooks since being published at Sundress?

Hoey: I have not.  I have had some stories published as well as some academic articles. Also, my book was a feature at a Writing Festival at Broward College in South Florida—all students in the ENC 1101 courses read my book and did various projects/research/responses over the work.

Sutherland: What are you working on now?

Hoey: I have a complete draft of my second novel, and I am in the process of polishing it. I am kind of superstitious, so I don’t want to divulge too much information, but it is about a soul singer and race riots.

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Dr. Danny M. Hoey, Jr., an Associate Professor of English, joined Indian River State College in 2011 as an Assistant Professor of English. He most recently served as the Administrative Director of Minority Affairs and English Department Chair in addition to his professorship. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree and a Master of Arts degree in English and Creative Writing, along with a Master of Arts degree in Africana Studies and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. He actively participates in the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, the Modern Language Association, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. His stories have appeared in WarpLand, Women in REDzine, Mandala Journal, Connotation Press, African Voices Magazine, SnReview, The Writer’s Bloc, and The Hampton University First-Year Writing Textbook. His pedagogical essay, “Dutchman, The Black body, and The Law,” is forthcoming from the Modern Language Association’s Series Approaches to Teaching Amiri Baraka’s Dutchman. The Butterfly Lady, his first novel, won the ForeWord Firsts’ Winter 2013 debut fiction award and the Bronze Award in the IndiFab Book of the Year Award. He is currently at work on his second novel.

Some of Hoey’s work:

“The Watermelon Eating Contest” on Mandala Journal‘s website

“What Do We Do?” on SnReview‘s website

The Butterfly Lady from the Sundress store online

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Lauren Sutherland is a recent graduate of Lee University in Cleveland, TN and proudly has a Bachelor’s degree in English with a writing emphasis and a Deaf Studies minor. Lauren enjoys reading and writing poetry, but her ultimate passion is for editing. She has been interning with Sundress since July and loves getting the opportunity to have a hand in the literary community.

Vintage Sundress with Sandra Marchetti

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Head Shot 1In our first installment of Vintage Sundress, a series which will check in with our authors in a “where are they now” style, intern Lauren Sutherland interviews Sandra Marchetti, author of Confluence, a book of poems published in December 2014. Sandra’s lighthearted dialogue is refreshing to take in, and her joy in sharing her story as an encouragement to others is such a sweet read. We hope you enjoy!

Lauren Sutherland: What has changed for you since Confluence was published?
Sandra Marchetti: Confluence succeeded beyond my wildest dreams, and I am so grateful to the literary community for embracing the book the way they did. This is due in no small part to the commitment of Sundress—saving the day and publishing the book after my first publisher temporarily shuttered—and a lot of hustle and the goodwill of others. The book was reviewed in some of my dream destinations: The Rumpus, Rain Taxi, andThe Kansas City Star to name a few. The book sold almost 500 copies (I believe). I didn’t think that was possible for a poetry book from a small press. I took my book cross country (the South and the Midwest, really) on a reading tour that lasted a whole summer. Confluence was a dream-maker.
Sutherland: Has the publishing of Confluence altered your perspective on the literary community?
Marchetti: One thing I learned was that the literary community is willing to embrace you when you have something new to offer. It’s harder when your latest book-length work is a few years old (for better or worse). That’s natural. It’s the way consumerism works. On the positive side, it taught me that if you’re willing to hustle, assemble a good team behind you, build some connections, folks are willing to give you a chance and invite you into their digital and physical spaces. 
Sutherland: Was your rise to publication smooth or a struggle? What obstacles did you face?
Marchetti: It was a struggle, but maybe it needed to be. Many first books are. The book was my MFA thesis, so I began work on it nearly 8 years before it was published. The book went through many iterations. I sent it to nearly 200 open reading periods/contests before it was accepted anywhere. I had very few encouraging notes from publishers, and the farthest I made it in a contest was as a “quarterfinalist” once.

The privilege I had was some money behind me to keep sending and to go on residencies. Without that, I might have been out of the game. Once the book was accepted, the press stalled, then shuttered (see above) and the book was homeless again. Erin Elizabeth Smith asked to see the manuscript and she took care of the rest, shepherding it into the world. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending to the story.

Sutherland: What is something worth noting about being published that you would want unpublished writers to know?
Marchetti: It’s cyclical. I’m in a down period right now—not publishing as much as in the years immediately before, during, and after Confluence came out. I’m still learning that that’s okay. The biggest thing is to gain trust in yourself. It was a long time before I stopped thinking during a dry spell, “I’ll never get published again,” or “I’ll never write again.” I always do. It takes time to learn that, and publishing does help to boost confidence, for better or worse. My first chapbook publication, The Canopy, in 2012, pushed me to finish Confluence. 
Sutherland: Have you published other full-length works or chapbooks since being published at Sundress?
Marchetti: I have published two chapbooks since Confluence. Heart Radicals, a collaborative chapbook of love poems,and Sight Lines, an e-chap that’s part lyric essay and part poetry. Before Confluence, I probably wouldn’t have pursued either of these projects. Publishing Confluence really opened me up to other kinds of books—collaborations, cross-genre work, publishing a book entirely online—none of these things were projects I saw myself participating in previously. Once I got my “dream” publication, I decided it was time to “play.” 
Sutherland: What are you working on now?
Marchetti: I’ve been drafting two full-length manuscripts since the week after Confluence was first picked up, and they are finally gaining some maturity as projects. Aisle 228 is a book of baseball poems about the Chicago Cubs, going to ballgames with my dad, and listening to baseball on the radio. I’m also working on a book of poems about influence—poetic and environmental—that’s sort of akin to Confluence. The second work is on the back burner right now as I’m starting to send out Aisle 228 to publishers. It’s an exciting time. 
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Sandra Marchetti is the author of Confluence, a full-length collection of poetry from SundressPublications (2015). She is also the author of four chapbooks of poetry and lyric essays, including Heart Radicals (About Editions, 2018), Sight Lines (Speaking of Marvels Press, 2016), A Detail in the Landscape (Eating Dog Press, 2014), and The Canopy (MWC Press, 2012). Sandra’s poetry appears widely in Poet Lore, Blackbird, Ecotone, Southwest Review, River Styx, and elsewhere. Her essays can be found at The Rumpus, Whiskey Island, Mid-American Review, Barrelhouse, Pleiades, and other venues. Sandy earned an MFA in Creative Writing-Poetry from George Mason University and now serves as the Coordinator of Tutoring Services at the College of DuPage in the Chicagoland area.
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Lauren Sutherland is a recent graduate of Lee University in Cleveland, TN and proudly has a Bachelor’s degree in English with a writing emphasis and a Deaf Studies minor. Lauren enjoys reading and writing poetry, but her ultimate passion is for editing. She has been interning with Sundress since July and loves getting the opportunity to have a hand in the literary community.