Today we travel to Cambridge, UK to chat with Nikki Marrone about how Grandia, being an adventurer, chocolate, jumping off the Stratosphere, living in a teepee, the Sahara Desert, being seen and understood, an otter, a sombrero wearing penguin, and a wandering poet come together as part of Nikki’s past and current life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hello! My name is Nikki and I’m a poet/writer/photographer. I’m from Cambridge, UK, where I have a love/hate relationship with the city depending on the season. When I was a kid, I fell in love with a game called Grandia, decided I wanted to be an adventurer and never grew out of that idea. I feel lost if I’m not creating something and feel everything too much and too deeply – so that’s probably why I’m a poet. I love chocolate and will always tell you to eat more cake.
List 3 interesting facts about yourself.
1. I have jumped off a building. It was the stratosphere in Las Vegas
2. I’ve been lucky enough to spend the night sleeping under the stars in the Sahara Desert
3. I spent 3 months living in a tepee in an “international intentional community” in Germany
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?
Like most writers I started my love of writing from a love of reading. I spent all my time living in stories as a child. I take the book I’m reading, create a character for myself and in my head I go and experience my own adventures within that world. From there, I started creating my own worlds and writing them down. As for poetry, it became the best way to express myself and I use it to figure out myself and the world around me.
The first time I performed in front of an audience, I read a poem about my mental health struggles and afterwards a mother came up to me crying and told me that her daughter was experiencing the same thing and how much it meant for me to share my story. When I connect with someone’s art it has this immense power of being seen and understood, when I realised, I could give someone that moment it inspired me to keep going.
What would you choose as your spirit animal, and why?
My spirit animal is definitely an otter. I love to cuddle and definitely see life as a playground. I have fought hard to stay connected to my inner child. However, I also come back to the phoenix over and over in life. I’ve been through hell and resilience is a strength of mine. Can I create a phoenix otter? An otter who carries the raven’s feather and turns into a phoenix? I’ll stop now.
What does your ideal writing space look like?
Once upon a time this would have been my favourite coffee shop but now, I have a toddler…So, I guess my ideal writing space now would be anywhere outside. I’ve travelled a lot and have probably written my best poems next to the ocean or up a mountain.
What are you currently reading?
I’ve just started the Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski. I’m halfway through The Last Wish.
What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?
Too much. Firstly, I’m a mother so I spend a lot of time with my daughter. I’m also studying for my master’s degree and helping run an indie publisher called ‘Point Positive Publishing’ and an arts collective called ‘Colliding Lines’. Occasionally I sleep or play video games.
A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?
“Que es Queso? Queso es que?” *
He’s probably there because by the laws of attraction I have manifested him by sending too many penguin memes online…I hope he brings cheese. Imagine, a philosophical penguin gifting cheese. Más queso por favor, señor pingüino!
*This is a terrible inside joke between a Spanish friend and me. I realised you could kind of make a palindrome out of it and because Spanish is not my first language it works and is fun to say.
Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?
I’m not sure I believe things happen for a reason all the time, but I definitely believe that what you put out into the world you get back. That everything is happening in the way it’s supposed to, although it might not feel good at the time. I also think that the forces in nature or whatever you want to call it will always give you an opportunity to change direction in life or teach you something if you’re open to it.
In my experience it’s awfully hard to stay stagnant and stand still. I believe this because I’ve been challenged my entire life and had to overcome a lot, I’ve lived many different lifetimes already. For example, I’ve been an almost homeless struggling teenager, a student in Canada, a wandering poet in America, a single mother in England – the list goes on and on. If you survive it, you learn something at some point from it in the future.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on two things.
My first full length collection of poetry titled ‘Burning Through the Bloodline’ which is an exploration of shared familial trauma and a testament to resilience and motherhood. This is almost finished and I’m looking for a publisher.
An interactive poetry box set called ‘Witches Brew’ which will be released in 2021.
How many published books do you have?
Currently I have 4 books published. Two poetry pamphlets ‘Lost & Found’ and ‘Psychogenic Fugue.’ A photographic novel ‘Honey & Lemon’ and a non-fiction peer support guide on breastfeeding.
Tell us about your most recent book.
My most recent book is ‘Psychogenic Fugue.’ It’s a collection of poetry and spoken word pieces that were born from my adolescent years spent aimlessly wandering and looking for a home. There are poems about identity, community, mental health, bisexuality, love, and loss.
It was wonderful to learn more about you, your background, and writing style. Thank you for being a part of MTA. All the best to you, Nikki!! – Camilla
Where to find the book:
Online at amazon, waterstones, target or WHsmith.
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