Poets feel deeply. Maverick Malone, author of Pressed Petals, is a textbook example. However, Maverick Malone is a unique creature. Her poetry is poignant and sincere, and her personality is playful and mischievous. Keep reading to meet this playful, purpose-driven poet for yourself.
Who is Maverick L. Malone?
Excellent question, my dear Watson! I will be sure to let you know once I figure that out. Kidding! (Sort of.) Who are you? is such a loaded question, one that Alice got right in her reply: “I—I hardly know, Sir, just at present—at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.” I will echo this sentiment, in that I am still discovering who that is, this person that cannot be summed up in a few sentences. But in the name of conciseness (and short attention spans), I would say I’m a writer and dreamer, an unearther of life, and someone who very much believes in magic. That’s who Maverick is. Then again, ask me tomorrow. I might tell you something completely different.
Like most poetry, Pressed Petals is deeply personal. There is a lot of hurt mingled with hope and healing throughout. If you don’t mind, tell us what inspired these pieces.
Ah, down the rabbit hole we go! The poems in my book all came from my healing journey that started back in 2020 after my spiritual awakening spurred by quarantine. But it wasn’t until late summer of 2021 that I really opened the door to my shadows and allowed a really huge one to waltz right in: the reality of my crumbling marriage and life as I knew it.
That was a thought that I could never entertain prior to my healing. I had become numb to my own emotions and the sound of my own voice had been covered up by everyone else’s for years, so I didn’t realize that whisper until it turned into a scream. Once I shined a sliver of light on that shadow, she summoned her friends and encouraged me to write about them. This is where the good stuff is—in those dark, unknown places where we never willingly venture. I am quite the opposite now. I look under beds and peer around corners and catch every shadow. Then I cage them in a poem and put them on display. That’s how I turn it all from grief to greatness. Distilled down, it was my own ignored pain that inspired the book and helped me discover my purpose.
Who are your favorite poets and/or non-poetic writers, and what do you appreciate about their work?
Some of my favorite poets are those I first found on Instagram—people like Laura Jean Henebry, Amy Kay, and R.K. Gandhi. Each of them writes with such passion, and each has their own unique style, which is incredibly evocative.
I like visceral poetry—the kind that is like a wild ride to read. I resonate deeply with their work because it makes me feel things, which is what great poetry should do.
As for a favorite writer, that has always been and probably always will be Francesca Lia Block. I can still remember the moment I first found her book Girl Goddess #9 in a bookstore as a teenager. I read the first few pages and was hooked. She has this beautiful way of conjuring magic with her words and her stories, and that is something I strive to do when I write. I infuse every syllable with my own magic. I truly believe that finding her work kickstarted my love affair with words.
Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a routine or do you write when inspired?
Ooh this is one of my favorite questions! I have an incredibly unique process. Typically, I write only when inspiration strikes and usually that is well past midnight. I will often wake up (sometimes multiple times) at odd hours of the night with fragmented phrases in my head. I grab my phone and jot them down in the notepad app. Then in the morning, I look at all of these haphazard, out-of-order lines and rearrange them, adding here and there, and somehow, a poem appears. Half the time, I don’t even know what it’s about until that final line slides into place. There are times when I’ve woken up and immediately channeled whole poems, epic prose pieces, or lengthy passages for my book. I will always lose sleep over poetry. The process is like a surprise party every time—one I didn’t know I was showing up to.
While this happens most often at odd hours, I can be inspired anywhere, any time: eating key lime pie, walking through the woods, or typing emails at work. A single line drops from the sky into my head, and the rest appears like magic. This is the beauty of co-creating with the universe. They feed me lines here and there, and I fill in the holes.
As you wrote your poems, what did you expect to do with them? Was publishing always in the plan?
When I first started writing again back in fall of 2020, it was purely for creative expression and served as a way to process the myriad of feelings I was having. As I continued along that journey, I would often discover inner truths at the end of each poem. Most of the time when I sit down to write, I have no idea what’s going to come out. Then I get to the end of whatever I’ve just written and can reflect on the messages that came through the words. It probably wasn’t until a few months into my divorce process that the revelation dawned on me what I had been doing that whole time—compiling poems for my first book. I felt like that part of my journey needed to be shared, that it would resonate with a lot of people. While I’ve always wanted to publish books, it just took an intense healing journey and a divorce to truly reawaken that dream and vision within me.
How did you find Argyle Fox Publishing, and what made you think we would be a good fit?
I didn’t find Argyle Fox. Argyle Fox found me. The symbolism of the fox is very special to me. The fox is my spirit animal and often appears to guide me or send me some pivotal message. I was scrolling Instagram one day and it randomly popped up as a suggested post. I hadn’t even been looking for a publishing company yet. I was actually still a couple of months away from being at that stage of the process, but I saved the post for later, knowing that you guys were the ones. When I checked out the website and read a little bit more on the background of the company and saw that it was in Tennessee, things just clicked and felt right.
Talk about how you chose illustrator Christopher Fowler and how his illustrations matched your vision.
Initially, I had another illustrator working on the project. While I really liked her stuff, something felt off. Not too long into the process, she voiced concerns that she didn’t feel comfortable working on a book with cursing, so we parted ways. At first, I was wondering what was going to happen with the artwork, but I trusted that the universe had someone better in mind. Soon after, Daniel found Christopher. It took only one drawing of his to realize he was absolutely the one to do the illustrations for the book. I made notes about the various drawings I wanted for specific poems, and he really brought my ideas to life.
Now that Pressed Petals is published, how will you measure whether your book is a success?
What success means to one person can mean something completely different to another. To me, success is just another word for perspective, and in that respect, my success cannot be measured. While book sales and notoriety are great (and things I absolutely want because the more people find me, the more books I can release and the more people I can help), numbers are not what I would use to determine whether my book is “successful.”
The success of this book is not determined by the opinions of others, rankings, or sales. The success of this book is determined by the fact that I wrote it at all. It is a personal success that I had the drive, will, and belief in myself to try in the first place. The success of my book lies in the lives it touches, regardless of how many or how few that might be (though I hope it is the former). If there was even one person that was positively affected or impacted by something I said, is that not success? Bettering the life of someone else? By spreading some modicum of light, love, or connection? Life is just one giant game of Who’s Line Is It Anyway —everything is made up and the points don’t matter. We’re making all this up as we go along, rescripting and improvising on the fly, but no one is keeping score unless we hold a limiting belief that we must. Life is absolutely a game, but it was never meant to be a competition. There are cheat codes, however . . . but that is another book entirely.
Your book was released within the last couple of months. So far, how are sales, and how are you telling people about your book?
Honestly, I haven’t been tracking the sales. I get the reports from the distributor and get excited to see how many have been sold, but the business side of things doesn’t interest me nearly as much as the creative and cathartic process of actually writing the books and seeing them go from words on a screen or on paper to a physical, tangible item—to see my words, thoughts, and stories made manifest. I share on my @mavmalone account on Instagram and rely on reviews, social media, and word of mouth. While I am in the business of books, I hope that the more I put myself out there, the right people will find me as my career expands, that I can attract the right people to work with who have a knack for the business and marketing part because I find that incredibly exhausting and tedious (and often confusing). My creative brain was not built for that. Just give me the pen. I need someone else to do the rest!
What feedback have you received so far on your book?
I have received an outpouring of love and support! It feels so good to hear a kind or encouraging word from a reader that a piece I wrote touched them deeply or resonated in a powerful way. People have told me that the writing is incredibly well done and full of emotion. Many of my friends have told me how proud they are of me for being so vulnerable, honest, and brave to put this much raw truth out into the world—that I am leading by example in divulging this part of my journey. It feels amazing to have people share things like that with me. I feel so much gratitude when others tell me how I have positively impacted their lives through my words, which is just me being me. So when someone gives me positive feedback like that, I feel seen and acknowledged not for what I do, but for who I am. For someone who felt invisible, disconnected, and disregarded for years, something like that means more than I could convey in an interview.
What advice do you wish someone gave you before starting the publishing process?
To not get so caught up in the minutia of every little line or word; that you will read your work 500 times and it still won’t be enough. You will still catch things each time you re-read it, things you want to tweak and change. Maybe that’s just the perfectionist in me, the one that does some intense quality control. I had two editors comb through the book before it landed in Daniel’s inbox, who then edited it just a bit more. Then I edited it again and again. But at some point, you just have to let it go. At some point, you just have to surrender and release it into the wild.
Where can readers find you online?
I’m on Instagram and at www.maverickmalone.com. On my website, I post blog articles, photos, and more content than my Instagram can hold. There’s no shortage of words here! For those interested, I suggest signing up for my newsletter to stay up to date on the latest book news, release dates, and adventures.
Is there anything else the world should know about you or your writing?
Storytelling is my purpose—to first experience the great spectrum of life and then immortalize it all and write. Writing woke me up and rescued me from myself. Writing fostered an allowance for my emotions and welcomed them with open arms. After being numb for years to my own feelings and inner truth, writing came bursting through the door full force with visions and massive dreams. Writing encouraged me to believe. This is just the beginning for me. I have so many songs left to sing, but I will leave you with this one, in the key of me:
I don’t always stay up past my bedtime but when I do, I write poetry
And she feels like
that first sliver of rebellious sun through London clouds
after a rainstorm
on a drab Monday morning
she feels like
the first sip of scalding hazelnut coffee
with a drizzle of cinnamon honey
warming you from the deepest parts
of anatomy you can’t even define
she feels like
brilliant blue smoke plume acrobatics
from the hope in a bottle that does not come with stipulations
of only three wishes
she feels like
running water that doesn’t turn off
wind whipping the body
and the birth of entirely new elements
she feels like
a mixed-up Rubik’s cube
of every part of me put back together
in squares of matched-up colors
she feels like
a painting brought to life
she feels like
the color of sound
she feels like
she feels like