Interview: Laurel Jean, Author of This Will Not Last

Raw and achingly honest, This Will Not Last is a collection of poetry that captures the fluctuating emotions that lace life’s pathway.

Wonder, grief, happiness, and heartache all have their turn to shine in this collection, ultimately bowing to the truth of their transience…and the sturdy realization of God’s unshakeable goodness.

this death
this shedding
of all I’ve known
must come before the rays of sun
burst bright upon my soul
to wake
a seed of what’s to come.

this death
this dying will not last

this, too
this, too
this, too, shall pass.


Interview with Laurel

VH: Hi, Laurel, and welcome to the blog! I’m so excited to have you join me today, and congratulations on the release of This Will Not Last! It’s such a beautiful book of heartfelt poetry.

LJ: Thank you so much, Vanessa! I’m so happy that you liked This Will Not Last, and I’m glad to be here.:)

VH: Tell me a little bit about your writing journey. When did you first start writing?

LJ: I honestly can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. I always had a story in the works! I started my poetry notebook when I was ten – it was a purple spiral-bound notebook that held a few poems about frost, my dad, and not being able to sleep on hot summer nights. Obviously, so profound. XD I thought freestyle poetry was ridiculous and for people who weren’t talented enough to come up with rhymes…until I found myself writing a freestyle poem to emotionally process my great-grandmother’s death when I was thirteen. Eventually I just continued to write more and more freestyle poetry as I kept processing life!  

VH: What’s the hardest part about writing for you?

LJ: When writing fiction, I struggle to share enough details about the surroundings, as the characters’ personalities, backstories, and personal struggles are more important to me than the physical details! When I’m writing poetry, the hardest part is remembering that it’s okay to write poems that are complete flops. Each one is a learning opportunity! Some will make it to the world and some most definitely won’t…and that’s totally okay.:) 

VH: What authors have deeply influenced your writing?

LJ: A few years ago Ernest Hemingway’s concise storytelling in The Old Man and the Sea really revolutionized the way I write. It amazed me to see how much detail and emotion he could pack into one sentence by implication, and I’ve begun to write my poetry and prose that way. Every word must count!

I’m blown away by Charles Dickens’ masterful plotting and the way he weaves so many supposed “loose ends” together in a way that blows your mind. That has definitely influenced the way I’m plotting my novel.

Ruth Bell Graham’s poetic style has also influenced mine. Her poems are so lovely and effortlessly rhythmic. That’s my goal in many of my poems! 

VH: What’s one of your best pieces of advice for an aspiring author?

LJ: Don’t bury yourself in your writing…live your life to the hilt! The story you’re living is the most important one you’ll ever tell, so don’t let it fall victim to your fictional stories. Get out there and build relationships and go on adventures. Ultimately this will make you a better writer, as well! You can study writing craft until you’re blue in the face, but nothing beats raw experience for giving your writing passion and depth. 

VH: What is your favorite part about writing poetry? 

Often I write poetry so I can process heavy emotions and get my thoughts nailed down. It’s just a way for me to create beautiful things out of brokenness! I love the fact that doing what I need and love to do is a way I can share hope and encouragement with others. 

VH: At what point did you realize you wanted to publish? How did you decide to go indie?

LJ: I think I’ve always wanted to publish a novel…but poetry was never really a consideration for me. Actually, when I first started compiling This Will Not Last in the late summer of 2021, I saw it primarily as a low-risk project that I could use to get my feet wet in the indie publishing world. That way if it flopped, it wouldn’t be a big deal because it wasn’t a huge novel! It’s hilarious to me how God really turned that around and showed me that this book would truly bless people…it wouldn’t be just a trial run.

Quite frankly, I decided to go indie because I wanted control! (Imagine that…) I wanted to be able to publish my own way on my own timeline, control what the book looked like and contained, and be in charge of the marketing. I’m so glad I did…the whole process has been an adventure! 

VH: Tell me a little bit about This Will Not Last.

LJ: The picture that comes to mind when I think of This Will Not Last is that of sunlight trickling into a dark room and bouncing off shattered glass, glinting shimmers of light. There’s a lot of pain and brokenness expressed in this collection, but hope shines through in such a gentle and honest way. I’ve heard from a couple of people that they aren’t big on poetry…but they really loved this collection! That makes my heart so happy.

This Will Not Last weighs in at 47 poems, with a couple extra unofficially poked in there.:)

 VH: What was the inspiration behind this book?

LJ: Lots of heartache and hunger for God. I wrote several of these poems in some hard moments as I was trying to grapple with emotional pain and grope for God’s comfort and faithfulness. When I saw several poems with that theme popping up in my collection, I decided to pull them together into This Will Not Last.

VH: What do you hope readers will take away from your writing?

LJ: I hope that it will make readers feel known. That they will realize they aren’t the only ones who feel and hurt so deeply. That the reality of hope in the midst of suffering, made possible because of Christ, will be so very clear to them. That it will remind or show them that God is only a heartcry away, and that He is good. So good. And that because of Him, the suffering of His children will not last. 

VH: What do your upcoming projects look like?

LJ: Currently I’m in the early stages of writing a dual timeline novel and a collection of flash fiction. I’m still writing poetry like crazy…so another poetry collection will be coming someday down the road! We’ll see what happens.:)

VH: Thanks so much for chatting with me today, Laurel, and congrats again! 


About the Author

Laurel Jean is a farm girl, poet, coffee connoisseur, and disciple of Christ.

Her idea of a good time depends on her mood… but may include any or all of the following activities: reading classics, chatting with friends and family, listening to and making music, whipping insane amounts of mashed potatoes, and writing down anything worth remembering.

Goodreads

Website

7 thoughts on “Interview: Laurel Jean, Author of This Will Not Last

  1. “Don’t bury yourself in your writing…live your life to the hilt!” YES. That advice is amazing – so often us writers forget to live, lost in our own fictional worlds. Incredible interview!! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

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