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Daily Inspiration: Meet Lyndsey Ellis

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lyndsey Ellis.

Hi Lyndsey, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I was born and raised in Florissant, a county in St. Louis. Early on, during childhood, I knew I wanted to be a writer–I was this shy kid who liked reading everything I got my hands on, which eventually led to me writing creative stories about my surroundings. I went to the University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou) as an undergrad to study Journalism but then found I was much better suited for a degree in English since I was more into exploring literature and having creative control in writing. I then moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where I enrolled in a supportive MFA in Writing program at California College of the Arts.

At CCA, I started working on a book in its infancy. I revised and shelved it many times over five years while I focused on growing in a customer service/communications career. Eventually, a layoff caused me to reprioritize my life and redevelop my confidence as a creative writer who put her all into finishing her first book.

In 2018, I moved back to St. Louis to be closer to family and save more money. I finally finished my debut novel, Bone Broth, and secured a publisher that helped me launch the book in spring 2021. Today, I’m grateful for the reception that my creative writing has earned (it recently won a Literature Award from Friends of American Writers in Chicago and will be a first-year read for first-year classes at Maryville University in St. Louis), and I continue to deepen my role as a communications professional, editor and teaching artist.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been fairly smooth?
Although my journey has been rewarding, there’s been some bumps in the road. For one, I’ve had health struggles that stem from uterine fibroids and a history of blood clots. Trying to stay on the mend after a couple of surgeries has been challenging, but it’s taught me the value of patience and radical self-care, particularly as a single Black woman.

I’ve also dealt with some financial setbacks along the way but have tried not to let the obstacles deter me. Eventually, any economic hardships have resolved themselves. I’m glad that through it all, I’ve stayed true to myself and my craft which helped me cope with uncertainties and uncontrollable situations.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I’m a creative writer, editor, and teaching artist passionate about exploring intergenerational struggles and resilience in the Midwest. My work — fiction short stories, nonfiction essays, and a debut novel–primarily focuses on African-American communities in the Midwest at the intersection of race and class. I like to explore the impact of systemic external injustices and how they shape how we treat each other. So, inter-community issues vs. intracommunity relationships.

When it comes to being a writer, I’m most proud of how it’s fueled my activism and how I contribute to bettering my community. I’ve often paired creative ventures with professional communications work and community outreach in mental health advocacy, domestic violence reform practices, and educational and racial equity. This, along with a growing tendency to write about social/psychological horrors –speculative fiction that’s heavy on social commentary about societal injustices, particularly stemming from racism and classism–is what I like to think makes my work unique.

Can you talk to us a bit about the role of luck?
Luck is essential, especially when fulfilling goals as a creative. I’ll never forget one of my mentors telling me that being an effective writer is 70% writing/output, 20% networking/good business sense, and 10% good luck/karma. In many ways, the pandemic helped creatives like me make their projects more accessible (via online events) to those who wouldn’t have been when in-person events were the only way to promote and publicize endeavors. In my case, it’s very true, particularly with the location. Living in California helped further my chances of having my work exposed to people who could help me get it out into the world. And, then the timing for moving back to St. Louis ended up being valuable because I could maximize opportunities and expand my network/reach, especially after the debut novel was published.

Pricing:

  • 15.76 (Book Shop)
  • 10.21 (Amazon)
  • $7.49 (Barnes & Noble)
  • $7.99 (ebooks.com)
  • $5.99 (Redshelf)

Contact Info:

Image Credits
AG Photography Hidden Timber Books

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