Segullah is delighted introduce our newest Featured Writer and Artist, Ashley Mae Hoiland. This month we’re asking her about her writing life beginnings, inspirations and plans beyond her first, and just released book.
Ashley Mae Hoiland received a BFA in studio arts and an MFA in poetry, both from Brigham Young University. She published her first book, One Hundred Birds Taught Me To Fly, through the Maxwell Institute in November 2016. She is also the founder of the We Brave Women project, an initiative to help people connect to and know brave women around the world. She created a pack of 60 flashcards that feature a hand-painted portrait of a brave woman on one side and a bio and quote about the woman on the other side. She served a mission in Uruguay. She now lives in Palo Alto, California with her husband, Carl, and two children, Remy and Thea. She has written and illustrated several children’s books and once headed a project that printed poetry on billboards. More of her writing and projects can be found at www.ashmae.com. She is also a contributor at bycommonconsent.com
Tell us about your writing and what lead you to it?
I remember in 5th grade as an awkward, gangly kid, my teacher told me after I had finished a writing project that one day she was going to be asking for an autograph for my books. When my first book, One Hundred Birds Taught Me To Fly, came out I searched around and found that teacher and related to her how the words she had given me over 20 years previous had fueled my confidence for so long. She had no recollection of saying that, but was so generous in saying that she remembered me well, even though I’m not sure that could be true. For me, even as a young kid, writing has felt like a safe and dear friend. Writing feels like going home. I was never very good at articulating myself with spoken word, in part because I don’t like being in the spotlight and often my voice shakes or I get emotional, but writing feels so kind in that way—it allows me to speak bravely and with emotion and gives me the space I need to let the thoughts unfold.