How did you start writing poetry?
I started writing poetry when I was in graduate school, when I fell in love for the very first time. It was my first adult relationship and navigating all my feelings while student-teaching grew too overwhelming for my heart. So, my emotions spilled onto the page in order to empty my mind of the weight. At the same time, after the relationship ended, I found out my sister was dying. This was the most painful experience of my life—and I documented each changing feeling, each nuance, in my notebook and then tucked it away for some time. Nine months later, I had a book about love, loss, pain, grief, and overcoming.
Plotter or pantster?
I am both a plotter and a pantser. In my mind, I know how the book will begin and how it will end, but I am a pantser in developing the middle and some of the characters. I let my feelings and real-life experiences inspire the middle, and I’m often pleasantly surprised by the results!
What are three things you have on your writing desk?
My writing desks have changed so much in the past year. I’ve traveled to five countries, and currently find myself in Paris, France! Right now, my writing desk is a tiny table in my one-room studio right next to the Eiffel Tower and the Champ de Mars. It doubles as a makeup desk. But I would say I always have my laptop, current manuscript I’m working on, electronic drawing pad and pen, pens and pencils, drawing supplies, and a Moleskin notebook.
Tell us a little about your new release. What character in the book really spoke to you?
My newest release is my short poetry collection The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder, which explores a tumultuous year of love, heartbreak, and all kinds of unimaginable loss. This is my debut poetry book and it documents the birth and death of a relationship, and the death of my sister. Each poem is an emotional time-stamp that plunges the reader into the depths of my feelings as they burgeon and wane. The book reads like a diary, because it used to be my diary. But most importantly, it chronicles the boundaries of the things that we all feel: passion, heartache, and pain that gives way to hope.
Finish this sentence: I write because ____...
I write because I live, because I feel, because I love.
What is your favorite type of character to write about?
So far, I’ve mainly written about myself, but in general I like to write characters that have complex philosophical ideas about the world, politics, ethics, and spirituality.
What is the sexiest scene you ever wrote?
The sexiest scene I’ve written is from the novel I’m currently working on. The main character meets this sexy guy in Paris, and he tries to seduce her. Although there’s no sex scene, there are all the thoughts and feelings that lead up to one. Although she doesn’t sleep with him, her desire is definitely aroused and then later she comes back for him.
What is next on your writerly horizon?
I’m currently editing my first novel, all these things i never said. It’s a story about a religious girl who loses her faith in God and in her country after her sister passes away. As a young adult, Emmy looks back on her life—that of being a gifted daughter born to Bulgarian immigrants in the United States. From a young age, she has the ability to see the future—but not even that could prevent all the deaths in her family. Meanwhile in another realm, a golden statue of another young girl wakes up. Once Zoe realizes who she is and why she’s there, she has to embark on a perilous mission to save Emmy out of the labyrinth-like castle she’s created in her mind. In the real world, Emmy deals with the psychological trauma of losing loved ones too soon, and her inability to make the American Dream materialize. She turns inward—to the fantastical world she’s built for herself to hide from her grief. She’s guided by fantastical sidekicks who help her out of this prison she’s lost in. The world in her dreams, and in-between dreams, and she doesn’t know if she’ll make it out alive.
Book genre: poetry
published by Emmanuella Hristova
The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder is a short collection of poems that explores a tumultuous year of love, heartbreak and unimaginable loss. It documents the birth and death of a relationship, and the death of my sister. Each poem is an emotional time-stamp that plunges the reader into the depths of my feelings as they burgeon and wane. The book reads like a diary and chronicles the boundaries of the things that we all feel: passion, heartache, and pain that gives way to hope.
When the end was the beginning, and
the beginning was the end.
For Dora; I wish you were here.
In the depth of
winter, the flowers do not
bloom, no fruits
appear, the leaves
fall off, and the tree looks
dead, but deep in the
the roots grow
I guess I should thank you,
because you turned me into a poet.
upon identifying the day
I knew I loved you
the moment I saw you
the second time I came to
visit you in The City and you
were wearing a cerulean button-down
that matched your eyes and you
had just shaved your beard and
I wanted to kiss you, but
not like a nervous first kiss or
a slobbery wet one; but rather,
the kind of peck lovers give to one another
after being together for years and
what they’re passing between their lips
upon telling you
The air is cold on the rooftop,
running across my bare shoulders
as I tell you how I feel about you.
My arm presses against yours;
yours doesn’t move. I use it
for support. Our bodies pressed
against the cool, gritty concrete
of the wall that keeps us from falling to
our deaths down below.
Your eyes wax, deep and
pools of ocean water
that I see into, staring back at me,
as if you’re
seeing me for the first time.
I see the fear in your face,
between your lips like a
piece of ice
stuck in your throat.
You’re afraid to exhale. Oh shit, oh shit,
oh shit, say your eyes.
upon telling me
I am sitting in a middle school
classroom at lunchtime when you
tell me you want to kiss me. My
breath stops in my throat. Instantly,
my heart beats faster and faster
like an unhinged train racing down
its tracks. I was hungry before,
I’m not hungry anymore. A heat
rises from the depths of my soul,
steaming the surface of my cheeks,
pouring out over the tops of my breasts,
and spilling out in between my thighs.
I flush. My flesh heats up, unable
to contain the fireworks exploding on
the inside of my heart.
He wants to kiss me.
And these explosions
going off inside me I imagine will be
bolder, brighter, and more beautiful
when you finally do.
I remember the first time you tell me
I’m pretty. We are in the kitchen; I’m
running my hands under the cool water
of the sink—water washing me before
I begin my day. The mascara is
heavy on my lashes, my lips pink,
smelling like plastic pigments, the kinds
you haven’t tasted on me yet. My
hair spills down my neck because
I go to sleep with it wet and in the
morning wake up with crinkles.
My arms cloaked in magenta chiffon,
soft like strawberries on my skin,
framing the cream a-line dress
that blossoms on my body.
It hugs my breasts, cinches my waist, and
falls at the equator of my thighs.
You appear at my side, mouth perpendicular to
my ear, your pants billowing above
the ground, puffing like pastries, popping like
popcorn as your heels
bounce up and down,
the gaze of
your ice-blue eyes
reaching the ceiling.
You look really pretty, you nod
and tell me before you
bounce away, back to where you
and I wonder
why it’s taken you
so many months to tell me.
Emmanuella Hristova was born in Oakland, California and grew up in the Bay Area. She is the third daughter to Bulgarian parents who immigrated to California shortly before she was born. She began drawing at the ripe age of four, and studied the fine arts for five years in high school. There, she received many art accolades including a Congressional award for her piece Boy in Red in 2009. In 2015, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley. She began writing poetry at age twenty-four when she was in graduate school. She earned her Master's in Education from the same alma mater in 2017. Emmanuella spent two years as an English teacher in Richmond, California. During that time, she self-published her first poetry collection: The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder. Currently, she is writing her first novel. She speaks English, Bulgarian, Spanish and is now learning French. You can find her on Instagram: @emmy_speaks, her website, Goodreads, and Amazon.