Petra Whiteley

what is your name?

Petra Whiteley

how would you describe what you do?
I write poetry, flash fiction, fiction, and engage in journalism – I’m a regular writer for couple of webzines and write articles on left wing politics and current events, and also on literature movements and history of literature, particular poets and writers, and also music journalism – I write CD/Singles reviews and interview musicians for Reflections of Darkness, which covers spectrum of music from Goth, Electro, ambient, Heavy Metal and its sub-genres, various combinations of of Rock, Punk, Folk to EBM.

what are you currently working on?
I’m working on a lot of material for Reflections of Darkness, be it reviews or interviews, creatively I’m focused on poetic series. I have a novel on a go, but have very little time left for it.

what has had the greatest influence on your work?
I have always loved books, ever since I was a child I’ve devoured them. I am inspired by many great poets and writers, i.e. Sylvia Plath, T.S. Eliot, Czeslaw Milosz, Marina Tsvetaeva, Georg Trakl, Alburt Camus, Franz Kafka, William Styron, Anna Kavan, Dostoyevsky, Gogol, Margaret Atwood and many others. Music is another great passion of mine. Although I’ve been trained in music during my childhood, I don’t play music actively, but I am an enthusiastic music listener – of many genres, I’d say it equals my passion for writing very much and I get a lot out of inspiration for it. I always have music playing on when writing and musicality in language is an important factor for me. Paintings are yet another influence – Goya being the main one.

what is the greatest misconception about you or your work?
The criticism I’ve encountered from some is that it’s abstract and not easily accessible. I personally love challenge on all levels and work that doesn’t demand more of me and/or doesn’t engage my imagination, work that doesn’t stretch my horizon is simply not my cup of tea, but some people enjoy work that they can get instantly. Sometimes the criticism is that it’s too dark, on the other hand these are qualities that other readers enjoy. No one can please anyone and those who try lose their authenticity, not to mention if they have to do something that they don’t enjoy even their heart.

what do you see as the main strengths and weaknesses of the medium you work in?
Strengths are the larger possibilities for the writer in terms of the greater visibility and connectivity of work with readership. The mainstream publishing is right now very cautious and with Independent press there’s a lot of promotion left to do for the writer, I am quite introverted and doing that part of it doesn’t come to me naturally. I’d love to have an agent, but I end up writing rather than looking for one.

how has technology impacted upon the work you do?
I have recently released a book on Kindle – as well as having two books in print via independent press. I think most people of my generation prefer the physical feeling of the book, so it’s something I had to get my head around as well, but I believe that it’s the future of writing medium just as it has become for music.  Of course publishing online means a possibility of an instant feedback. In the past, you could get this immediacy only if you did public reading, if you released a book or poem, you’d have a vacuum before the reviews, readers’ letters came in. Where the new technology impacted me is that I can listen to music when I’m working or researching without having to get up and change CDs!

what’s the greatest piece of advice you would like to pass on?
Don’t follow anybody, be yourself, be passionate because each moment counts, live life to the full!

where can we find you online?!/petra.whiteley

what are you reading at the moment?
I usually read several books at a time, Selected poetry by T.S. Eliot and Czeslaw Milosz, The Brontës by Juliet Barker.

what are you listening to at the moment?
CDs I have for reviews, Kalt at the moment, in leisure I’ve been listening to Diary of Dreams, Karnivool, Metallica and I’m usually listening to classical music when I’m cooking or doing housework.

anything else we should know?
I might be writing some less in three months time as I am going to have my son that I’m presently expecting and I’m sure that’ll keep me busy, though writing is something of a biological necessity, so will not abandon it completely.

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