Interview with Anicia S Eriksson, Author of Not Your Shame

05 Aug 2019

What can you tell us about your new release, Not Your Shame?

Not Your Shame is originally a Swedish title, and for the past few months I have worked day and night with translating the Swedish book into English. And here we are! I have an amazing publisher who’s been there for me all the way and has helped me with the release of Not Your Shame. The book is a self biography in poetry and prose about growing up with an alcoholic father, that same father who then gets cancer and dies when I’m at an age of 15. It is about the traumatic event of when I was raped at 18, and about the aftermaths of that. It is about the struggles of being a woman, but it is also about finding love, hope and finding a will to live after decades of darkness. It is a book that will show you that it is possible to crawl out of that dark, bottomless hole. It is possible to find a way to want to live.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I can’t say it was just one person or one thing that inspired me, for there is many. But there is one person who definitely has been a huge inspiration of mine, and that is my cousin Elina Sundström. She’s an author and has been published with three books thus far, and she sowed the idea in my mind that maybe, just maybe I could be an author too. In writing poetry, I have found some inspiration in Rupi Kaur. But there was never just one inspiration, I’ve had too many to count.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

I’ve read many books in my days, and I am really very terrible at remembering the titles of the books I’ve read. Even my favorites. I did, however, read a book recently that I could not put down, it is called “Notes to self” by Emelie pine. It made me both laugh and shed a tear or two. Another book I really recommend is “The sunshine sisters” by Jane Green. Loved it.

I also have to recommend a book that I haven’t finished reading yet, but already love – that is “Avien” by Maria Wälsäter – this book is in Swedish though, but hopefully it will be available in English any time soon. “Somebody I used to know” by Wendy Mitchell is another book I recommend, and last but not least – “The perks of being a wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

That would be a dream. Wow, there is so many people I’d want to invite, but I think my first guest would be Rupi Kaur. I would want to ask her how she found the courage to begin with, publishing her poetry on her own. I would also like to ask her the upsides och downsides having gotten so much publicity as she has gotten, and also how being an author has affected her. There are so many questions I’d like to ask her.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

My favorite thing about writing is the way it makes me feel. Or rather, not feel. Writing offers a relief like nothing else, it makes me feel less anxious, less restless, less stressed. I love how it also makes me feel genuinely happy and satisfied, nothing can compare to the rush I’m feeling while having a flow in my writing, I can spend HOURS just writing with no pause. It is intense and it is absolutely amazing, and after a session like that, I always feel light. Like I’m sailing on clouds, like there is no weight on my shoulders. I love how I’m able to form my somewhat chaotic thoughts into words right in front of me. Writing offers me relief, and that is my favorite thing about it.

What is a typical day like for you?

Besides being an author, I also work as a preschool teacher. So a typical day for me starts at my job, and then when I get home at the end of the day I spend some quality time with my partner and our cat. And of course, I write. I try to write a little (or a lot…) every day. Somedays I’m too tired to even open the computer, but most days I do get some writing done.

What scene in Not Your Shame was your favorite to write?

I can’t say any of the parts was my favorite to write, because it honestly was so painful to write this book. However, the most important part for me to write was the first part of the book – that is the part about the rape. It was life-saving for me to write that part, and it made me realize and learn some very important things about myself that I would not have learned had I not written this book. Writing is a way of making things make sense to me. So I can’t say I really enjoyed writing any of the parts in this book, but what I can say is that it was important and offered me support and relief when I was at my worst. And I’m so grateful for that, I’m so grateful to myself for writing this book.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

That it is okay to not be okay. That it really can get better, with the right help and support. The shame is not ours, and neither is the guilt. They are not ours to carry.

Anicia S Eriksson is the author of the new book Not Your Shame.

Connect with Anicia
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Not your shame: A journey in recovering from mental illness

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