7 Questions With Poet Tel De La Mora

Tel de la Mora has been writing for 30 years but didn’t publish her first book, Ink On Paper until 2017. This book is a collection of most of her earlier work along with some current photographs. Her second project, When Willow Weeps was published in 2018. She is currently working on her third collection, as well as a fiction novel.


Tel de la Mora draws from life experiences as well as current emotions. Every poem is a part of her heart and soul. She also includes many of my photographs throughout the books along with her poems, which she describes as “poetry without words”.


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How does a day in your author life look?



I have 2 very active kids, so most of the time I write at night, especially during the beginning of the writing process. It is the quietest time for me. This is the time when I can let the pen glide across the page (I still hand write my poems til they are in the final stage of editing).


This is also mostly done in the summer. However, during the school year, a change of scenery helps me when I feel stuck or haven’t written lot. I like to go to my local cafe, Something’s Brewing in Grayslake, IL. I will order my usual iced caramelious latte and chicken cesar on a rice wrap.




How do you manage to juggle life and writing?



It’s definitely a balancing act. I have a family and I try to keep the time with them separate from my author life and writing. I keep my author social media separate from my regular social media, even though many will see my family when I do author events and signings; its nice that I only post my writing, photos, etc on its own media.


We make sure that we have family time in the early evening during the week, so that I can focus on them. I get most of my writing done when everyone has gone to bed. On the weekends, it’s more about family, so I don’t get a lot of writing done.


Now with poetry sometimes something might hit me when I least expect it but I always carry a notebook and pen. It also helps that my family are so supportive of my writing. I am very lucky.



What’s your definition of the first draft?



It all starts on papers from notebook and loose leaf paper however, I have been known to use candy wrappers, napkins, and receipts for my writings.


My first draft is when all of my poems are laying randomly over my desk or floor, waiting to be placed in order. I then match up photos to poems or I center the photos in the book and have the poems surround them. I feel that my photos also tell a story, they are my “poetry without words”.




What are some common stereotypes related to the genre(s) you’re writing in?



When I first learned about poetry, I loved how in a short time, you can express so much, but so many of my friends and family wondered “why poetry”. That was the first of many stereotypes I have heard over the years. Another one is “you won’t be famous till you die” or “no one really understands poetry”.  Hearing this just makes me laugh and I keep writing.




Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at the beginning of your journey?



I have been writing poetry for 30 years and I would tell myself to start earlier in my author career and make sure to take more writing courses while I was in college and finish with a degree in English.




What’s the best advice/feedback on writing you’ve ever received?



I have  been going through a very trying and sad time, I was writing some very dark, sad poetry which was turning beautifully, but I had someone that, though they understood why I was writing that way, suggested I needed to try and write poems that share the journey out of the darkness. I was also told early on in my career, that I should write every day, even if its just words.




What’s the best way for authors to approach self-promotion?



Have confidence in your work. When you have that, you will be able to sell your work. Attend Author Events, Book Signings, and maybe do a workshop or book club meeting.


I always write a list of must haves for events and a recap of what I saw or thoughts, and what I need for the next one. I am currently making blank cards for additional purchases, I have bookmarks with my book info, and pencils to pass out. I have also done workshops at the local library and school to promote and teaching poetry.


Follow Tel de la Mora on:


Her Website           Instagram @tel_inkonpaper                 Facebook @tel.inkonpaper


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