1. When did you start writing?
"I started writing when I was in first grade! My teacher had us write our own stories on this large, three lined paper and ideally, they were supposed to be 1-2 sentences, but my story ended up being, like, six pages long. I always loved creating stories (with dolls, toys, etc) and finally writing it down made it all click."
2. Where do you draw inspiration?
"Honestly everywhere. I get most inspiration from movies, TV, and just walking outside and seeing how people do things and communicate. I might notice an odd habit someone I know has and I might include it when creating a random character in a story or setting."
3. How do you know when to write poetry? How do you know when to write prose?
"Usually, I’m going to write prose before poetry. Sometimes I’ll have an idea for, say, someone who likes to pull their cheese off their pizza. I’m going to write that into a story. (I did that as a kid, by the way…) But occasionally, I’ll get an idea that doesn’t necessarily warrant prose or a story. I recently remembered a time in second grade where I knocked my teeth out during gym class. For some reason, the way I remembered it was so traumatic that it felt like a poem. I don’t know if that makes sense."
4. What is your method of writing? Notebooks, computer?
"Computer! My hand cramps too easily to write in a notebook."
5. You are a visual artist. How do you express that?
"Wow, that feels so professional! I do love visual art and I’ve started loving it more in recent years. I’m not the best at drawing, but I do love graphic design and making things look pretty. "
6. Tell me the origin story of superfroot. What is your vision for the future of your magazine?
"Well, the four of us met through a creative community online a few years ago (Tumblr…) and became best friends super quickly. We’ve always wanted to do something creatively together and mulled over making a zine with our own work or doing a collaborative graphic novel or something. One day, I had the idea of starting a lit mag after looking through a list of mags to submit to. I noticed that there was a lack of bright, eye-catching visuals that I personally enjoy re: zines like I’ve seen in fandom art zines. A lot of the lit mags I was seeing when I first started submitting were academic, professional, or only published a few pieces of art, if any art at all. Since my friends and I are all some type of artists, I figured… why not create our own space for people who are looking for a magazine like that too? We want to show that lit mags can be fun, with vibrant colors and bubble letters and silliness. We want to create a friendship-based space with our contributors and submitters and readers!"
7. What project(s) do you hope to take on?
"I would really like to release a chapbook soon, but I have to finish it first! Also a novel, but that’s been in the works since 2018, and it’s probably gonna be a bit before it’s done."
8. What do you hope people take away from your work?
"I hope that people feel a mix of nostalgic, disturbed, and seen. I want my stories and characters to be weird enough that you hate them, but root for them, and maybe even see some part of yourself in them."
9. What writing advice do you find totally useless?
"Is it wrong to say most of it? I think my best advice is to just write what you like and how you like to do it. When I started using Tumblr to share writing, I saw so many posts dictating how your process should be, how often you should write, when you should write, what you should write. It just made me anxious and made me feel like I’m not a real writer. You don’t have to outline if you don’t want to. You don’t have to revise a piece 500 times if you like the way it turned out the first or second time. You don’t even have to have your work published to be a writer. If you write, you’re a writer!"
10. And finally, what do you enjoy doing that you don’t talk about enough. Tell me all about it!
"I love miniatures! My best friend inspired me to start renovating an old doll house, so I started doing that last year. It’s been on hold for a bit, but it’s really fun to do and play with when I need to destress. I also really enjoy collecting things like Bratz dolls, toys, figurines, etc."
Hear Shyla read her poem "buttercup."
Shyla Jones is a Black writer from Boston, MA. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming in SmokeLong Quarterly, Fractured Lit, perhappened mag, Los Angeles Review, Four Way Review, and others. She is the editor-in-chief of superfroot magazine and graphic designer for Perennial Press. On top of collecting nostalgic toys and ranting, she’s also currently finishing her BFA and working on her first novel.
Amy Cipolla Barnes
Cristina A. Bejan
Elizabeth M Castillo
Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar
Emily M. Goldsmith
Lukas Ray Hall
B. Tyler Lee
June Lin (mini)
Calia Jane Mayfield
Maria S. Picone
Charlie D’Aniello Trigueros
Heath Joseph Wooten