Name: Celina Vega
Hometown: Oak Lawn
Dream Career: Poetry/Arts Workshop Coordinator
HC: How does it feel to be a published author?
CV: It feels amazing to have my expression be liberated into a piece of art such as poetry and creating it into books. I’ve been writing since I was 11 years old, so I’ve been writing for over ten years now since I just turned 22. Having my expression liberated into poetry is the best thing that has ever happened to me and is my passion.
HC: What are the titles of your two published books?
CV: My first book is titled “Paradox” and my second book is titled “The Journey”
HC: What are your books about, and what inspired you to write them?
CV: My books are about life, love, existence and overcoming obstacles. What inspired me to write “Paradox” was being eleven years old and just the phase of growing up and learning about things in the span of ten years. I have some poetry in “Paradox” that I wrote when I was eleven and most I have written when I was a teenager. “The Journey” was written in the span of one year. I wrote it when I was 20-21 years old. I decided to have it published because I want others to know that there is someone out there that can relate to their experiences. I could be on the train headed to class and have my phone’s notepad on me and just write a poem on my phone, and I also keep a notebook and just randomly write poems when they come to mind. I could never sit down and write a poem, the creativity comes to me organically which is why I believe my poetry to be very raw and relatable to other’s emotions and experiences.
HC: Which of your poetry novels are your favorite?
CV: I honestly can’t choose favorites. They were both written in different times in my life and they both have such raw meanings towards them that I’ve liberated from myself that I can’t have a favorite. Choosing a favorite would be like trying to choose which emotion of mine is my favorite and you can’t have happiness without sadness, and you can’t have love without happiness. My favorite author is Edgar Allen Poe. When I was first introduced to his stories I was actually nineteen years old. I read his horror stories, and I believe they have such imagery and poetic prose to them that lead me to be incapable of putting down his collection of stories and poems. I believe I get my inspiration from his writing style because he writes poetically and loves horror and I believe he was underestimated during the time he was alive because today he is one of the most influential writers of our century. I actually have been very inspired by his captivating stories that I am also working on a horror story book written in the voice of poetry. Most stories are told in couplets and all rhyme. I also am writing a third poetry book as well, so I’m actually working on two books at the moment.
HC: Where can people find your book online? How much does it cost?
CV: You can find “Paradox” and “The Journey” on Amazon.com, and they both cost less than $10. If you purchase “Paradox”, 100% of proceeds goes to different charity organizations, and right now for “The Journey” 50% of proceeds goes to different charity organizations.
HC: Are you published through a publishing house or self-published? How does that work?
CV: I am a self-published author. I decided to self-publish instead of being published by a publishing house because I receive more control over my books. I am able to give percentages of my proceeds to charity. I only advise to self-publish if you know how to market yourself. I market my books through my blog on Tumblr and have other famous bloggers, who have over one million followers, blog about my book as well. I also have an Instagram account for my poetry in which I promote my books.
HC: An article was written about you and published in the UIC Newspaper, how does that feel?
CV: It was very exciting getting to see myself on the UIC Newspaper! I was published twice on their UIC News website and told me my story was trending on LinkedIn the first time they published it online which is why I got published twice, and then published on the physical copy of the News. I was so excited. I grabbed a few copies and gave them to family members and my boyfriend even framed it for me as a present which was really nice. Here's the link to the article.
HC: You talked about your first published book in the Her Campus Her Story feature article last spring. How does it feel to come back as a campus celeb and promote your new book?
CV: It feels amazing! Her Campus was the first News website I was ever featured in and I am very grateful in getting the chance to come back and promote my second book “The Journey”. I am very grateful in being involved a few times in News for UIC websites this semester and am looking forward to seeing where the future leads me.
HC: This is random, but, I saw a flier for your book that included an excerpt in the women’s bathroom in SCE. What inspired you to self-promote your new book in this way?
CV: I decided to self-promote my book in UIC by leaving flyers around the school in order to get my voice heard. Since I am a self-published author I have to market myself since I don’t have a publicist or publishing house to do it for me and love having the control of coming up with new ideas on how I can get my voice heard.
HC: What are your plans with creative writing? Do you plan to go to grad school to perfect your craft, or continue self-publishing?
CV: I am going to go to grad school for English in concentration of American Literature or Creative Writing to try and perfect my art. I am also going to keep on self-publishing and hopefully soon come out of my shell to finally start my own poetry workshops in order to do a local Chicago tour for workshops and hopefully expand to national workshops.
HC: What publisher would you love to work under?
CV: I haven’t really thought about any publishing companies since I decided I would be a self-published author since the beginning of writing. I do know of Andrews McMeel Publishing and believe that their publishing house is something I would consider working under since they do have some popular poets published with them.
HC: Have you reached out to any publishing houses or editors?
CV: No I have not.
HC: When is the next time you think you will publish a new poetry book?
CV: I will have a new poetry book published hopefully by the beginning of 2016. I will actually have two poetry books coming out. One will be a regular poetry book similar to both “Paradox” and “The Journey” and the second book I am working on will be horror stories told through the voice of poetry. Also, I remember you asked me if I was in any clubs at school and I wasn’t my first semester but this semester I am. I’m in the club called Healing Arts, and what we do is set up creative workshops for students ranging from 7-14 years old. The workshops include poetry, theater, painting, etc. I really enjoy being more involved in UIC especially in this club because last week I got to teach a poetry workshop and loved the fact that I can help people find their own inner creativity and liberate it and is also helping me get out of my shell in order for me to be able to create my own poetry workshops in the future.
HC: Thank you so much for allowing us to bring you back as this week’s campus celeb. We wish you the best on all of your future and endeavors and can’t wait to see what you write next. Also, thank you for allowing me to interview you on your birthday! I hope you have a great day and prosperous year!
*If you haven't already read Celina's Her Campus Her Story article, clich here. You can also follow Celina on social media on instagram (@celinavega) and tumblr. Her poetry boks are available for purchase on Amazon.