An Interview with Maria Evelyn Quilla Soleta by ILA Contributing Editor, Mr. Carl Scharwath.
GOOD DAY, EVE (Maria Evelyn Quilla Soleta), we at ILA Magazine are most happy for your time with us. Thanks also, for being an active participant on our Facebook Group as well. Before I begin, I would like to present Eve's biography to the ILA readers: Maria Evelyn Quilla-Soleta, or 'Eve' to many, gives thanks to Poetry! Once more, in her third book of poetry, 'Chasing Sunsets With You', her poems and stories are unadorned, yet truthful and purposefully warm. People, things, living and non-living creatures, and even circumstances, are subjects that inspire and give colors to her rhythms and rhymes, stanzas and lines. They give vibrancy and feelings to the words she pens. These feelings come to her in the stillness of the deep quiet moments when she communes with God for inspiration and life. Evelyn's first love is writing, when, at six, she wrote her first poem in a school paper. In college, her forte was writing feature articles, personality sketches and poetry. She was a freelance writer for local women's magazines before publishing her first book on poetry called "My Twenty Poems". Her second poetry book, 'Finding My Heart', which was launched in January 2021, was an Amazon success! People found their hearts in this beautiful and moving poetry collection. Evelyn's poetry is personal but so relatable to everyone who gets the opportunity to read and experience them. 'Love and Family', 'God and Faith', 'All Things Bright and Beautiful', 'Motherhood.' Her gift of writing heartwarming poetry is felt in every word. She believes that the ordinary and mundane things are the most beautiful. Many of Maria Evelyn's poetry has appeared (or is forthcoming) in different journals and anthologies: 'Sensibility', 'Mother's Embrace', 'Metamorphosis', 'Inked with Passion', 'Rainbows and Daydreams', 'Open Skies Poetry', 'Landscapes and Cityscapes', 'Filipino Poets', 'Blossoms Journal', Personal Collection Anthologies and several others. Motherhood is a subject close to her heart and what inspires her to write. She has a good eye and ear for the peculiar details of everyday life - endearing in her lack of pretentiousness among the trivial and ordinary matters around her. Eveylyn's husband, Danny, her four girls Andrea, Guia, Daniella and Laura; sons-in-laws, Chris and Andy, beautiful granddaughters, Tala and Mayla, are her inspiration to pursue this first love of hers, WRITING! Thank you again for our time together and I am happy to meet you. On to the interview!
CARL: You said you were 6 when you wrote your first poem. Do you still have this writing and what do you think inspired you at this young age to begin writing? ** MARIA: Yes, I wrote my first poem when I was 6yo, and the title was 'Ang Parol.' (in English, it means, 'The Lantern." ) It was written in Tagalog, our national language. It was our class teacher who encouraged me to write and submit it to our school paper. It was many years ago, but I remember the beautiful feeling I had to see my short poem published. My mother mentored me well, too. As a teacher, while she was doing her lesson plans in the evenings, I would be writing my day's events in tiny diaries. I was very young then, and Mother would buy me little spiral notebooks. After which she would check on my grammar. I knew I had the gift of writing, and it was my mother who honed me. What an inspiration she was in my life! ** CARL: How does your faith influence your poetry? Can you share any specific examples of religious themes or motifs that you explore in your work? ** MARIA: In my religion, we believe that there is life after death, and that families can be together even in the eternities. This is just one of the many factors that influence my writing. I am driven by my passion to write because of this knowledge. One specific example would be Motherhood. I love being a mother. I have 4 daughters, with one being special. I know that these children are mine, here, now, and in eternity. Isn't that beautiful? This knowledge and hope keeps me inking. I want to share that hope with my readers as well, that life doesn't end here. ** CARL: Do you ever face challenges or conflicts in reconciling your artistic vision with your religious beliefs? How do you navigate these moments? ** MARIA: None that I can think of. Both my artistic vision and religious belief go well together. I always want to write from the heart. Isn't it nice when someone says I have touched her heart through a line from my poetry? That's why I always utter a prayer before I pen down a poem. When an inspiration comes, I formulate it in my thoughts, pray about it, and let it flow in written words! My talent to write is a gift from my Heavenly Father. For that, I am so grateful. In return, my books now become my gifts to Him, to mankind, and to my wonderful family, who are my inspiration. 'Inking My Legacy' is the legacy I want to leave to them. ** CARL: Please tell us who your favorite poets or writers are and what are you currently reading? ** MARIA: Emily Dickinson is one of my favorites. I am one of her students. I love her simplicity. My poems are driven by words coming from my heart intended for another. Not complicated. When it comes from the heart, the words just come, and they touch other people's hearts as well. My second book, 'Finding My Heart' has found many lovely hearts! It's nice to read poems which calm and warm the soul, spread love around, see beauty in even the insignificant things which so many people take for granted. Poems written with words that I must search in Google for their meanings don't appeal to me. ** CARL: What is your best advice to help those who are new to writing and need some direction? ** MARIA: My best advice/practices as an author are: SECRET # 1: Don't underestimate yourself. It doesn't matter how old we are. Just write. As my mother said, "just write about anything. One day you'll be thankful you did." The inspiration to write comes from our loved ones, even those who were long gone. Things that we see around us - because from the simple comes the most special. Practice, practice, practice - and eventually you will get there. * SECRET # 2: Publish a good, quality book. Lay down your cards and go to work, for faith without work is dead. Remember this, someday the author you look up to will be you! Imagine yourself to be someone else's favorite author. So, write a quality book. A book that will touch other people's hearts. A book that will leave an imprint on the souls of your readers. A book that is not destined for the shelf, gathering dust. Find a good publisher and artists, and true friends who will review your book. Seek recommendations. Pray for guidance as you go along. * SECRET # 3: Ink your legacy and follow your passion. To write every day is to ink our legacy. Each one of us has this desire to know where our roots come from. I want to imagine a scene where my granddaughter sits with her daughter reading to her, a book she has treasured through the years, and with tears in her eyes, says, "let us hear from this wonderful author who lived long ago. She wrote beautiful poetry." The book, yes, the book she is holding in her hands is my own book! I am now my great granddaughter's favorite author! Ink your legacy. It is a debt you owe to the generations to come and an honor you want to give to yourself and more, so to the Creator who gave you this life and talent. Share it. One of my favorite quotes is this:
Oprah Winfrey said, "have the courage to follow your passion and if you haven't found it yet, remember that one of the reasons of your existence here on earth, is to find it." **
CARL: Please tell us, Eve, what are your goals for the future, and do you feel you are taking the right steps to reach them? ** MARIA: I am over 60 now. Writing is my passion that burns within me, a passion that I will continue to nurture no matter how old I get. Oh, how I wish I still have time so I can write more! Writing keeps me going. I may say that one of life's survival tools is to write. Law and Science sustain life, but Poetry and the arts keep me alive! Like my lines here below: Write, I Must! Before it is lost Before it is gone Before it is finally taken from me Let me write! Before it is nowhere Before it is too late Before it is finally given away Let me write! ** CARL: My final question is what do you like best about ILA Magazine and the ILA Facebook Group? ** MARIA: What makes ILA different from other poetry groups is the people behind it. They are nice, true, and friendly! They are artistic people with beautiful insights. They showcase the lovely ones - the rhythms, lines, photos and the arts. These lovely ones keep the world bright and sane. ILA Magazine is unique and lovely! Its friendliness is contagious, which makes its members feel at home together with the staff that comprises the group. And because you are home with them, you feel at ease, loved and most of all, welcomed! ** CARL: Thank you, Eve, for your time today, we at ILA Magazine wish you great success in the future and always hope the best for you.
Image below, of Maria Evelyn Quilla Soleta
About our Contributing Editor/Interviewer, Carl Scharwath: Carl is from the sunshine state of Florida. He is the Art Editor of Minute Magazine, Contributing Editor/Interviewer of ILA Magazine, and Contributing Editor/Interviewer of CreatiVIngenuitiy Magazine. His work has appeared globally, with 150+ journals selecting his poetry, short stories interviews, essays, art/photography and most recently, plays. Carl is the author of seven (3 Literary and 4 Photography) books. His art/photography (paintography) has been featured on the covers of many authors' countless books. In his spare time, Carl plays pickle ball with a group he has organized. He is a competitive runner and a 2nd degree black belt in taekwondo. Photo of Carl below: